Jane Shepherd set up the animal sanctuary when she moved to the village 17 years ago. For the first 11 years it was a purely private enterprise, paid for by Jane entirely out of her own pocket. By 2001, the sanctuary had grown so much it had exhausted her personal finances, that she established the Algernon Trust as a non-profit making organisation.
The sanctuary started with five cats, a fox and a rabbit. Today there are usually around 40 cats, eight dogs, four foxes, four ferrets and some 40 assorted poultry receiving care. Jane also provides a wildlife rescue service round-the-clock, 52 weeks a year.
The Trust re-homes cats, dogs and ferrets where possible, but many of the cats are sick or elderly and remain at the sanctuary. In February 2007 there were 24 permanent residents but with several new cats likely to prove difficult to re-home the number seemed set to rise to at least 34. Of eight dogs, five have become permanent residents.
In 2006 the Trust took in 73 cats and re-homed 38, ten dogs and re-homed six (as well as directly re-homing three from old to new owners), two ferrets, four rats (all re-homed!), and several assorted poultry including eight ducks who were subsequently re-homed.
The sanctuary takes in animals from a large area. Cats and dogs have come from as far away as Banbury, Corby and Kettering. Dogs in need of rescue as far away as Dover have been helped indirectly by the Trust, especially since the arrival of volunteer Emily-Jane Wallman (“Ems”), the Trust’s dog fosterer, assessor and home checker based in Woodford Halse. She also fosters cats when needed and seeks new homes for the Sanctuary's animals through various animal rescue websites.
The Trust relies on membership and donations to continue its work, although Jane also raises funds through street collections, stalls at fairs and fetes and by giving talks. Algy’s Animals, the Trust’s e-Bay shop, is still in its infancy but it is hoped that this will prove a useful source of revenue. Help with fundraising has become essential as the sanctuary has grown beyond the ability of one person to bring in enough money (the weekly food bill is £150 and vets’ bills are always increasing). Also, Jane is trying to set up Algy’s Angels, a fostering network for cats and dogs, to help the Trust rescue even more animals in need.
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If you can help the Sanctuary, please call Jane on 01327 858238.