About Crosskennan

Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary is a registered charity situated close to Antrim in Northern Ireland. The sanctuary has been a registered charity since 1996 and is the only welfare and rescue organisation for horses and ponies in Northern Ireland.

We provide volunteering opportunities, work experience, Animal Assisted Therapy, Education. 

 

 

Mission


To relieve the suffering and distress of animals in need of care and protection by reason of sickness, neglect or maltreatment, by establishing and maintaining a sanctuary for such animals.
To advance the education of the general public in the proper care of animals.
It is proposed that these objectives are achieved by providing:-

- An assessment of the animals mental and physical condition involving veterinary advice
- Physical and mental rehabilitation of the animals.
- Identify suitable homes and match animals accordingly.
- Provide educational opportunities for animal owners.

Overview

Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary (CLAS) is a registered charity situated close to Antrim in Northern Ireland. The sanctuary has been a registered charity since 1996 and is the only welfare and rescue organisation for horses and ponies in Northern Ireland.

 

Registered Charity No. XR16305

A Message from Our Founder

Once upon a time there were two horses called Kim and Candy. Sadly that was where the fairytale ended. Their story is the story of Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary, or at least the beginnings of it. The failure of the animal welfare system in Northern Ireland to look after Kim and Candy prompted me to apply for charitable status in 1996. The subsequent years have been full of heartache, tears, anger and ultimately triumph. I promised myself that, whilst Kim and Candy had been failed by the welfare system and the ignorance of the rescue centre they were placed in, the horses, ponies and donkeys who came into the care of CLAS would never be denied the love and attention they so desperately deserved.

We, and I stress ‘we’ as I always envisaged CLAS as everyone’s sanctuary, now have 40 horses and ponies in foster homes across Northern Ireland and another 20 with us awaiting adoption. The last 14 years certainly have not been easy but have made us all the more determined to improve the situation in Northern Ireland.

Ignorance is a great stumbling block and time and time again we have found ourselves up against it. It is ignorance that allows an eight month old terrified and starved filly foal to be walled up in a dark, dirty shed for months. It is ignorance that allows another filly foal to be exhibited at a horse fair event, even though she was so weak with malnutrition and dehydration she could barely stand. And it is ignorance that allows a trotting horse to be driven to his death on a public road. Old habits die hard and attitudes are firmly entrenched but we are determined to fight on to make Northern Ireland a better place for all animals.

In the meantime, however, we will continue with our educational and cross community approach to animal welfare. Through our workshops, training days and Saturday Club (for children), we hope that the next generation of animal owners will be wiser and more informed than this one.

Our story isn’t all doom and gloom though. We have the support of many kind people, friends and volunteers who keep the sanctuary running. We also have many success stories. The filly foal walled up in misery and filth now has a super home and the little foal from the fair is also now a strapping lass in a home. We may have helped these horses but their triumphs are down to them. They are a testimony to the resilience of animals to overcome psychological and physical abuse. Their ability to forgive mankind for the terrible deeds inflicted upon them is surely one of the most amazing phenomena of life.

Our work has taught us many lessons, some of them humbling, some of them inspiring, all of them worth learning. Our motto is ‘Hope for the future: Help us trust Again’ and it will be for as long as it takes to make a difference in Northern Ireland. We realise that we cannot change the world but that doesn’t stop us trying.

Lyn Friel; Founder and Manager of Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary

Frequently asked questions

General

I emailed you two days ago and you still haven't responded, why?


Unfortunately our office is only manned part time and not at weekends. We also are receiving a large number of emails everyday. We appreciate your patience when contacting us, we will do all we can to get back to you ASAP. If you have an urgent issue please call the sanctuary directly - 028 9446 5384. Again our phones are not manned 24/7 but we do recieve your messages and try and reply within a day or less.




I phoned today but no one answered; is there no one there?


Unfortunately our office is only manned part time and not at weekends. We also are receiving a large number of calls everyday as well as the normal work of the sanctuary and the unplanned rescues. We appreciate your patience when contacting us, we will do all we can to get back to you ASAP. If you have an urgent issue please call the sanctuary directly and leave a message - 028 9446 5384. Again our phones are not manned 24/7 but we do recieve your messages and try and reply within a day or less. Please make sure to leave a contact name and number in a clear voice so we can call you back.




How are you funded?


Crosskennan is entirely funded by public donations. Our annual funding requirement is now approximately £200,000. We have no income from national or local authority and no national or parent charity to draw funds from. We rely solely on the goodwill of people such as yourselves to help us to take care of all our animals as well as grant giving bodies.




How can I donate things to the sanctuary?


You can donate a wide variety of things to the sanctuary. If you have any items please contact the sanctuary via email - office@crosskennanlane.org.uk. Please note that we are generally unable to collect donations. You can also donate via our Amazon Wishlist




What things can I donate to the sanctuary?


You can donate a wide variety of things to the sanctuary, including;

  • Animal Food: We can take advantage of most donated animal food. If for some reason we cannot use it ourselv es, we will ensure that other animals in need benefit from your generousity. Fresh fruit and vegetables are always welcome for our birds and equines.
  • Bedding: We have a never-ending need for bedding! This can be blankets, towels, sheets and other similar materials that we can use to make beds.
  • Items For Selling: The items we can sell include unwanted gifts, good quality bric-a-brac, household items, etc.
If you have any items please contact the sanctuary via email - office@crosskennanlane.org.uk. Please note that we are generally unable to collect donations.





Animals

What animals do you have?


We have worked with many different animals over the years but work primarily with Horses and ponies, dogs, cats, and Birds like Hens, ducks etc. We usually have approximately 100 animals on site. You can see some of our residents here!




Do you ever put an animal to sleep?


Unfortunately this comes with life, but our policy is that we never put a healthy animal to sleep. We ethunaise only on veterinary advice as well as a consultation with the team.




Do you Rehome all the animals?


No, some of our animals are assessed as being unsuitable for rehoming. We offer sanctuary to these animals for their lifetimes - the same goes for animals that have been unsuccessful in finding a suitable home. The Sanctuary becomes their home and the staff and volunteers become their family. We treat every animal at the sanctuary like one of our own pets.




Why are some animals Permanent Residents?


It varies case by case but many are permanent because of one or more of the following;

  • Health complaints or injuries that make them expensive to care for.
  • Mental scars from previous experiences leaving them with behavioural problems.
  • Old age.
  • Bonds with other permanent residents that cannot be broken.
  • Bonds with the sanctuary environment and the people there.




Where do your animals come from?


Each case is different but all of our animals have come to us as a rescue in some form. Most of our residents have been found abandoned or come to us after being rescued from their previous homes where they were mistreated or faced neglect. We also have some animals that come to us as private handovers/unwanted pets but we have to limit this if we can.




Why don't you take in unwanted pets?


We do take in animals from homes in which the owners could no longer care for them or the animal is unwanted but we have to limit this if we can. We endeavour to help every animal that we can but as the sanctuary is generally always at capacity there may be a waiting list. We offer a Home from Home Rehoming service where we cannot offer your animal a place at the sanctuary. If you need to find a new home for your pet please call or email the sanctuary - office@crosskennanlane.org.uk.




Do you ever get puppies/kittens? Can you call me when they come in?


We do get puppies and kittens in at the sanctuary, but as you can imagine this is a very popular request and we don't have capacity to contact everyone. We will post on our Facebook page and on our website when we are looking for homes for Puppies or Kittens. The same rules apply for rehoming puppies/kittens as they do for adult animals.




If I am interested in a breed will you call me when one comes into the centre?


Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to do this. We would recommend keeping an eye on our website and our social media pages.





Visiting

Is the sanctuary open all year?


Technically yes; behind the scenes. We are working every day of the year because animals need daily care. Unfortunately we are not open to the general public without an appointment. You can make an appointment to visit by contacting us via email - office@crosskennanlane.org.uk




What can I expect to see if I visit?


Crosskennan is first and foremost an animal sanctuary. We have an average of 100 resident animals but we don’t make them perform for visitors! This means that we cannot guarantee what animals you will see. All visits must be by appointment only! Please do not turn up at the sanctuary without an appointment as you will not be allowed inside. You can make an appointment to visit by contacting us via email - office@crosskennanlane.org.uk




What is an AAT Visit?


Crosskennan is first and foremost an animal sanctuary but over the years we have discovered the amazing benefits of working with animals. We offer people the chance to work with animals through Animal Asisted Therapy (AAT) visits - both on and off site. LEARN MORE You can book a visit by contacting us via email - office@crosskennanlane.org.uk




Is the Sanctuary accessible to wheelchair users?


Crosskennan has areas that are wheelchair accessible but this is limited unfortunately. We have a number of concrete and gravel laneways but due to the operations of the sanctuary we have a large number of gates so we recommend that wheelchair users are accompanied by an able bodied person. Our Visitor's centre is wheelchair accessible. We are working hard to ensure everyone has equal access to areas of the sanctuary but unfortunately our funding is focused on the care of the animals.




Can I bring my dog?


No, you cannot bring your dog into the sanctuary when visiting. We have a few events on throughout the year where well behaved dogs are welcome to visit the sanctuary. They must be kept under control on a short lead.




Can I bring my children to the Sanctuary?


Children are very welcome at the sanctuary. If you are looking to find a new member of the family, it is important that everyone who will be in regular contact with the animal can get to know them! We also provide children's educational talks about animal welfare, care and safety, etc. Feel free to ask for more information via email events@crosskennanlane.org.uk Please do not turn up at the sanctuary without an appointment as you will not be allowed inside. You can make an appointment to visit by contacting us via email - office@crosskennanlane.org.uk





Rehoming

Who can rehome an animal from you?


We believe that there is an animal to suit everyone, but sometimes it can take time to find the perfect match. We recomend anyone interested in rehoming contact us via an application form if required (horses and Dogs usually) or by email. We will try and match you to your perfect animal and hopefully you can rehome if you can meet the needs of that particular animal.




How can I rehome an animal from you?


We believe that there is an animal to suit everyone, but sometimes it can take time to find the perfect match. We recomend anyone interested in rehoming contact us via an application form if required or by email. We cannot guarantee we will have an animal to suit your requirements or skill level.




Why would I rehome a Rescue animal?


There are many reasons why re-homing a rescue from Crosskennan is more rewarding than purchasing. The main one being you are providing a better life and a secure future for an animal that maybe hasn't had the best start in life.




Are the rescue animals healthy?


All Animals at the sanctuary receive extra loving care and feeding program is devised. Vet checks, dental checks and treatment, and hoof care as appropriate. NO information is hidden from prospective adopters. Any past injuries/conditions and any little quirks or vices are made known in an effort to match every animal to the perfect home.




Can you give me a full history on an animal?


Some of our animals have been handed in, but most are stray or abandoned. If an animal is handed in we get as much information as we can from previous owners but if they are a stray it can be difficult. Our team give each animal a full assessment so we can piece together as much of that animal's story as we can. NO information is hidden from prospective adopters. Any past injuries/conditions and any little quirks or vices are made known in an effort to match every animal to the perfect home.




Can I fill out the equine rehoming application online?


Yes you can! You can fill out an equine application here. Currently we are updating the application with more detailed question - you can download the updated version as a PDF file here.




Could I be turned down for rehoming an animal?


Through a thorough assessment that helps us match each animal to the right person we sometimes find a home will not be the perfect fit. If that is the case we will discuss this with you and if appropriate, suggest alternative options. We rehome to all different types of homes. It really does come down to whether your home is the best match for one of our animals. We will be honest if we don't feel you are eligible to rehome a particular animal. Please don't take this personally as there are many factors we take into account that could mean your home isn't the best environment for that animal. As a responsible rehoming organisation we would be doing a disservice to ourselves, the animal and to you if we were to rehome an animal somewhere that we didn't see as their forever home. We know people have their hearts set on certain animals and it's disappointing to hear they won't be coming home with you but our team will have made the decision knowing the animal as well as they do, and not wanting to cause undue heartache in the future.




What is Home from Home Rehoming?


We offer a Home from Home Rehoming service where we cannot offer your animal a place at the sanctuary. Home from Home is where we try and find your animal a new home while it continues to live with their current owners. This reduces the stress on the animal of having to move to the sanctuary. A Home from Home also means you get to have a say in where your animal ends up; we do know that not every pet that we rehome this way is neccessarily 'unwanted' and many can be the result of circumstances out of your control. We do our best to match potential homes with animals and will assist with home checks etc. If you need to find a new home for your pet please call or email the sanctuary - office@crosskennanlane.org.uk.




What if it doesn't work out?


Although this is very sad, it does happen; one of the reasons we take our time in the rehoming process is to try and reduce the number of returning animals. We will retain ownership of the animal throughout its life and this ensures it cannot be passed on without our knowledge and perhaps end up a bad home; what this also means is we are here to help you for the rest of your animal's life. If you have any concerns, big or small, let us know as and we will do our best to help you through them. If it is ultimately decided that returning the animal to us is the best course of action, we will take them back into our care and try and find another home for them (if that is the suitable course of action).




Can I take my new pet home on the same day?


Sadly this isn't possible as the process normally takes at least a week, but it can be shorter or longer depending on a few factors. Our rehoming team will do their best to find an animal (dog/cat/horse/pony/bird/etc.) whose needs suit your lifestyle from the start. We take care with our application process so that by the time people meet the animal on their first visit they agree on a match and pending a potential home visit it can be less than a week before your new pet is home with you!




Can I rehome from out of Northern Ireland?


Yes, we have many animals that have been rehomed further afield than Northern Ireland. We have rehomed to the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany and Austria! We do prefer you can visit the centre as many times as necessary to meet and work with the animal, we understand this is not always easy to do. Rehoming out of the country is on a case by case basis, and the rehoming team will let you know if this is possible.




Can you email me more details about an animal, or photos?


If we have anymore information we will pass that along. Unfortunately the Sanctuary can be extremely busy so it can be difficult to get more photos or videos. If you are interested in adopting and the animal is on site the rehoming team will invite you to come and see them. Keep an eye on our social media feeds too as we try to make regular updates.