We Are Assisi Animal Sanctuary

Help for the helpless

Founded in 1997, Assisi Animal Sanctuary is Northern Ireland’s largest independent animal welfare charity, providing shelter for up to 200 companion animals including dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, rabbits and guinea pigs.  Last year Assisi rescued over 2,300 animals.

All animals are neutered, vaccinated, wormed and deflead and all our dogs and cats are micro-chipped prior to re-homing. Assisi operates a strict re-homing criteria to ensure our rescue animals find the best possible home.  Assisi is committed to providing an excellent quality of life for our animals no matter what their age or state of health.

The Sanctuary operates a ‘No Kill Policy’ which means that euthanasia is carried out only in exceptional circumstances, i.e., terminal illness causing suffering or severe behavioural problems which put at risk staff, volunteers or other residents.

Animal Welfare is at the core of everything we do at Assisi. We strive to reduce and ultimately stop the current destruction of companion animals in Northern Ireland.

Assisi believes that every animal has a right to the five freedoms:
1 – the need for a suitable environment
2 – the need for a suitable diet
3 – the need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
4 – the need to be housed with or apart from other animals and
5 – the need to be protected from pain, suffering and disease.

We believe that, for most animals, these freedoms are best delivered in suitable, loving homes. Some of the animals we care for have, or develop, chronic medical conditions. Where we can, we aim to place our animals in private foster homes, provide both emotional support for the foster family and practical veterinary care for the animal, in order that we sustain and optimise the quality of life for all.

If we cannot get a home for a particular animal, we aim to continue to provide sanctuary for his/her lifetime and to continue to deliver the five freedoms to the best of our ability.

In order to achieve these ideals:
• we aim to provide the very best in modern veterinary care to our animals;
• our staff and our vets assess every animal in our charge for any illness or behavioural issue which impacts on their welfare or the safety of our staff, volunteers or the public; and
• we recognise that some animals may have medical conditions or behavioural issues which may raise specific concerns regarding public safety e.g. zoonotic disease or aggressive tendencies. We aim, in all cases, to deal with these issues as fully as possible: we recognise however that some problems may be intractable.

We recognise that there are circumstances wherein euthanasia may be the only kind option left.

Assisi will only consider euthanasia in cases of incurable illness causing ongoing suffering or where behavioural issues may put people or other animals at risk.

Any decision to euthanise an animal under our care will require a careful consultation between at least one veterinary surgeon and two trustees*, guided by those who work with the animal on a daily basis. These cases will always be rare and will be the exception to our normal practice.

*In circumstances where the veterinary surgeon judges the animal distress to be severe, and where seeking trustee consent may cause undue delay, we recognise that he/she may be required to perform the euthanasia immediately in consultation with those working with the animal on a daily basis.

The Friends of Assisi Animal Sanctuary

Charity Reference Number: NIC104594.

With operating costs of £1,000,000 and no government aid, we are dependent on fundraising, donations and legacies. If you would like to support Assisi please donate today.


If you have any questions about our works and organisation feel free to contact with us and vist our regional office.

Phone : 028 9181 2622


1 Old Bangor Road


Newtownards, Co. Down

BT23 7PU