Heathlands Animal Sanctuary

COVID-19: We are now open for rehoming again, with a few changes to the normal process under the current COVID-19 guidelines. This includes video home checks & meeting dogs outdoors, maintaining social distancing.
Having a pet is not a right;
it's a privilege.


An animal sanctuary with a difference

Heathlands Animal Sanctuary is a registered charity based in Royston, Hertfordshire and is run solely by volunteers dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of unwanted domestic pets. We take in dogs, cats, rabbits and some types of caged birds. We do not rescue wildlife. Every year we find secure, loving new homes for 300–400 animals, most of whom would otherwise have been destroyed in council pounds when their 7 days are up. We have a policy of non-destruction, which means we will never destroy a healthy, well-balanced animal. We do not have premises—most of our animals are cared for by foster carers in their own homes. Some of our dogs are boarded at commercial kennels until we have a foster space. By placing our animals in foster homes we get a much better idea of their temperaments, and in particular we can find out if our dogs get along with children, cats and other dogs, as well as introducing some basic training—something many have never had.

We rehome most of our animals in the Herts/Cambs/Beds area although we consider adoptions nationwide.

We require a donation for each animal we rehome to recover some of our costs.

Lifelong Protection

All animals admitted to our care are neutered and vaccinated and all dogs are microchipped before they are rehomed. Animals are rehomed under an adoption agreement that enables us to retain ownership. This protects the animals from being passed on or sold and if the new home subsequently fails, the animal is returned to us, giving them lifelong protection.

We try very hard to match the right dog to the right home though, unfortunately, sometimes it just does not work out—but we will never give up until the right home is found.

Where do the animals come from?

The majority of our dogs come from the Republic of Ireland. Trustee and Co-Founder Karen Barry has Irish in-laws and, following a visit to Ireland, was made aware of the huge problem of unwanted dogs—the highest per capita in Europe! Although the dogs destroyed in Irish pounds has dropped from over 18,000, when we started to help in 2007, to around 4,000 to date (2014 statistics), there is still a huge problem not just in pounds but dogs dumped at vets and rescue centres.

We also take local dogs in need of rehoming and assist several local dog pounds too. Certainly there is no shortage of dogs needing a lifeline.