ANIMAL charities in Cornwall say they are in danger of folding if the government does not help during the covid-19 crisis.
The Conservatives have announced they will give £750 million to frontline organisations such as hospices and those working with domestic abuse sufferers.
But there are others who are struggling with their source of income cut off.
Shelley Oldfield runs the Bodmin Moorland Pony Rehabilitation charity, caring for abandoned and neglected ponies.
She says while she hates asking for help, she is worried her ponies will suffer, with donations dropping off and no way to attend fundraising events.
Now she has started a petition and plans to write to her MP, Scott Mann, to ask for consideration of animal charities by the Government.
Shelley started the charity six years ago after offering help to a pair of ponies from Bodmin Moor who were likely to be put to sleep if a home could not be found.
She said: “We were subsequently left with four, most of whom were close to death due to malnourishment.
“Since then BMPR has gone on to help abandoned and neglected ponies from the commons across the south west including Dartmoor and Exmoor.
“We have also worked with other small organisations like ourselves across the UK, helping a number of abandoned fly grazed small cobs. We are a 100 per cent voluntary run organisation with no salaried staff and all donations help provide everything we need to help the ponies.”
Shelley’s aim is to bring these semi-feral animals back to good health using trust-based training techniques and find them new homes as family companions.
She added: “After years of struggling with inadequate facilities we have now found a fabulous new yard to rent which will finally allow us to welcome the wider community by way of volunteering with us.
“Ultimately we wish to provide a ‘herd for the community’ – a safe, peaceful sanctuary for people and ponies to experience wellbeing through the outdoors by way of holistic workshops and clinics.
“But just as we found this bright new future for the charity we have been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus Crisis. We rely solely on the kindness and generosity of donations from our supporters and the uncertainty for all has meant our income has reduced and access to grant funding now limited due to funds being allocated to organisations which solely impact on those directly involved in Coronavirus support. “There is still no support for animal charities like ourselves by the Government and unless help arrives soon many small animal-based organisations like ourselves will be lost because of this.
“We expect to see a large rise in abandonment and people sadly having to give up their horses due to the uncertainties that lie ahead be that financially or sadly due to the health issues arising because of the virus.
“If small charities like ourselves are forced into closure who will be there for those animals that will undoubtedly need help?”
Anyone wanting to support Shelley can visit her Facebook page or the website www.bodminmoorlandpony.org where there are links to donate and get involved.
Shelley added: “I’ve always believed in working hard and supporting ourselves and have found it difficult asking for help but we desperately need a lifeline in order to survive the next few months.”
Shelley’s calls have been echoed by other organisations including the Flicka Donkey Sanctuary, Penryn.
Founded by Mary Berryman, in 1995, the sanctuary site provides a safe home for more than 100 donkeys and horses, all of whom have been rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment.
Claire Turnbull, spokesman for the Flicka Foundation, said they understood providing support for frontline charities caring for people is vital.
But she added: “We are in exactly the same situation with regards to funding our work. With our gates closed to visitors and upcoming fundraising events cancelled, this is a very worrying time and we are now anxious about what the future may hold.”
Anyone wanting to support Flicka can check out their website: https://www.flickafoundation.org.uk/