Horsham animal rescue centre ‘in limbo’ over its future

Owners of an animal rescue centre who are having to move out of their premises to make way for a major new development say they feel left ‘in limbo.’

The family-run Holbrook Animal Rescue has been operating from its site in Old Holbrook, Horsham, for the past 25 years.

Cliff and Laura Santini and Laura's mother Sylvia Bradbury at Holbrook Animal Rescue. Photo by Derek Martin Photography SUS-180924-155602008

Cliff and Laura Santini and Laura's mother Sylvia Bradbury at Holbrook Animal Rescue. Photo by Derek Martin Photography SUS-180924-155602008

But it has to find new premises because it is sited in North Horsham - an area scheduled for the building of 2,750 new homes, two schools, shops, a community centre, health facilities and sportsgrounds.

The rescue centre is run by Cliff and Laura Santini, along with Laura’s mother Sylvia, who look after around 25 dogs at any one time, along with about 12 cats, horses and sheep. They also have an aviary.

Said Cliff: “We have been to see a number of premises for our move, but nothing is quite right yet.”

He said they had not been given a date for development to start - originally due this summer - “but there is a bit of urgency now. We have nowhere to go. We’re in limbo.”

He said they needed to move before any building work started to avoid spooking the animals, Horsham District Council, he said, had been ‘very supportive’ in helping them to find suitable land so they could continue their work, but that they were still searching. Ideally, they are looking for farmland of around 20 acres.

Meanwhile, a Channel 5 TV crew are currently filming at the rescue centre for a programme called ‘My house and other animals’ which is due to be aired next month.

The rescue centre takes in animals from a variety of different circumstances and gives them plenty of tender loving care before finding them new homes.

It was originally set up to help with the neutering, veterinary care and feeding of stray and abandoned dogs and cats. “We take in many different types of animals and they all come from different backgrounds,” says Laura. “We try to find good homes for them all - where possible – and often keep the old and sick ones as our own animals.”

The family first began their rescue work after being touched by the plight of New Forest foals facing slaughter for meat. Since then, their work has grown and, although mostly self-funded, they have been helped by public donations - and a band of dedicated volunteers. Every penny of donations goes towards veterinary costs, feeding and general care of the animals.