First, the petting zoo issue. You may from time to time see children, some of whom are quite young, inside the animal enclosures. A lot of the older children are volunteers in their own right, helping to look to after the animals on a regular basis. Some do it as part of an award scheme (e.g. the Duke of Edinburgh Award) and others do it simply because they like the animals. The majority of the young children however are part of a group we are working with to enable them to give their children a rich and diverse education. The children and their parents come along to help us clean out and feed the animals, to learn about the animals and what they like and dislike, what’s good for them and what’s bad for them. And then they might also get to stroke the goats or see if the rabbits will come to them (generally they won’t anyway!). So if you happen to see children in the enclosures and approach us with your child to come in as well, please don’t be offended when we say no. We’re not a petting zoo!
(Of course if you became a regular volunteer and got to know the animals, how they behave and how you need to behave around them, and then you decided to bring your children or grandchildren for a visit, that’s a different situation).
Secondly, the animal sanctuary question. Although all of the volunteers at Pets’ Corner would like to be able to offer a home to any unwanted, unloved and abandoned animals, the simple fact of the matter is we have neither the space nor the funds to do so. We also don’t have the manpower to be able to look after many more animals than we have already. Volunteers, as well as space, are thin on the ground. The recently imposed Defra requirements regarding the bird flu outbreak that meant us having to keep the chickens and the ducks inside have demonstrated to us, quite starkly, just how little spare space we have. We’ve only just managed to keep everyone under cover in their own ‘family’ groups. So once again, continue to ask by all means, but please don’t be offended when we say no to rehoming Aunty Mabel’s guinea pigs or Uncle Larry’s llamas and, for heaven’s sake, don’t just dump animals on our doorstep. We’re just not set up to offer that sort of service. We’re not an animal sanctuary!
Thank you for your understanding 😀