Paul O'Grady smiling at Chelsea Flower Show

Animal sanctuary that rehomed Paul O’Grady’s owls ’struggling’ amid fears animals may have to be ‘put down’

The owner of the bird sanctuary is calling for public donations

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In Paul O’Grady news, a bird sanctuary that is home to two owls once own by the late star recently revealed it’s at risk of closing due to rising costs.

Owner Brian Maxted, 87, founded the rescue centre from his home in Folkestone, Kent, in 1989.

But the sanctuary – Folkestone Owl Rescue – is now facing closure as costs continue to rise. Brian and his partner Barbara Mills have previously raised funds by putting on displays in their local town.

But in 2020, the council told the pair they would need a license to continue doing so.

Paul O’Grady died in March 2023 (Credit: Cover Images)

Paul O’Grady news

Since then, they have paid for the birds’ livelihoods from their pensions – but worry they will not be able to keep affording to do so.

Amongst the 35 birds living at the sanctuary are a male and female barn owl previously owned by the late Paul O’Grady.

Paul died last March at the age of 67. Speaking to KentOnline, Brian explained: “Paul O’Grady bought a barn owl off of me and the two I have now are the family of the one I sold to him. No one else wanted to take the owls on but I said I would find room for them.”

Brian claims that the birds will have to be rehomed if costs continue to rise. And he fears they may even be put down if he can’t afford to keep looking after them.

He states that animals rescued from the wild would be set free, but those born in captivity would not have the hunting skills to be able to.

Brian said: “Having the owls put down would be the last resort – we really don’t want that to happen. We’ve even sold things from our home to make some money.”

Paul O'Grady
The sanctuary owner is calling on the public to make donations (Credit: Cover Images)

Donations needed to save bird sanctuary

Brian is now relying purely on public donations to keep the sanctuary open.

“People can come and see the owls free of charge but if they can afford to make a donation, that would be great,” he said. “The amount of people who come here and don’t donate is quite a lot. Even if they gave me £1, it’s £1 I didn’t have. I’ll go without something because the owls are more important to me.”

He said if “things get tighter,” it would be the “last resort to shut down”.

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