Belfast Telegraph

Rescue kennels' big plans for a canine Alton Towers

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

A fun park for dogs is to be built at an animal sanctuary that was on the brink of closure three months ago.

Benvardin Animal Rescue Kennels (Bark) was saved following a massive fundraising campaign.

Now the charity is set to build the area's first dog recreation centre complete with swimming pool and obstacle course.

The new facility will also include dog socialisation areas with agility courses for smaller breeds and puppies, plus fly-ball and running areas for larger dogs.

On top of that, there will be a separate space for unneutered or unsociable animals as well as nature trails, picnic and children's play areas and eventually a cafe.

A pet memorial garden has been included in the design.

Spokeswoman Kelly Davidson said: "We believe that there is a growing public need for safe, purpose-built outdoor spaces for dogs to be walked, exercised and socialised, especially in the light of local councils implementing restrictions on dog walkers."

It is hoped the 11-acre development will provide a long-term source of income that will help Bark continue its rehoming and rehabilitation work.

The charity, which is run by volunteers and relies entirely on public donations, rehomes around 800 unwanted pets a year.

It had been under threat after the land it is on, owned by the USPCA, was put up for sale in January. But following a fundraising drive, more than £45,000 was generated and contracts securing the site were signed this week.

Ms Davidson said the plight of the charity had not only captured the hearts of the public in north Antrim, but also further afield.

An open day event is being held this Saturday to celebrate Bark's fifth birthday.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph