It all began in 2017 when our founder Isabel and her husband Chris, wanted to rescue a couple of small farm animals. She reached out to a landowner nearby, asking if they would allow her to keep a couple of rescued animals on their land. To her surprise, the landowner agreed, given that there was already a flock of sheep belonging to someone else. The arrival of two sibling goats, Leyla and Larry in the field was the beginning of Hooves and Tails Sanctuary today.
In the field that the goats were sharing, there were already over 12 Shetland sheep brought in around 2016 and left unattended by someone else, leading to neglect. The sheep suffered from fly strike, various bacterial diseases and infections, resulting in casualties. The harsh winter brought malnutrition, weight loss and unaddressed health issues continued. The following spring, the ewes gave birth to more lambs and the flock grew in size to 27. Summers brought further misery. Unshorn sheep infested with maggots, suffering from extreme heat meant more deaths. The flock hadn't had their hooves trimmed to the point most of them developed foot rot, in pain and unable to walk. The original rams were still in the field, meaning there was inbreeding.
The scene was heartbreaking—a flock without adequate sustenance, water, shelter or medical care. Witnessing their suffering alongside our own goats, we couldn't stand idly by. Despite our repeated pleas to the owner, no action was taken. In December 2017, with the help of the landowner, we convinced the sheep owner to transfer the ownership of 27 sheep so that we can care for them.
We immediately engaged the services of vets, and they were all treated immediately, vaccinated and rams surgically castrated to prevent further births, as the land we had access to couldn't sustain any more animals. We built shelters using pallets, tarpaulin, secured fencing and created an environment for the animals, giving them the care and attention they so desperately needed. The landowner has also kindly donated a shelter and some pens to start us off with.
Come spring of 2018, the ewes were already pregnant at the time of their rescue from the gave birth to 28 lambs, some giving birth to twins. Within a month, the flock size doubled to 55!! We ended up with three generations of the same breed of sheep. The first generation, the original 12, we don't know their background or where they came from. We believe they might have been born around 2013. The second generation, 15 were born in spring 2017, and the third generation were born in our care in spring 2018. Because the same rams were mating with the ewes, and it’s possible the ram mated with a daughter, etc., the third generation of sheep have a lot of health issues that would have to be managed through the year.
It was never our intention to end up with 55 animals in our care within a short space of time reaching the point of being full to the brim and unable to accommodate more rescues. We don't even own any land ourselves. Yet, we couldn't turn a blind eye to the suffering of animals right in front of us. Our initial goal was to establish a small sanctuary, maintain rescue numbers at a manageable level, and save sheep and goats in need—especially those requiring rehabilitation, with an aim of rehoming wherever possible.
The limitations posed by the size of our land and the costs associated with caring for the existing flock mean we are currently unable to accept more animals into our care until our numbers go down. Nevertheless, we actively collaborate with other rescues and individuals better positioned to aid sheep or goats in distress. We extend our support beyond physically taking animals in our care, leveraging our extensive experience in sheep and goat care to assist those seeking guidance on caring for their own farm animals kept as pets or rescued farm animals.
Our mission is to provide a safe environment where our rescued animals can live out their days freely, healthy and with happiness. We tend to their needs, ensuring the continual upkeep of our sanctuary. Veterinary care and necessary medication are promptly administered, and our vigilant monitoring guarantees the sustained well-being of all animals under our care.
We hope you support our mission to help these animals whether through donations for ongoing care, sponsorship of one of our residents or buying our merchandise will make an immense difference.
Our vision is a world where all the animals are treated with compassion, free from neglect, abuse, cruelty and exploitation.
💚 Provide a safe haven for rescued animals where they can live out the rest of their lives in comfort while receiving the special care and attention they need.
💚 Educate the public about treating animals with kindness and respect, aiming to raise awareness about the needs of animals, thus preventing cruelty and neglect.
💚 In collaboration with other rescues or individuals, we work to relieve suffering caused by sickness, maltreatment and poor circumstances and subsequently rehome where possible.
💚 Offer the public opportunities to interact, connect and bond with farm animals through volunteering and visiting opportunities as well as supporting our fundraising efforts.