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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 May, 2005, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Animal home has uncertain future
About 70 donkeys live at the sanctuary
About 70 donkeys, 10 ponies and several other animals living at a sanctuary in Oxfordshire face an uncertain future because their home is to be sold off.

Most animals living at the Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary, near Wallingford, were ill-treated before arriving.

Charity trustees say they cannot meet the cost of the land, which is currently rented, and fear the animals may become homeless.

They are trying to raise 250,000 to buy alternative land to relocate.

The money raised would also go towards keeping the sanctuary as a riding school for disabled children.

Lease ended

The trustees also hope to expand the sanctuary from 18 acres to about 25 to 50 acres as it is currently at full capacity.

A spokesperson for the sanctuary, which takes cases from the RSPCA and the Donkey Breed Society, said: "Since 1999, the charity has rented 18 acres of land from the owners of Island Farm at a normal agricultural rent.

"The original five-year lease came to an end in April 2004 and the sanctuary was given the opportunity to purchase the land.

"Unfortunately, other interested parties found out about the potential sale of the land and made counter bids, the highest of these was about three times the valuation obtained by the sanctuary."

The trustees said they are looking for a new home near to their existing location.

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