A Northern Irish welfare charity has announced it is on the brink of closure unless the council pays a £70,000 bill.
Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary, which mostly helps horses and ponies, said that Belfast City Council owes it the money, having asked the charity to intervene when 18 horses were abandoned in the city last year.
The horses were moved to the Co Antrim sanctuary to be rehomed but there are still 15 on site. The bill covers food and keep, castrations and foalings.
The charity believed it had “a gentleman’s agreement” when the council asked it for help. There was no formal contract.
The council is understood to have made a payment of around £6,000, but the charity has disclosed to the press that it has received a letter saying it would be paid only £4,000 more, and given a fortnight to rehome or dispose of the remaining horses.
Sanctuary founder Lyn Friel told local papers that “we would have to close our doors”.
The council told H&H that it had “sent a letter to Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary requesting a meeting with it to resolve the outstanding issues”.
But no progress had been made as yet.
Redwings Horse Sanctuary and Crosskennan have worked together many times in the past and the English charity said it hoped “the situation can be resolved without such a drastic outcome”.
This article was first published in Horse and Hound on 8 May 2014.