John Ranger set up Second Chance Animal Rescue in 2011 after looking after various animals since his childhood. This is his dream, and he now spends his life rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals.
John started with a smaller piece of land but soon outgrew this and looked for a large plot to expand his dream. We now have 64 acres on our main site and 22 acres close by which is for horses and the two donkeys to live on. The new site was very run down, and a lot of work has been needed to bring it to a usable rescue. 7 years ago, the falling down stables were home to horses on one side of the yard and rabbits the other side. It was dark and gloomy with lots of leaks, so you were no better off inside than being outside.
With his partner Sue and brother Charlie they sat and made plans for rehousing the domestic animals they had bought from the old site. The brothers are from Traveller backgrounds and, having skipped school a lot to help their dad in his various enterprises during their youth, they are very able to build enclosures working closely together on a project. Slowly the animals we already had were housed in new wooden buildings using whatever wood was available till the rabbits and cats had a new home. It was and is considerably basic still although a lot of improvements have taken place over the years.
During the initial time that Second Chance was set up, another small rescue centre had to close and were looking for places to rehome their animals and reptiles. We took various reptiles that could live without heat along with a family of meerkats. This was the start of us taking various exotic animals that had been pets, or experience animals and breeding animals. Over the years the rescue has not only improved conditions but has expanded greatly with more and more animals coming in for rehoming. We now have around 600 animals including birds.
We rely on donations to both fund our ongoing rescue work, along with overheads like rent, food and bet bills. . We go to fetes, nursing homes, schools, nurseries and scout groups alongside any birthday parties which we charge for to cover the bills. We rely on volunteers to help with all the animals and currently have over one hundred; as we need enough people to care for the animals 24/7, 365 days a week. We have a core of volunteers that have been with the rescue since the early days and lots that come and go due to personal reasons. We lose a lot during the winter months as it is very open and can be cold and wet! We also take work experience people from university, colleges, and schools. This year we have had a large contingency of youngsters doing their Duke of Edinburgh award.
Alongside all this we take pride in offering special needs adults the opportunity to work with animals regardless of their disability and welcome their carers if needed. Our volunteers are excellent at making them all feel part of the teams. This last 6 months have been very challenging with an influx of many animals from people who are struggling to make ends meet plus having bought animals in lockdown now find them surplus to requirements. Alongside this we have had an abundance of wild animals bought in mainly hedgehogs and birds. The weather has had a huge impact on wildlife this year. We also have had several vet practices with various animals that need a rescue space, and we try to help where we can find a place for them. This is an ongoing situation which doesn’t seem to be diminishing so for us it’s a lifetimes work. We hope this gives you an insight to the work we do.