September 2, 2021 12.03 pm This story is over 32 months old

Lincolnshire animal charity wound up and boss disqualified after damning report

The report highlighted serious mismanagement

The Alternative Animal Sanctuary near Boston has been wound up and the chair of trustees disqualified after serious mismanagement was highlighted in a report from The Charity Commission.

Tamara Lloyd shared her home with around 400 animals at the sanctuary on Langrick Road, New York, Boston. Last year she was disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years after being convicted of 16 offences, while one dog was found dead and another put to sleep during one of several raids at the sanctuary.

A report from The Charity Commission’s inquiry into the sanctuary, which was formerly a registered charity, was published on Thursday, September 2.

It concluded the charity should be wound up on the basis it was not feasible or viable to address the significant underlying issues at the charity.

The charity was removed from the register of charities on June 28, 2021. The regulator also disqualified the chair from acting as a trustee for the maximum period available of 15 years. One other trustee was disqualified for 10 years.

Footage was previously made public showing the chaotic home and outdoor pens overrun by animals, as well as a picture of dwindling finances and fears for the future. Before the raid Tamara spoke on a Channel 5 documentary called ‘The Woman With 106 Dogs’, which aired in June 2019.

She was previously raided by police and RSPCA. | Photo: Channel 5

Seventy cats, who did not have a suitable environment to live in, were found. Photo: RSPCA

The charity was initially set up to offer permanent care to abandoned and neglected animals across England and Wales. However, the inquiry, which was opened in March 2017, found serious failures in the charity’s governance and financial management.

The Commission appointed two interim managers to review the charity’s governance and operation. As a result of the inquiry, two trustees, including the chair, were disqualified. More than £400,000 was redistributed to 10 other charities with similar purposes in the area.

The inquiry found the chair ran the sanctuary on a day-to-day basis and had full autonomy over the charity’s bank account, with no oversight by the other trustees.

It also found that there was a complete lack of basic financial control and separation between the personal finances of the chair and those of the charity. This exposed the charity’s funds to undue risk and resulted in significant losses to the charity.

Tamara shared her bed with the dogs. Photo: Channel 5

The charity also failed to manage conflicts of interest appropriately and did not have a conflicts of interest policy in place. This is despite its trustee board including three members of the same family.

In addition, the trustees did not keep adequate financial records and repeatedly failed to comply with their legal accounting responsibilities.

The total income raised from the charity’s arrangement with a fundraising agency from 2008 to 2020 was over £10 million. However, just £1.8 million was directly received by the charity due to significantly high costs and fees of the arrangement. This represented less than 18% of the funds raised from the public being directed to the charity.

The trustees were said to be not clear with potential donors about how much of their donated funds would go towards the charity’s purposes. They failed to comply with their legal duties by not properly overseeing the arrangement, which the Commission finds to be mismanagement and/or misconduct in the administration of the charity.

Animals were kept in disgusting conditions. Photo: RSPCA

Amy Spiller, head of investigations at The Charity Commission, said: “This case is a reminder that good governance is more than a bureaucratic detail. The trustees’ conduct and the chair’s clear abuse of their position at the Alternative Animal Sanctuary goes against everything we associate with charity.

“It is right that those responsible for wrongdoing have been disqualified from serving as trustees. The public donate generously to charities because they want to make a difference to the causes they care about.

“This means that when they donate their hard-earned cash, they want to see a high proportion of it spent on the end cause. I’m glad that the charity’s remaining funds have been transferred to active charities supporting the cause they were intended for.”