Hundreds of animals at a north-east sanctuary could be put down because the charity caring for them is facing financial difficulties.
The Willows Animal Rescue Centre, at Strichen, in Aberdeenshire, is warning that dwindling donations and soaring costs mean it could be forced to close within weeks.
Willows manager Jenny Gray said: “We are absolutely desperate at the moment. We have funds until July, after that we are going to have to get rid of staff and we would be looking at closing our doors permanently.”
The sanctuary has been swamped by hundreds of pets from families who can no longer afford to feed them.
Willows – which has been dubbed “The Last Chance Sanctuary” - needs around £200,000 each year to continue to run.
“The sheer number of animals which have come through have put a lot of pressure on places like this and also equally people are not being so generous with donations. Feed costs have gone up, hay and straw prices - all these things combined, this is why this has happened,” Mrs Gray added.
“We will be looking at a lot of animals being put to sleep, we would rehome as many as possible but it is just unthinkable really.”
The centre has seven staff and also provides therapy for people with mental health problems but with over 300 hundred hungry mouths to feed and barely enough money in the bank for the next few weeks Willows says the situation is now desperate.
Willows was given a boost earlier this month as Paul Rodgers, who rose to fame as the singer with Bad Company and Free, and his wife Cynthia announced they would become patrons and raise funds for the troubled refuge.
The pair became involved with the charity after a chance meeting with north-east starlet Sandi Thom – who is already a patron to Willows.
Mr Rodgers, who also spent a period as Queen’s vocalist following the death of Freddie Mercury, said the pair hoped a raffle of signed items – including a guitar and hand-painted tambourine - will take in around £20,000 for the charity.
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