An animal centre in Rowde closed due to the equine disease strangles is holding an open day on Saturday to help pay vet’s bills.

Last December Pet ‘N’ Pat Animal Centre had nine ponies which had the disease.

Two of them died, one from meningitis and one suffered a heart attack. The remaining seven ponies are being kept away from the other animals.

Manager Barbara Mills said: “They haven’t had any signs of strangles since January. They are kept on their own. We need to find £2,500 to test them.”

The animals are used for education and therapy, especially for people with health or behavioural issues.

The centre, at Malthouse Farm, Cock Road, is having a family fun day and dog show on Saturday from noon to 4pm.

Dog show entries, from 11.30am, cost £2 per class.

Entry is free but there will be donation buckets.