EMOTIONAL: Vet Micaela Wright and animal sanctuary owner Pat Kingsnorth prepare Sammy the fox for relocation
EMOTIONAL: Vet Micaela Wright and animal sanctuary owner Pat Kingsnorth prepare Sammy the fox for relocation

AN air of sadness fell upon Ark on the Edge animal sanctuary last week as three ageing foxes were prepared for relocation.

The centre, based near Woodland, is winding down with most of its animals have been re-homed. Only the foxes and some barn owls remain. Owner Pat Kingsnorth was emotional as the foxes Paddi, Max and Sammy were tranquillised and given a health check ahead of them being moved to a new home in about two weeks’ time.

Micaela Wright, of Stanhope Park Vets in Darlington, was on hand to administer the tranquillisers.

Two of the foxes, Paddi and Max, were dumped at the entrance to the shelter in 2008 as cubs and Ms Kingsnorth believes they are brother and sister. Sammy was brought to the shelter in 2009 by a family who had found her while out walking with their dogs.

Ms Kingsnorth said: “She was blinded by concussion but she is alright now.”

Old Well

The foxes became a significant part of the shelter over the years, attracting hundreds of visitors. Ms Kingsnorth said: “When Sammy first can she would come out to visitors. She was quite laid back about it. Max is the most secretive – he is the one you never see. He is fed by his sister – she will take food down to him. I think he is going to be the most stressed [about the move] other than me.”

It was later discovered that Max had a large growth on his paw, which was removed in an operation on Friday afternoon. Over the coming weeks volunteers will dismantle the foxes’ den and rebuild it at a new site. Ms Kingsnorth said Ark on the Edge will move to a new home in Woodland where eight cats, two horses and a donkey will spend their remaining years. All are too old to be re-homed.

She added that the animal shelter will act as a “middleman”, finding new homes for unwanted pets in the future.

“We hope to be in a position where we can take some small animals in emergencies.”

The shelter also has a few “foster carers” who will take in animals on a short term basis until homes can be found for them. Anyone who would like to get involved can contact Ms Kingsnorth on 01833 630505