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An animal rescue founded nearly 40 years ago when a kitten needed a home is now a huge operation that saves dogs, horses, donkeys, goats, and even a pair of cheeky pigs.

Pauline Rice, a lifelong animal lover, founded Ark Animal Rescue in North Somercotes in 1985. She passed away in 2017 and her daughter Sue Rice took over, and now her daughter Laura Wootton and granddaughter Belle Wootton are helping out too – meaning four generations of the same family have been rescuing animals in Lincolnshire and beyond.

Laura, the rescue and retirement homes assistant manager, said the cost of living crisis has taken a real toll on pet owners who sometimes have no choice but to give up their companions. The rescue itself is battling increased energy bills and a Just Giving fundraiser has been launched to help them out.

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Describing the cost of living crisis as “terrible”, Laura said: “There is now a massive responsibility taking on vet bills and pet food now. When people lost a family member in the past, normally they’d step up [by adopting their pets] but they can’t afford to now. There is a real need for us, sadly.

“We now have all these beautiful, well-trained animals that are really well looked after but the owners just can’t afford to keep them. Somebody came in with two cats because she could no longer afford to keep them.”

Ark Animal Rescue in North Somercotes with a rainbow in the background(Image: Supplied)

Including small furries such as hamsters, Ark Animal Rescue rehomed an impressive 452 animals in the 12 months up to December last year. But as the need for their pet rehoming services goes up, so do their own expenses.

Laura said: “Obviously, the costs of utility bills are rising all the time. It’s amazing, there have been times we thought we couldn’t go on but people always show their support when we are desperate. Even if it’s just 50p, if every supporter gave us that we’d be OK.”

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