After successful trials and help from the organisation Ability Dogs 4 Young People, the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary has announced that trained assistance dogs are now permitted into the grounds of the Sanctuary.

This is part of an overall campaign by the Sanctuary to become more accessible to a much wider audience and is a significant step in achieving their vision. This introduction will enable people who use assistance dogs when out and about to come in and connect with the animals whilst enjoying the Sanctuary’s peaceful surroundings. There are a few areas within the Sanctuary which will be excluded to protect certain animals, and these areas are clearly demarcated with signage, the main areas excluded are around the big cats, and where possible ‘line of site’ viewing has been allowed for, but otherwise all areas are accessible. Local business Signpost Express generously donated all the signage for this project which was the final step in enabling the Sanctuary to open its doors to assistance dogs.

Marc Fox, Animal Manager at the Sanctuary, said: “This is an exciting time for us, the Sanctuary has always aimed to be as inclusive as possible, and this is the next logical step in our drive to enable everyone access to enjoy our animals. Of course, the welfare of the animals on both sides is our main priority and we have done everything to ensure this is safeguarded. We are thrilled to be able to open up our Sanctuary to a wider audience.”

Carol Court, Ability Dogs 4 Young People’s CEO, said, “We are delighted to have worked with the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary to facilitate access for people with their assistance dogs.  We are looking forward to supporting our young recipients with their Ability Dogs when they visit the Sanctuary for the first time.  Then we would like to work with other animal collections on the Island and hopefully write a guide to help disabled visitors to go places with informed confidence.”

Please also remember that all dogs are allowed to visit the Wildheart Cafe!