THE owner of a Wirral animal sanctuary that was hit hard by the pandemic has launched a desperate appeal for Globe readers' help to avoid closure.

Whitegate Animal Sanctuary in Hoylake is home to around 150 creatures, many of whom have been rescued from the meat or dairy industry.

Laura Whelan started taking in animals on a four-acre farm in Brimstage nearly three years ago and was funding the costs for them from her doggy day care business.

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Inhabitants at Whitegate Animal Sanctuary

But when she lost most of her income "overnight" because of the pandemic, Laura was forced to relocate to cheaper premises in Hoylake in December.

The dedicated animal lover says that despite the move – funded by a large personal loan she took out – mounting costs at the sanctuary are proving unaffordable.

Rent and food come to around £1,500 a month, plus there are often unexpected vet bills, like the one for £450 Laura recently had to pay.

She also needs around £7,000 for new fencing.

The 39-year-old said: "I was funding the sanctuary myself until Covid hit and I lost three quarters of my income overnight.

"I'm so passionate about animals. They are a family. Many have come to me and grown from tiny babies.

"I bottle-fed them in my living room.

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Baby cow Elliot at Whitegate Animal Sanctuary

"It's been amazing watching their first time out on grass and seeing them meet the other animals.

"Saved from the horrors of the slaughterhouse, all of them are living a life free from fear and are now treated with respect and love.

"I'd hate to have to rehome them."

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Laura has rescued eight pigs, seven goats, six sheep, two calves and around 100 chickens, ducks and turkeys.

Baby cows Elliot and Ember, now just three months old, were taken in at seven days old to save them being shot in the head at a dairy farm down south.

Dairy farms depend on female cows to produce milk, so when male calves are born, they are surplus to requirements. Many of the chickens are ex-battery and the cockerels were abandoned.

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Baby cow Ember at Whitegate Animal Sanctuary

In recent months, mother-of-two Laura – who found herself working up to 14 hours a day – called on volunteers to help her with the day-to-day running of the sanctuary.

She said: "The community has really rallied round and we have a great team of volunteers who I couldn't do this without," she said.

If you would like to donate to the sanctuary, you can do so at or via bank transfer to Laura Whelan, sort code 09-01-29 and account number 31342715.