A woman who cares for hundreds of abandoned animals is urging people not to add to the huge numbers of pets having to be put down.
Tamara Lloyd runs The Alternative Animal Sanctuary where she has taken in a number of abandoned pets which faced almost certain death.
This is often due to no available space at rescue centres or pets being left with behavioural issues as a result of the bad treatment they have suffered.
“There are not queues of people waiting to take on ‘unwanted’ animals,” said Tamara. “Thousands are being put down because there is nowhere for them to go.”
Tamara currently shares her farm house in New York with about 250 animals – including 46 dogs, 38 cats, 37 horses, seven pigs and turkeys, geese, ducks, pigeons, rabbits and guinea pigs.
The Standard first featured the sanctuary a year ago, and since then it has gained support from volunteers and seen further site developments.
But it is an ongoing struggle for Tamara, who runs the sanctuary on her own, and is constantly trying to raise funds for the animals’ care.
The latest arrival is Mitzy the Shi-Tzu. Despite only being a year old, Tamara says she was passed around several owners before ending up at a rescue centre which had no room for her.
“A very kind person covered the cost of petrol and an even kinder person drove for 10 hours to collect her and then deliver her to me,” said Tamara. “She is adorable.”
Mitzy is one of several dogs up for rehoming. The majority of cats and some other animals there also need new homes.
The problem of unwanted dogs and cats having nowhere to go is compounded by a rising number of people taking on pets they can’t care for long-term.
Social media has also seen an explosion of unregistered, and often unscrupulous breeders selling kittens and puppies online, along with those who buy them without considering the commitment needed when they are fully-grown.
The dog breed which suffers the most is undoubtedly the Staffordshire bull terrier.
Tamara says the sad fact is many are taken on as puppies but are abandoned when they grow into adult dogs as they are deemed to be less ‘cute’. Many don’t live much past a year-old.
“I haven’t come across one with a bad temperament with people including children and most are good with other dogs despite their (undeserved) reputation,” she said.
Tamara now hopes to set up a website about the animal crisis to help educate people into making better choices in regards to pets.
She said: “Think before you take any animal on. Consider how long an animal lives, how much they cost, what type of accommodation they need and whether you are responsible enough to look after an animal. Everyone’s lives change over time, but just as with your children, your responsibility to your animals still applies.”
The Alternative Animal Sanctuary is a registered charity. It is in desperate need of funds, and supplies of cat and dog food. If you can help, or would like to sponsor one of the animals, call 07818 406619 or visit www.alternativesanctuary.co.uk.