Hooves and Tails is founded in 2017 by a husband and wife team Isabel and Chris. It all began when Isabel wanted to rescue a couple of small farm animals. She reached out to one of the land owners and asked if they would be willing to let her keep rescue animals on their land. To her surprise, the land owner gave permission as there was already a flock of sheep in one of the fields that could be used to keep rescue animals. The arrival of two sibling goats Leyla and Larry in the field was the beginning of Hooves and Tails today.
There were already 15 Shetland sheep in the field brought in 2016 and left there unattended for years by someone else. The goats were sharing the same field as where the flock was kept. Unfortunately the sheep was neglected. Some have died due to lack of care from fly strike and various bacterial diseases and infection and lameness. In the winter months they had no hay and suffered extreme malnutrition and lost a lot of weight. The following spring the ewes gave birth to more lambs and the flock grew in size to 30. Again some of the lambs died due to negligence. By the spring of 2018, the flock size increased to 55 and they were still neglected and suffering from easily treatable diseases or illness. They were not sheared covered in maggots, eventually dying or never had their hooves trimmed to the point most of them developed foot rot in pain unable to walk.
It was heartbreaking to witness the suffering of these innocent animals and we couldn’t do much to help as we were not the owners of the sheep, but we just couldn’t simply allow animals to suffer anymore and wanted to do something about it. In the winter of 2017, we reached out to the owner and asked if they would let us care for the animals to prevent further suffering. Unfortunately the owner wanted money and said they would sell the sheep if we paid them the going market rate. We were also incredibly lucky that the landowner has agreed to us rescuing the sheep and continue to use the field allowing us to create a sanctuary for these animals to be cared for and thrive in. The land owner has also donated a large animal shelter to start us off in providing suitable housing.
By the summer of 2018, we’ve successfully negotiated and agreed the transfer of the flock into our care. We’ve straight away engaged the services of vets and they were all treated immediately, vaccinated and rams castrated to prevent further births as the land we’ve had access to couldn’t sustain any more animals. We built shelters, secured fencing and created an environment for the animals giving them care and attention they deserve.
Over the years our rescued animals have been a great source of enjoyment for the local community, especially for families with children and people with medical conditions. During lockdown, we’ve allowed safe and supervised interaction and visiting opportunities to the public. In addition, we had a lot of requests to volunteer to support our work. School aged children wanted to gain work experience, some even completed Duke of Edinburgh placements. We also had offers from the members of the public wanting to sponsor or contribute towards the care of the animals. We’ve had churches inviting our ainlimls to participate in animal blessing services, which was a great experience for the local community to interact with animals in a different setting. To be able continue to provide a public benefit, to do more for the animals in our care have led us to founding of Hooves and Tails, a not-for-profit, all volunteer run registered CIC in April 2022.