Maria's Animal Shelter

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A Second Chance For Animals

Maria's Animal Shelter started it's humble origins in 2001 with just one pony, but it is now a great 'rescue' success story.

This amazing animal shelter has been opening it's friendly doors (and hugging arms) to all manner of animals in need of help and care.

The shelter takes in unwanted, abused, neglected or abandoned farm animals and small domestic pets.

Animals that have made a home at Maria's Shelter include goats, sheep, pigs, geese, ducks, chickens, guinea pigs, rats, gerbils, degus, budgies, hamsters, and yes, you guessed it... rabbits!

The Animals Need You

Maria's Animal Shelter became a registered charity in June 2012 and relies totally on public donations to remain open.

Maria greeting visitors at a charity fund raising event

How You Can Help

4 Ways to Give - T.I.M.E.

'T'..... Time - Volunteer some of your time to help.

'I'..... Items - Give items of bric-a-brac & supplies

'M'..... Money - There are many ways to donate

'E'..... Events - Event sponsoring & supporting

For more details on how you can donate with any of these invaluable ways, jump to the bottom of this story...

Maria's Animal Shelter

"A welcoming little hidden gem,
in the beautiful Cornish countryside".

Just Rabbits noticed the work that Maria and all the volunteers at the shelter were doing, and wanted to share their wonderful efforts with you, in the hope of raising awareness, and funds, for them to continue with their extraordinary work.

The shelter is a registered charity and they rely on donations from animal lovers like you so they need all the help and support they get, no matter how small.

Its not always easy doing what they do...

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So Many Things To Do!

Maria's Animal Shelter is able to keep doing the marvellous work they do because of very kind public donations.

The support they receive from volunteers is also just as vital, and staff and helpers are always needed to give their time.

Helpers from all backgrounds enjoy giving their time and it's volunteers like these that dedicate precious hours to improving the animals lives.

Sapphire the BunnySapphire the bunny in one of the rabbit pens at Maria's Animal Shelter

All voluteers have very varied roles in keeping the shelter guests healthy and happy. ('guests', as in the animals, not the visitors, although all visitors are very welcome and cared for too :-) 

Every little thing each member of staff does, no matter how big or small, is a great help and much appreciated, especially by the hungry animals at dinner time.

And there's always something to do!

The many daily tasks a voluteer has to do, include:

  • Daily chores such as feeding, cleaning, health checks, medicating, etc.
  • Letting animals out in the morning & putting to bed at night.
  • Maintenance of buildings, enclosures & fences.
  • Collecting fresh food for the animals from shops, cafes, etc.
  • Fundraising activities; tin shakes, tombolas, fayres, table-top sales, etc.
  • Home checks to make sure animals go to the best possible home.
  • Taking animals into the shelter and seeing them go with new owners and filling in appropriate forms for each.
  • Fostering animals when space is available.
  • Setting up and maintenance of social media and website
  • Research funding, animal enrichment, feed prices, etc.
  • Administration and finances.
  • Training new volunteers

Oh, and of course there's all the cuddling, stroking and pampering that the animals (and the staff) need to have in order to keep going on a daily basis!

About Maria

Maria Mulkeen went to Duchy College, Camborne 13 years ago to pursue her passion for animals and their welfare.

After which came an opportunity to start her own animal shelter on a perfect little piece of land in Probus, Cornwall.

Maria is hoping to be able to rely more on donations to fund the shelter as she is finding it increasingly harder to self fund.

At the moment she works full time night shift as a support worker and makes her own preserves, soaps and greetings cards to sell in shops and at market.

Maria Mulkeen - Maria's Animal ShelterEvery spare moment Maria has goes into caring for the animals and fundraising to keep the shelter going.
Maria Mulkeen at her animal shelter in Probus, Cornwall.

This remarkable lady aims to keep all the animals at the shelter healthy and happy and provides a permanent home for any animal that has no suitable new home to go to, and helps raise awareness for all the animals needing forever homes.

About The Shelter

Charity Status

Marias Animal Shelter started off with one pony and now has a large array of all sorts of animals, including: sheep, goats, kune kune pigs, geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, gerbils, degus, budgies, hamsters to name a few.

After registering as a charity in June 2012, Maria has more ideas on improving this shelter with her trustees and hard working volunteers.


Their aim is to keep all re-homing projects going with successful outcomes and to help prevent cruelty to animals whereever they can by educating those people that don't know on the proper care of domestic pets.

The shelter offers advice and support where they can and helps to solve problems wherever possible so animals can stay with their owners.

Sometimes, when this ideal is not possible, the pet owner will be safe in the knowledge that their pet will be re-homed in a suitable environment or have a permanent, secure and loving home at the shelter.

They Want to Say 'Yes'

Running costs of £38,000 pa in 2013 represents a small amount of what the shelter overheads are now. Running costs in 2016 are much more and with every new animal they bring in, the costs rise.

The Shelter is managed and run extremely well and they only house animals they know they can afford to care for, this is why constant donations and fund raising are vital to the Shelter being able to say 'Yes, come in', rather than, 'No, sorry, no room at the Inn'.

Being a charity that relys on volunteers and donations to keep going is extremely tough and sometimes very stressful, but the shelter does a fantastic job and all the animals are really well looked after, and the staff even know all of the animals names - all 120+ of them!

Some Cuties That Need Help Now

Maria's Animal Shelter has many small animals that need 'forever homes' at any one time and residents needing homes change on a regular basis.

To get the latest update on animals needing homes, visit Maria's Animal Adoption page for more details...

These beauties are Bambi (female) and Apollo (neutered male).

How T.I.M.E. Can Help

How You Can Help

4 Ways to Give - T.I.M.E.

'T'..... Time - Volunteer some of your time to help.

'I'..... Items - Give items of bric-a-brac & supplies

'M'..... Money - There are many ways to donate

'E'..... Events - Event sponsoring & supporting

For more details on how you can donate with any of these invaluable ways, jump to the bottom of this story...

Many Hands Make Light Work

Volunteers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, companies and colours...

Take a look at some recent fund raising events and get inspired to join in!

'That's Asda Price'

Asda staff proved their help and support was 'price-less' recently, with their fund raising campaign and also offering their time to help out on site!

Asda staff involved in the Community Life Champions campaign joined in the fund raising activity and dedicated some of their spare time to helping out at the Shelter in Summer 2014.

The Asda Green Room blog reported... "that in the year of 2013, the shelter cost £38,000 to run." so the help the charity received from the staff from this major Superstore was terrific!

Asda VolunteersThe Community Life Champions of Asda, volunteers at Maria's Animal Shelter once a week. Here they are getting stuck in during 'Tickled Pink' week!

Building Fences with Cornwall Council

'Volunteer Cornwall' organised a team of volunteers from Cornwall Council to help at Maria's Shelter, and they had their work cut out for them...

Work involved erecting some well needed fencing to help contain some naughty goats and equally naughty, wandering pigs.

Volunteers spent the day at the Shelter helping Maria to erect three fences to secure the goats and help reduce the risk of them escaping onto the nearby road and also to create a new secure space for the two kune kune pigs.

Naughty goats Fudge and Toffee making friends with the volunteers from Cornwall Council

There was a lot of work to be completed in the day, the fences were being started from scratch and the holes for the fence posts had to be dug and then the posts cemented into position.

Maria was delighted with the day’s progress and stated that she would not have been able to have got this work completed without the support of this team of volunteers.

Volunteers from Cornwall Council showing off their almost complete fence in Toffee and Fudges section of the shelter

The fences have made a big improvement to the shelter and Martin Webb of 'Volunteer Cornwall' wrote:

“The group of volunteers really enjoyed the day and got great satisfaction from both completing the task and knowing that they had helped Maria to improve the conditions for the animals at the shelter.”

Working on the gate for the new pig field

Maria was extremely grateful and said,

“To be honest, I thought it was going to be too large a project for 8 people in one day, but it was amazing how everyone worked together to pull it off. The weather was beautiful as well so that helped us keep in good spirits. I would not have been able to get the work done without the support of this team and I can’t thank everyone enough for all their hard work they put into it.”

'The Act of Giving' Offers Priceless Rewards

Time, is the one thing we all have, and we can choose to spend our time in all manor of pursuits.

But those that choose to spend some of this valuable time giving back to their local community, and helping save lives, are rewarded in ways that are completely priceless.

You Can Count on the Council!

Cornwall council returned with more help in September 2014, where a group of 17 office workers from spent the day at the shelter.

They worked together to paint wooden doors, hutches and sheds, finish pointing the walls of the pig stable and strim and clear the electric perimeter fence.

The volunteers from Cornwall Council

Thanks to a fantastic donation by 'Cormac', the volunteers had a lovely tool box/trailer dropped off full of different tools to use.

Thanks to these wonderful volunteers Maria's Animal Shelter was much closer to being all prepared for the coming winter months and many jobs were completed that the regular helpers just don't get time in the day to do.

So you see...

with all this going on, the need for funding is very important!

There are lots of different ways you can help support Maria's Animal Shelter and help them continue in their amazing work in saving and helping animals in need of care. 

Remember T.I.M.E...

Which one is for you??

Donate Your Time

Regular Volunteers

Maria's Animal Shelter also has a small team of dedicated volunteers who are willing to give up their time to help the animals on a regular basis.

However, at the moment they are still in need of regular volunteers and would be very grateful to anyone who can spare a few hours a week looking after the animals or in any of the ways listed below...

Volunteer activities Include:

  • Helping with the animals - feeding them, cleaning them out, and of course, fussing them!
  • Office Administration
  • Website Updates & Blogging
  • Event Fundraising
  • Site Maintenance

If you would like to voluteer a small amount of your time please contact Maria's Animal Shelter to find out more :-)

Donate Items

Supplies & Sundries

There are always lots of things the shelter can use and some things they can't, so before sending your donation, have a quick check of the 'most wanted' list below.

  • Toys - Dog, cat & small animal toys (tough, durable & easily cleanable) 
  • Treats - All animal treats are always needed!
  • Scratching posts & Carpet squares
  • Igloo beds 
  • Baskets & Carriers for transporting cats
  • Indoor dog pens/crates
  • Animal coats - especially waterproof ones
  • Leads, harnesses and 'gentle leaders'  
  • Stereos and CD players for kennels & pens
  • Towels
  • Training aids for dogs, cats and rabbits etc 
  • Long lengths of climbing rope  
  • Hard plastic kids' paddling pools for the summer  
  • Hard plastic kids' toys like wendy houses for animals to play and shelter in
  • Mobiles and wind chimes for pens
  • Books about farm animals, domestic pets, dogs, cats and other small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs to further staff's knowledge and ongoing in-house education.


Maria's Animal Shelter often goes all out to raise well needed funds, and you can help them here too.

Their table top events, car boot sales, local fayres and charity fund raising campaigns always need bric-a-brac and household items and such.

So, don't forget, if you are having a clear out, please think of Maria's Animal Charity, as any spare items would be most wonderfully appreciated.

Maria's Animal Shelter Jams & Jellys Stall. Raising well-needed funds for their hungry animals!

Donate Food

All the animal residents at Maria's Animal Shelter are fed a regular diet of premium food to keep them healthy.

Changing their diet or using different brands all the time can upset their stomachs, so please contact Maria's Animal Shelter by phone to check before you very kindly donate, and they will happily tell you which brands their hungry animals would like! 

Maria's Animal Shelter Food DonationsAll the animal residents are fed a regular diet of premium food to keep them healthy.

With the diversity and quantity of animals at the shelter, the food bill is the largest expense they have, so any donation of animal feed, no matter how small, is always very gratefully received.

The rabbits and guinea pigs only have small amounts of fresh fruit and veg, a day but with so many little mouths to feed, you can imagine a constant supply is always in demand.

Fresh or dried food are always welcome. Hay, straw and fresh meadow grass are also high on the menu order!

Donate Money

Caring for animals can be very costly especially when they are very sick or in need of special medications etc.

Donate Online

The daily running of the shelter is vital to the survival and well-being of all the beautiful animals at the shelter and any donations, no matter how small, are very gratefully received.

Do something amazing today and use the handy MyDonate button today.

Prefer Paypal?
Your donations go towards helping all aspects of looking after the animals from providing food, care and shelter to costly treatments, surgery and general nuetering and check ups.

In a rush?... Use the handy Paypal button to donate quickly.

Donate by Text

To donate by text, you can send a message as follows:

Text CUTE01 

followed by £2, £5 or £10

to 70070



Support an Event

Organising a Fund Raiser

There are lots of ways you can help raise money for the shelter from shaking tins in 'high traffic' areas around your town to fancy-dress charity runs.

If you would like to organise something fun, and wonderful to help raise well needed funds for Maria's Animal Shelter, please contact their fund raising team today, where they will be happy to give you all the material, and information you need to get started!

Attend an Event

Follow Maria's Animal Shelter on Facebook to stay informed about their latest upcoming events and charity fund raisers.

Your presence is always gratefully received!

Support Through Sponsorship

You can also offer your support through sponsorship, by way of caring for an individual animal or you can offer support by sponsoring the whole charity itself.

Please contact Maria's animal shelter for more details about sponsorship opportunities.

Thank you

It is only through your support and charitable donations that Maria's Animal Shelter can continue with the wonderful work they do!

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