Letter to Editor: Have a HEART for our little animals

Lifestyle / Fri 16th Feb 2024 at 10:26am

Dear Editor,

LAST week very late one night, Hannah Bolton and I went muddy, ditch diving along High Wych Road to save a small deer who had been hit by a vehicle.

It was pitch black, freezing cold, muddy, and wet and the bank was steep and overgrown with hawthorns and brambles.  We dropped him off at a local animal sanctuary where many of the larger of Hannahs rescues are taken until they are ready for release. 

This was a new experience for me, but for Hannah it was a typical rescue event. She will go to the ends of the earth to rescue an animal. Mostly pigeons, doves, but sometimes foxes, owls, deer’s, seagulls, or lately buzzards. I’ve known her to go out in the middle of the night to trap a fox who has shown signs of being poisoned or to pick up a pigeon who has either fallen from the nest or been attacked by other birds or cats. 

Hannah has been rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife for many years and has built up a solid reputation with local vets and now has an agreement with E-vets for regular checkups on the animals. While a lot of the larger animals go to a local animal sanctuary, a lot of the smaller ones are being cared for by Hannah or by her volunteers. 

She recently started her own animal rescue organisation called HEART (Harlow Essex Animal Rescue Team) and I was invited to join her and as Harlow Green Party candidate, of course I jumped at the chance. 

With the recent building demolitions in Harlow town centre there is a serious concern for the welfare of the wildlife who will invariably inhabit these empty buildings and regard them as a place of safety to breed and raise their families. Pigeons nest all year round and when a building is demolished it is a legal requirement to ensure that all bats, birds and nests are safely removed from the property by a recognised wildlife organisation.

With more and more greenbelt land around Harlow being built on and land in Harlow being repurposed for housing, our local wildlife is being disrupted, moved on and rendered homeless by these plans and then they often come into housing estates to find food or shelter. 

More developments will mean more vehicles more animal injury and regrettably more deaths. Animals must travel further to hunt for food so they’re more at risk the more that woodland, trees, and bushy hedgerow areas are being exposed and desecrated.

Animals will need to search further for food, nests will be destroyed in high winds and turf wars between species trying to find somewhere safe to live and raise their young. Badgers, deer, and foxes are being hit by fast travelling vehicles. Birds lose their nests because developers are chopping trees down that still contain nests with laid eggs and squirrels lose their homes. Badger setts are being disturbed, foxes, rats and mice are poisoned and die in severe pain because people want to be rid of animals, they consider vermin. Their bodies are then often consumed by larger animals desperate for food and so the suffering and death continues.

All HEART volunteers are registered to attend regular wildlife training courses to ensure the correct treatment and legal handling of all animals is always adhered to and Hannah and I have recently joined the Harlow Badger Group to help protect and monitor the setts we have around Harlow. 

HEART currently has a current GoFund me campaign running to purchase everything needed to care for a vast array of animals. Items such as medical equipment, crates, head torches, gloves, heated pads, food, nets, wire cutters and vet bills etc

All donations received will be spent on animal rescue and Hannah is prepared to be as transparent as possible with all purchases made. 


Please feel free to join HEART on the Facebook page and to follow us on TikTok and Instagram to see all the animals she has been helping. 


Jennifer Steadman 

Harlow Green Party Bush Fair Candidate

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8 Comments for Letter to Editor: Have a HEART for our little animals:

2024-02-16 10:37:20

An absolutely great team of caring people and local wildlife rescue heroes who also work with Harlow Lost & Found Pets.

2024-02-16 13:30:41

These planners,developers and councillors do not give a second thought about the beautiful wildlife,horrible people.well done to the HEART TEAM,thank God for such kind and caring people.

paul f
2024-02-16 16:34:54

great work ,well done to you all

Kim Oconnor
2024-02-16 18:05:08

It's a sad world when money becomes more important than anything.. Well done very caring people.

Kim Oconnor
2024-02-16 18:24:54

The animals were here before the roads. The country side was there home. You built on there homes, then ask why all the animals are coming into our towns and city's.. you built a road where there home was, and forget to slow down, they were here before you were... They were here before anything.

Bruce Downey
2024-02-16 19:11:59

I was with you till you mentioned pesky pigeons.. wood pigeons are annoying early in the morning with their noisy coos.🤬 but the town pigeons are vermin.. check ‘em out in the town centre and bus station.. kill ‘em all humanely..💣

Jennifer steadman
2024-02-17 08:17:25

Thank you everyone for your kind & compassionate comments and thank you Your Harlow for printing the article. We would welcome anyone who thinks they might like to volunteer to help us to care for the wildlife. If you feel you can help with rehabbing or transport/collection please visit our Facebook page for further details. (our new website is under construction) www.heartrescue.co.uk Thank you again.

David Forman
2024-02-19 09:23:49

A very worthwhile cause deserving of mention in the pages of YourHarlow. Well done Jennifer Steadman for writing this letter.

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