GOATS Satan and Beelzebub and two donkeys joined a menagerie of excited dogs and shy cats in a Westbourne church for a carol service held specially for them.

In a scene reminiscent of the Vicar of Dibley, St Ambrose Church in West Cliff Road was filled with animals for their annual Christmas Carol Concert.

In pictures: see all the photos from the Animal Christmas Carol Concert 

While people sang, the animals, many in their festive finery of tinsel, joined in with yaps, barks, howls and the odd decoration on the church floor. Among the more exotic beasts was a barn owl and a tortoise.

Dorset Beaches:

"If you think of all the carols there is a reference to animals in there," said the Rev Chris Colledge, who opened up his church for the second year to pets. "This is the service for animals at Christmas. They are invited guests."

As well as blessing those animals with their owners, candles were lit for those who have been lost.

"They have never been to church before but not a lot fazes them," said Kevin Crocker of the white Nuremberg goats from Ryehill Farm Shop at Bere Regis. "They are used to having dogs around."

Dorset Beaches:

Donkeys Pedro and Nelson, dressed in their plush red coats and Santa hats, from Mike's Donkeys at Newbury, accompanied the goats in a procession down the aisle leading Bournemouth Mayor, Cllr John Adams and Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns.

"They do birthday parties, weddings, one funeral, TV and film work," said Rob Harris of the donkeys. "There's not a lot they don't do."

Ruby the five-month-old barn owl stood proudly on the gloved hand of her handler, Deborah Underhill, as her husband Martyn, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner read The Christmas Owl, accompanied by Poppy the Shih Tzu. Tortoise Storm was also present and the couple have another Shih Tze called Kipling and a cat, Tigger.

"She was very brave," said Mrs Underhill of Ruby, who she has had since she was four-weeks old. "Poppy adores her and follows her around the house. But she's terrified of the tortoise. She thought it was a rock, and then it moved."