Surge in animals being abandoned by owners
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
WETHERIGGS Animal Rescue and Conservation Centre has seen a surge in the number of large animals that have
been abandoned, particularly goats.
The latest to be given sanctuary is a Saanen, nanny goat and her two kids which had been left in a lay-by in Yorkshire.
Centre operator Terry Bowes said: “She just had a rope around her neck tied to a tree.
“They have been here for a few days and she has put some weight on - she was very underweight when she came in. She has done well raising her babies – I would say they are three to four months old, a billy and a nanny.”
More satisfying for the centre is the re-homing of a South African Boer goat, which had been abandoned on a farm near Penrith.
Mr Bowes said: “They said it was a pygmy goat, but look at it, it is the size of a cow.”
Going to the same home is an Angora goat which had previously been rescued.
While the centre is finding homes for nanny goats, it is far more difficult to find places for male goats, he said.
Two mixed breed lambs have also been dropped off at Wetheriggs.
Mr Bowes said: “They had two pet lambs last year and they don’t know how it happened [that they became pregnant] because they don’t have a tup. The mothers rejected them because they were too young.”
While there has been a sharp rise in large animals being abandoned, the reverse is true for smaller creatures.
Mr Bowes said: “On smaller animals we have had less coming in and more re-homed because of the pandemic and people in lockdown have wanted an animal at home.”
One animal that the centre usually has an abundance of is rabbits, but now they are a rarity because of an outbreak of VHD (viral haemorrhagic disease) in the area. Most of the centre’s rabbits have found new homes. Mr Bowes attributed the abundance of dead rabbits on roadsides to the disease. But he said: “The buzzards love it.”
Mr Bowes urged people to have their pet rabbits vaccinated against VHD.