'˜I'll never give up on animal sanctuary'
The owner of a threatened animal sanctuary has vowed to soldier on against all odds.
Mandy Leigh, chairwoman of Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, has dedicated her life to taking care of sick and abandoned pets.
Since the charity was evicted from its St Annes site in March, Miss Leigh and her team of dedicated volunteers have rehomed 11 needy dogs, and even taken in a family of five newborn kittens and their mother.
Miss Leigh said: “There is nothing that could ever make me give it up.
“It’s my whole life.
“The dogs have been in and out very quickly.
“A lot of the dogs we take in are problem dogs that other shelters don’t want.
“They are a bit unruly because they haven’t been trained properly or they’ve been mistreated and have totally lost their trust in humans.
“I don’t have any bad dogs. They just need to get to know you.
“We had a very nervous little dog in, and now as soon as he sees us he runs and jumps up and wants to sit on your knee.
“That’s what you have to do with dogs like that. You have to let them come to you.
“It’s not a human’s fault if they’re not the right person for the dog – you just have to find someone who is.”
Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary operated for 20 years at Queensway Park Farm in St Annes.
The charity rose from the ashes after 26 rescue animals were killed in an arson attack in March 2011.
They were evicted from the site three months ago following a year-long row over the tenancy.
Easterleigh volunteers are continuing to care for needy animals which are now residing in kennels across the Fylde coast, which Mandy pays for out of donations to the sanctuary.
Miss Leigh said: “We still get calls from people who don’t know we’ve moved.
“We’ve got a mummy cat and five kittens that were brought in by a woman who had given birth at around the same time as the cat, and couldn’t deal with kittens and a new baby.
“This time of year is terrible for stray cats. There are lots and lots of unwanted kittens about.
“Usually we would have around 30 to 40 in around this time of year – and if they’re not with us, where are they? They’re on the streets.
“We’re definitely keeping going.
“I’ve always been an animal-lover, and my parents were too.
“Instead of retiring like I probably should have done, I decided to rehome animals.
“The moving has been very hard on us, but we want people to know that we’re still here and we’re keeping going.
“The only thing we’re struggling with is the rabbits. We don’t have anywhere to keep them.
“We’re now looking for people to foster animals.
“If they’ve got a back garden they can look after a rabbit and we’ll provide them with the hutch and food.
“Of course people do get attached to the animals and decide to adopt them, which is wonderful for us!”