Family miss meals to feed the animals - WATCH VIDEO APPEAL

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The owners of a horse sanctuary have made an urgent appeal for help - after being forced to sacrifice meals to pay for animal feed.

Mum-of-two Mary Hepworth - who opened the Cawthorne-based Albert’s Horse Sanctuary with husband John and their daughters Mary-Anne and Stacey, in 2005 - said: “It’s getting to the point where we’ve gone without food on occasion, so we can afford to feed the animals.”

Pictured is Mary Hepworth with Fergus the pony at Alberts Horse and Pony Sanctuary,South Lane,Cawthorne

Pictured is Mary Hepworth with Fergus the pony at Alberts Horse and Pony Sanctuary,South Lane,Cawthorne

The family started the sanctuary as a side project to care for animals who were no longer wanted and might otherwise face being put down.

Seven years later, it is a full-time job for Mary and her daughters to care for the sanctuary’s 17 horses, four donkeys, nine sheep, three goats, four pigs, three cats and two rabbits.

Mary said: “None of them are starving and they’re not wanting for love and attention, but it would be wonderful if there was more for everyone.

“We have little sponsorship and funding, so mostly the money comes out of our pockets.

Appeal for help: Mary Hepworth takes pony Fergus for a walk at Albert's Horse Sanctuary, Cawthorne.   PICTURE: STEVE ELLIS

Appeal for help: Mary Hepworth takes pony Fergus for a walk at Albert's Horse Sanctuary, Cawthorne. PICTURE: STEVE ELLIS

“At £40 a bale of hay, the animals can easily go through five a day. Desperate was our situation two years ago - where we are now is beyond desperate.”

Husband John is the only member of the family able to work full-time, which means the sanctuary keeps the three women working without pay.

Mary said: “We do sometimes regret taking it on.

“We just want the security of knowing we can continue to care for them.”

* Anyone who can help is asked to call Mary on 07721 327879.

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