Bexhill animal shelter ‘still needs help’ despite opening

The roaming peacock at Barby Keel's Animal Sanctuary on Sunday. Photo by Rhianna Dawes
The roaming peacock at Barby Keel's Animal Sanctuary on Sunday. Photo by Rhianna Dawes

A Bexhill animal shelter opened for the first time this year on Sunday (April 17), but the founder claims it still needs help to bring the sanctuary up to scratch.

Barby Keel’s Animal Sanctuary welcomed the public to its new-look shelter which had to be modified following a health and safety inspection meaning visitors could not touch the animals.

The £15,000 work is still not complete with areas out-of-bounds with about half the necessary amount raised so far and Barby asked people to keep supporting her.

“I was really pleased with all of the people who supported us on Sunday,” she said.

“They all turned up as usual and it was lovely.

“Although some were a bit upset as we couldn’t let people mingle with the animals, they still supported us.

“But it was a really good day and we raised a lot of money.”

Barby said there was a great turnout on Sunday who were not put off by the lack of animal contact that made the sanctuary so special.

Health and safety officers visited in January and told her more fencing and greater ‘protection’ for visitors had to be in place for it to stay open.

More wire mesh had to be put around the fences and the shelter installed some Perspex for visitors to get a better look at the animals.

But ‘the hardest part’ is still to come according to Barby, who wants to concrete the top of the shelter and still needs to refurbish one of the toilets.

Nevertheless, Barby thanked everyone who came on Sunday and encouraged people to keep coming every Sunday from 2pm to 5pm.

“Most of the people who came were saying that the place looks beautiful, which it does, but that’s not my sanctuary as there are no animals running around,” she said.

“They miss interacting with the animals as people said, ‘it’s sad but the place is looking really good’.

“So I’m really pleased that they are still going to support us because I thought that if people couldn’t come and mix with the animals then they might not want to come, but they said they will still come.”

Barby also congratulated her shop’s manager Susan Baxter who she said has done an excellent job in turning it around.

To donate to the shelter and for more information, visit

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