Raccoons found at filthy illegal puppy farm given new home at Sedgley rescue centre

Two raccoons who were found in cramped and overheated conditions at an illegal Staffordshire puppy farm have made themselves a new home at a animal rescue centre in the Black Country.

Taking a look at the new enclosure is Fiona the raccoon with animal keeper Lydia Parker
Taking a look at the new enclosure is Fiona the raccoon with animal keeper Lydia Parker

The cute pair, who have been named Fiona and Sophie, are now living at Brockswood Animal Sanctuary, off Catholic Lane, in Sedgley, in a specially-made enclosure.

Following a period in quarantine, the duo moved into their new enclosure earlier this summer and staff say they are enjoying their new space and have been given "a new lease of life".

The female raccoons were found at an illegal puppy farm and were being kept in old sheds and disused vans on an isolated plot of land in Power Station Road, in Rugeley.

A photo from when the raccoons were found at Kevin Bramwell's illegal puppy farm

The pair were found in July 2018 by officers from Cannock Chase Council with 30 dogs in 30 degree temperatures with no water, food or ventilation, Stafford Crown Court heard.

The illegal puppy farm's owner, Kevin Bramwell, of Leathermill Lane, in Rugeley, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation, operating a pet shop without a licence, operating an unlicensed breeding establishment and eight charges of animal cruelty.

Judge Jonathon Salmon described the conditions the animals were kept in as "appalling".

The raccoons were being kept in filthy conditions

But staff at Brockswood Animal Sanctuary – which is based in Cotwall End Valley adjacent to Cotwall End Nature Reserve – have given Sophie and Fiona a second chance and created them a new enclosure – part-funded by cash donations and materials donated. The enclosure provides the pair with enrichment and is suitable for their needs.

Neil Swann, general manager and one of the founders of Brockswood, said: "The two female raccoons, Fiona and Sophie, came in to us from an illegal puppy farm. We took them in and had to put them in quarantine for a while, but we have recently put them out into their new enclosure.

"We were asked to take them – we are a rescue centre and we take in animals and give them permanent homes in the right conditions. We were approached by the council to give Fiona and Sophie a home. We had a large enclosure that was about to be renovated.

Fiona the raccoon with Lydia

"We have built an enclosure and home that is suitable for their needs – they can be happy there for the rest of their lives.

"We don't know how old they are – it is really difficult to tell with rescue animals. We have a feeling that one might be older and the mother of the younger one – so we think we have mom and daughter. But we don't really know."

Mr Swann added: "They are loving it. They have got a lot of space, enrichment and our staff can interact with them. They have a new lease of life.

"They are very inquisitive animals, very intelligent animals."

Fiona the raccoon

Brockswood Animal Sanctuary, which is open to visitors during the summer months, is also home to farm animals including goats, sheep, donkeys, ducks, chickens and pigs, as well as birds of prey, rabbits, guinea pigs, emus and a raccoon dog.

The centre cares for and rehabilitates sick, injured, abuses and in many cases abandoned and unwanted animals, giving them a safe home. The team is also endeavouring to restore and renovated the Cotwall End site.

For more information about Brockswood Animal Sanctuary, visit www.brockswood.org.

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