A BUSINESSWOMAN has vowed to give two disabled hedgehogs their “forever” home after opening a safe haven at the back of her showroom.

Sara Livesley of Yorkshire Fireplaces in Northallerton recently opened a hedgehog retirement home for two disabled hedgehogs at the back of her premises on the High Street.

Ms Livesley, who is also assisting the Ripon-based Hedgehog Appreciation Prickly Pals Yorkshire (Happy) – which looks after the creatures – said she recently welcomed the two spiky residents.

She said: “We’re passionate about conserving one of Britain’s favourite animals – their decline is truly shocking and we just want to help.”

Named Peter, who is blind, and Titch, who has a club foot, the pair of hedgehogs will never be fit enough to be released back into the wild.

But with day-to-day care, and an approved diet of wet cat and dog food, the pair are expected to live considerably longer than if they had been left in the wild.

The Northern Echo:

Ms Livesley added: “Having a unique 50-metre fully enclosed walled garden at the rear of our showroom, we thought what better way to put it to good use and have been able to offer two disabled hedgehogs Peter and Titch a forever retirement home.

“Unfortunately due to Peter being blind, and Titch having a club foot and being unable to forage for food, they would not be able to survive being released back into the wild so – we offer them a safe haven and food supplementing.”

Ms Livesley said that the driving force behind the decline of hedgehogs in the wild were the use of high walls and fencing, which prevented their safe passageway during the night.

She said those responsible for fences and walls should cut small holes to allow hedgehogs to continue their route.

She also said that the use of pesticides caused serious harm and death.

She said: “What we don’t want is people to think we’re keeping fully-fit hedgehogs. We actually know that they are in a massive decline and now it is getting to the point of extinction. Jaqui and Pete from Happy take in any hedgehogs from the general pubic where they are naturally released into the wild. If someone tried to drop off a hedgehog we would drop it off to Jaqui and Pete.”

Whilst Ms Livesley said she welcomed the drop-off of injured hedgehogs, she said that the hedgehogs would then be moved onto Happy’s Ripon-base.

Ms Livesley added: “Peter and Titch were both found by members of the public and would never have survived if they hadn’t been rescued by the Hedgehog Appreciation Prickly Pals Yorkshire. It’s great to see them recovering so well and they are getting lots of love and care at the back of our shop.”