A FAMILY run animal sanctuary is on the brink of closure after four decades due to lack of funding.
Artis pet sanctuary in Balby has been struggling to make ends meet for the last few years and now needs to find new homes for all its animals.
The small animal sanctuary has been successfully looking after and re-homing rabbits, mice, guinea pigs and birds since the 1960s, but with the arrival of the wildlife park and the economic downturn, the centre has seen a decrease in visitors and people wanting domestic animals.
Sue Coley, a sanctuary trustee, said: “We rely on the public making donations when they come to us for a new pet.
“With fewer and fewer people getting pets in these difficult times, it’s obviously had a knock on effect to how much funding the sanctuary was receiving.
“If we can’t get any funding to keep the sanctuary going, we still need to find homes for all the animals we’ve still got in our care.
“It’s the public that has kept us going for so long, so we can only thank the people of Doncaster. It’s just such a shame that it’s come down to this.”
Sister Vicky Coley runs the sanctuary in Weston Road and lives on the site.
She said: “We started off just with a few animals in the back garden and then were started taking in animals for rehoming, and then more and more - there was a point when we had 400 small animals in the back garden - so we moved to the bigger site on Weston Road.
“The opening of the Yorkshire Wildlife park has had a knock on effect to the number of people visiting our sanctuary.
“If people can go and see exotic animals, they’re not bothered about rabbits and guinea pigs.”
The registered charity rents the building from the council, but the upkeep and repairs are the responsibility of the tenants, and they do not have the money.
Vicky said: “We want to try and keep going as long as possible, so any donations are welcomed. It costs a lot to keep it going with all the bills and rent that have to be paid for.
“We’ve also got some elderly animals here that aren’t rehomable, but we are trying to re-home as many as we can in the time we’ve got left.”