Meet the Leeds hedgehog rescuer saving hundreds of animals from illness, injury and abandonment
A Leeds woman has issued a desperate plea to save her hedgehog rescue home after seeing funding slashed during the pandemic.
Penny Moore, 42, runs Prickly Edge Hedgehog Rescue in Methley with her husband Cal, saving hundreds of the spiny mammals from illness, injury and abandonment.
She nurses the hedgehogs back to full health, or arranges their care in a foster home, before releasing them back out into the wild.
Penny set up the home in 2019 and is currently looking after more than 70 hedgehogs. Her work is largely self-funded, with the help of donations and volunteers.
She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "Early in the spring and this time of year hedgehogs struggle to find a decent source of food as their natural sources are depleted.
"I'd like to say it's all natural causes, but a lot of it is related to human activity.
"We've had hedgehogs who have been injured by lawnmowers or garden trimmers, run over or kicked by kids."
One hedgehog, named Stephanie, was admitted to the home while suffering with a life-threatening condition called balloon syndrome which causes extreme swelling.
She was rescued after a woman saw a Facebook post reporting that two boys had tried to 'pop' her with a house brick and a compass.
Penny said: "She needed immediate treatment and the cause of Stephanie's balloon syndrome remains a mystery.
"She was given a course of antibiotics and endoparasites, as the stress of the ordeal and being brought into hospital weakened her immune system and allowed the parasites to start taking over.
"We are pleased to say that Stephanie has made a full recovery and will be released to the lady who brought her into us in the spring."
Penny says her work has not only saved hundreds of hedgehogs, but has also brought joy to families during lockdown.
She added: "Throughout the pandemic it's had a real impact on the public - in people's darkest times they've been able to see us rehabilitate a hedgehog they've found and send it back to the wild.
"Some of the volunteers have health issues or suffer with anxiety and depression and it becomes a bit of a therapy for them."
Penny is supported by young people completing their Duke of Edinburgh award and students studying animal care qualifications, but she is looking for adult volunteers who can carve out a regular date each week to help in the home.
She desperately needs extra cash to keep the home going and fears she will have to start turning away hedgehogs if she can't secure donations.
She added: "We have a small fundraising team and they are amazing, but a number of different factors - the time of the year, illnesses and the new variant - have impacted the support we get.
"We are now asking for people who would be prepared to foster a hedgehog, which we wouldn't normally do at this time of year, but we are so stretched financially that it’s the only way we can continue to support people who are finding the hedgehogs."
What to do if you find a sick or injured hedgehog:
- Place it in a deep-sided box, with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.
- Offer a towel for nesting and a shallow dish of water.
- Do not feed it at first and call an animal rescue organisation.
- If you don't hear back in 30 minutes, find your nearest emergency vet - they have a legal obligation to take a hedgehog.
- If you can't get urgent help, feed it a small amount of mashed-up cat or dog food, or biscuits, until you can find care.
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