The founder of a Sidlesham animal centre which is struggling to survive has been left sickened after heartless computer hackers sabotaged the centre’s website.
Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital was celebrating its 40th anniversary when the hacker struck, replacing the usual website with a message saying the site ‘had been taken away by the little animals’.
The website helps to treat about 3,000 wildlife patients every year and is crucial to the centre’s operations, providing a vital link for people who find sick and injured wildlife in need of help.
Dennis Fenter, who started Brent Lodge 40 years ago, said: “I am sickened by this attack on our website.
“Because of the message they left, the hackers obviously knew we are a wildlife charity.”
The website is also a vital source of volunteers and funds for the charity.
“In the current financial climate, Brent Lodge is struggling to survive,” Mr Fenter added.
“Ad-hoc donations via our website are a vital source of funds, and whoever attacked the site not only potentially caused suffering to animals, but has also lost us donations, which we can ill afford.”
The web attack happened in the early hours of June 20.
It was so severe it took Brent Lodge’s volunteer webmaster Chris Kingston, with the assistance of two other website experts, nearly two days to get the site up and running again.
Staff at the hospital also expressed concerns about the potential damage done by the temporary loss of the site.
Hospital worker Emma Pink said: “When people find a bird or animal in distress, they often look on the internet to find their local rescue centre.
“The delay caused by our website not being there, with our contact and location details and emergency advice, means there is a real possibility animals may have suffered or died as a result of this attack.”
Further information about the centre can be found on its now partially-restored website at www.brentlodge.org