Mountains Animal Sanctuary, in the Angus glens north of Forfar, is home to over 120 horses, ponies and donkeys from all over the country. But with winter fast approaching there are fears it may not be able to beat the harsh financial climate which has taken it to the brink of collapse. It faces a £300,000 financial crisis.
The sanctuary costs £400,000 a year to run. In a last-ditch attempt to try to extend the operation into next year, the management revealed plans to cut more than a quarter of its 14 full-time employees in a staffing review.
General manager Pam Taylor said: “Our priority now is to restructure to try to keep the sanctuary open for as long as we can, while urgently seeking donations from new supporters.”
She continued: “We are cutting our costs to adjust to our lower income but, with less than four months of funds in the bank, time is running out. We urgently need financial help and I would call on existing and potential supporters to consider what they might do to help us.”
She added: “This year we have had a number of successes in rehoming animals and we have lost a few to old age so the numbers at Mountains were much higher. We believe that if we can get through the winter we can turn the situation around but we need to have enough of a cushion to help us do that.”
The sanctuary is also desperately hoping there will be no repeat of last year’s big freeze, which saw feed costs rocket and stretched staff to the limit as they fought the snows to look after the animals.
In the last year alone, Mountains has received over 300 calls and emails from owners who can no longer look after horses.
The sanctuary has had to close its doors to non-welfare cases while it secures long-term funding and recruits volunteers to look after the animals. Retired race horses, rare breeds, former cart-horses and retired riding horses for the disabled have all arrived at Mountains over the last 29 years. Can you help?
When Horses4Homes launches in November, it is hoped this rehoming service will take some of the pressure off equine charities who are struggling to cope with the numbers of unwanted and rescue horses. The objective is to rehome potentially useful & valuable horses, in particular ex-racehorses, to knowledgeable, experienced, suitable homes before they become charity cases. By implementing a professional screening process, unlike any other online system, developed by an equine welfare expert who has been managing rehoming for over ten years, Horses4Homes is able to help vulnerable, desperate horse owners who care passionately about their horses, to find suitable new owners, sharers and loanees who will give their horse a loving and caring home.