A disabled bullock whose story touched hearts worldwide after being rescued by a North Yorkshire sanctuary is now at risk of being made homeless.
The animal, Duke Bullock, was rescued by Sharon Lawlor who runs CALF animal sanctuary, near Malton. Born a dwarf and left unable to walk due to an injury, Duke was destined to die until Sharon took him in and nursed him back to health.
Although he will always be disabled Duke, a specially made shelter with built-in lifting hoist and a wheelchair of sorts helps him stand and walk in his field.
His happy ending though could now been shattered.
Ms Lawlor said she has been told the lease on the house and land where the CALF animals and her family live will not be renewed in July.
They now have just a few months to find a new home for not just Duke, who needs constant care, but five more cows, 30 sheep, 12 chickens, five pigs, four goats and three turkeys.
Ms Lawlor said: “We’ve had a real rollercoaster year, but the letter about our lease not being renewed was a bolt from the blue just before Christmas.
“We’ve searched high and low for a suitable, alternative smallholding, but with no joy. Ideally, for long-term security we need to buy our own permanent sanctuary, that CALF can call home.
“We’d like a home we can open up to the public to come and visit and get involved in, have accommodation where people can stay, and the potential to open a café and shop so that the sanctuary can be self-sufficient. That’s the dream – which we now have just a few short months to realise.”
Ms Lawlor said she and her family are putting all their savings into finding a solution, and are raising additional funds by selling their assets, but it is unlikely to be enough.
“We need help, so we’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign,” she said. “It seems like we’ve a big mountain to climb very quickly but I do know there are many people who value the lives of animals and the work we do, and we really do need their help now.
“We’re in a very serious position right now, with very little time. Failure to find a new home would bring unthinkable consequences for the animals in our care, especially for Duke with his specials needs. It would absolutely break my heart to lose Duke.”
To support the online crowdfunding campaign, visit chuffed.org/project/dukes-place-called-home