Ponies may have to die because of red tape

Carol Buchorski at Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary
Carol Buchorski at Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary

A fun day is being held at an animal sanctuary on Sunday as its owner does all she can to raise the £10,000 needed to save her ponies.

Carol Buchorski uses the Darr’s Lane base in Northchurch to look after pets that have been abandoned or mistreated.

She helps poorly animals get back into good health and funds all of their supplies herself.

But in April last year, Dacorum Borough Council served an enforcement notice against Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary, ordering Carol to pull down her stables.

The authority said they were out of keeping with their Chilterns Green Belt surroundings and installed without planning permission.

Carol has until June next year to raise at least £10,000 to replace the 18 stables – each housing its own horse or pony – with something more appropriate.

Otherwise, the animals in any of the stables she cannot afford to replace will have to be put down.

She said: “All the major rescue centres are full to bursting and they are having to put horses down, because there’s nowhere to put them. Thousands of horses are being dumped or destroyed, because no one wants them. The ones that are with us are quite lucky, because otherwise they would be in a slaughterhouse.”

A Two Oaks fun day raised £3,500 for the sanctuary last year. But £2,000 of this paid for a vet to help a horse whose leg was hurt by a fence. This year’s open day will be from 11.30am to 3pm on Sunday.

There will be a bouncy castle, barbecue, stalls, horse and pony rides, dog shows with contest categories including the ‘cutest pup’ and ‘waggiest tail’, and more.

Carol said: “We have got a few more fundraisers going on through the year and some companies interested in helping us out. But really we need lots of people here on Sunday.”

Two Oaks is also home to pigs, ducks, chickens, rabbits, and a goat.

Dacorum Borough Council says it attempted to work with Carol to resolve the situation without taking formal action – but this was unsuccessful.

Its enforcement notice against Two Oaks came into effect on June 7 last year and was not challenged at appeal.

Council spokesman Madeleine Taggart-Smith said: “The owner was given a two-year period for compliance with the requirements of the notice.”

This was to give Carol time to liaise with council planners about what would be an acceptable proposal for replacement stables or to arrange to move elsewhere, Madeleine added.

You can visit the Two Oaks website here and its Facebook page here