ANIMAL sanctuary boss John Warwick is appealing for homes for more than 300 animals before a court appearance at the end of the month.
The owner of the Swindon and District Animal Haven, in Royal Wootton Bassett, was banned from keeping farm animals for 10 years and domestic animals for four years when he appeared before Chippenham Magistrates in November 2011.
The 54-year-old, who has appealed to the High Court to reverse the decision, pleaded guilty to breaching the ban at Chippenham Magistrates last month, and is hoping to find homes for the animals in his care before he is sentenced on January 29.
“To ban me from having animals is crazy. We have been doing this for 16 years and you can’t just turn that off,” he said.
“When someone phones you up saying they have tried the RSPCA and the Blue Cross and various places and none of them can help, what can you do?
“There are so many different reasons why people need help and you can’t really say no, not when you have been doing it for 16 years.
“Since I have been banned we have rehomed 458 cats and dogs. That shows there is a need. They would have been destroyed unless we took them in. We don’t take in any animal unless nobody else will.
“We have been trying not to take any in but if they are going to be destroyed then we have got to. I have to do it – if not, these animals will be killed.
“If I could find someone else that could do what I do they could take over and it would be lovely. Nobody can give the time that I do.”
John needs to rehome 30 cats, 12 rabbits, a couple of dogs and about 300 hens.
Last year, John appealed against the ban at Swindon Crown Court but his appeal was quashed.
It came after he admitted four offences of animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act, which related to pigs he kept at the family-owned Warwick Farm.
It is thought the High Court decision about his appeal to reverse the ban will also be given at the court case at the end of the month.
“You can’t just turn everything off just because you have got an appeal going through. The legal process is taking a long time. We can’t let the animals die and they can’t expect us to,” he added.
John says his solicitor has advised him to rehome all the animals before his next appearance.
“Somehow or other the sanctuary will keep going, even if I’m not involved. My son, Matthew, said he will help out,” he said.
“We have a great team of volunteers. We will make sure the place is still going. Since we have been doing this we have helped out more than 150,000 people.”
To rehome any of the animals email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07990 868887.