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Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of animals in Northern Ireland. Founded in 1996, our team of volunteers is now responsible for the care of over 100 animals daily. We specialize predominantly in equine rescue and rehabilitation, but also care for dogs, cats, birds, small animals, farm animals, and more when required.

Our mission is to provide a safe haven for animals in need, and to promote education around animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. We have a dedicated volunteer network that helps us care for the animals. Responsible for over 100 animals daily we are passionate about helping animals in need. Visit our website to learn more about our mission and how you can help us make a difference.

We strive to provide and promote the care and protection of all animals by offering a place of safety to those in need, rehoming those with the potential for a fulfilling life outside the Sanctuary, and educating owners and future generations about the value of animal welfare, again with a focus on Equines.

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 primarily focused on the welfare of horses and ponies in Northern Ireland.

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

Our Rescue and Rehabilitation work is dedicated to giving all animals a second chance. Whether old or young our volunteers are passionate about helping animals of all ages and backgrounds, including those with health and behavioural issues. We strive to give these animals a safe and comfortable environment to recover and live out their lives in peace. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing a safe and loving home for all animals in need whether they are with us for a short time before finding a home of their own or with us a lifetime; calling the sanctuary their permanent home.

Crosskennan Lane offers exciting volunteer opportunities for all ages and experience levels. Volunteers have the chance to learn about a variety of our resident animals, including horses, dogs, cats, and chickens. The educational opportunities can vary, but all volunteers will gain hands-on experience with the animals and learn about their care and wellbeing. All volunteers will have the chance to gain essential knowledge and referenced experience caring for animals. Opportunities vary and when and where possible are tailored to the needs of the volunteer.

Our Animal Assisted Therapeutic Activities provide hands-on learning experiences with our resident rescue animals. Through Equine Assisted Learning and other activities, we provide the opportunity for people to benefit from our rescue animals as they help them grow and develop. Our Animals Helping People program has been proven to help, with our rescue animals being integral in providing a safe and supportive environment that encourages growth and healing.

Registered Charity (Northern Ireland): NIC 104 028

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

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Write to us at:
Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary
26 Crosskennan Lane,
County Antrim
BT41 2QY

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