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Animals could be put down at Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Boughton Monchelsea if urgent funds aren't found

Animals might have to be put down at the UK's only goat charity, unless urgent help is found.

Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Boughton Monchelsea, which looks after 140 hooved herbivores, is the only charity in the UK solely working towards the welfare of goats.

Robert Hitch started looking after goats in 1989
Robert Hitch started looking after goats in 1989

Started in 1989, founder Robert Hitch has been saving goats from cruelty and neglect ever since.

But, like many animal organisations across the county, Buttercups has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

Closed to visitors, it is now relying on emergency reserves to pay for food and medical treatment, which Mr Hitch says will only last six more weeks.

He says if the sanctuary is forced to close, staff will try to find foster homes for as many animals as possible, but they may not have any other choice but to euthanise some of them.

"It comes as an unpleasant surprise to find ourselves respectfully asking our many supporters and friends to help in saving the only goat welfare charity in the UK," he said.

"Because the coronavirus outbreak has halted the flow of visitors and caused the loss of essential funding, the sanctuary now desperately needs financial assistance to survive.

"When our funds are exhausted in a few weeks time, after 30 years of goat rescue, Buttercups must close its doors leaving 140 goats at risk, and for them, only one scenario."

Buttercups is hoping to reopen on Saturday, June 13, with social distancing measures and hygiene precautions in place, but Mr Hitch says he cannot wait until then.

He said: "We generally rely on people coming in to get donations and so our income could well have been reduced by around 80%.

"We had an emergency fund prepared but have been using this since March so it is running out."

The charity has been hosting monthly goat races - the Wacky Goat Run - to try and raise more funds, with the next taking place on Friday, June 26.

People can sponsor the animal they think will complete their normal daily run from the stables to the grazing field fastest.

You can also adopt a goat or just donate money directly to the charity to help them survive the pandemic.

To find out more about how to help Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats, visit the website by clicking here.

A local resident, Lisa Gregory, who previously volunteered at the centre, has also set up her own GoFundMe page, raising more than £1,500 so far. To donate, click here.

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