A BANGOR animal sanctuary has thanked the generous local community for helping to raise nearly £2,000 after a fire broke out at its premises.

Devoted animal lover and shelter owner Vanessa Dugan was heartbroken when fire broke out in Foxy’s Inn Animal Sanctuary putting the lives of the 28 rabbits, 16 cats and 13 guinea pigs in peril.

Firefighters battled last Wednesday night’s blaze and were able to rescue all of the animals that have found shelter at the Ashbury Avenue premises.

The accidental fire extensively damaged the shelter, which is also Vanessa’s home, so her good friend Donna Mitchell set about raising much needed funds to get the shelter up and running once again.

Donna set up a Go Fund Me page and a total of 93 donations were made in just a few days raising a charity total of £1,895.

Vanessa says she has been bowled over by the kindness of strangers who have offered to undertake the clean up operation free of charge.

She also praised the bravery of the firefighters who brought her animals to safety.

“The firefighters were brilliant, they got through the blaze and got all the animals out,” she said.

“It is a miracle they are all okay, it is a miracle they all got out as the firefighters were constantly just going back until they got all of the animals.”

Vanessa was delighted when Foxy’s Inn Animal Sanctuary received charity status last year after she first opened her doors to unwanted animals in 2017.

She has seen a steady increase in the number of animals needing forever homes. “Since last summer it is ridiculous the amount of animals being dumped. A lot of rescue (centres) are overflowing.”

She said it was ‘crazy’ how quickly the fire took hold and she was grateful for the financial lifeline from the local community given the substantial damage.

“It will really help as there is just so much to be done. We need to get it cleaned up and then the plasterers and we might have to replace the doors.”

Donna said Vanessa has a ‘pure heart of gold’ and puts her whole life into caring for her rescue animals.

“She goes without all the time to make sure her animals get food, warmth and love,” she said.

“She is truly heartbroken and all she wants is the place cleaned up and made safe so she can get her animals back home. She is just a lovely woman who puts everything into her animals.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation to help restore Foxy’s Inn Animal Rescue please log on to: