THE MOUNTAINS Animal Sanctuary could face closure in a matter of months as they face a £300,000 financial crisis.
Home to more than 120 horses, ponies and donkeys from all over the country the sanctuary may not be able to continue in the face of the current financial climate.
The trouble started last October following the death of the sanctuary’s founder Alan Fraser.
Although Mr Fraser left Mountains £1.4 million in his will, much of this total is made up of the value of property on land on the 260-acre Glenogil estate.
Despite this allowing them to stay where they are it costs £400,000 a year to keep the sanctuary running.
Mr Fraser set up a £100,000 guaranteed annual income trust to contribute towards the care of the animals but there is still the additional £300,000 to raise each year.
In an effort to keep things running until next year at least the management have announced plans to cut more than a quarter of the 14 full-time employees in a staffing review.
General manager Pam Taylor said:
“Alan Fraser was extremely generous to Mountains and it was his dearest wish that our work helping horses in need be continued after his death.
“We are very appreciative of the £1.4 million gift although its true impact is limited, with little bearing on our cash flow or running costs, as the majority of the gift is in the value of the land and buildings from which we operate.
“Our priority now is to try to keep the sanctuary open for as long as we can, while urgently seeking donations from new supporters.
“We are cutting costs to adjust to our lower income but, with less than four months of funds in the bank, time is running out.
“We urgently need financial help and I would call on existing and potential supporters to consider what they might do to help us.
“This year we have a number of successes in rehoming animals and we have lost a few to old age so the numbers at Mountains were much higher.
“We believe that if we can get through the winter we can turn the situation around but we need to have enough of a cushion to help us do that.”
The Dayzee appeal which was launched earlier this year has raised £12,000 so far towards the centre’s future.
Although the sanctuary has closed its doors to non-welfare cases it has received over 300 calls and e-mails from owners who can no longer look after their horses in the past year.