The animals from the former Rescue and Sanctuary for Threatened Animals in Chemainus have successfully been transferred to Duncan’s A Home for Hooves Farm Sanctuary in Duncan.
“All the animals transferred to us over the month of October,” said Michelle Singleton, the president and chief executive officer of A Home for Hooves Farm Sanctuary Foundation. “We took in the pigs and the birds.”
The transfer of 100 animals, necessitated by the ill health of RASTA founder Lucie Cerny, happened sooner than anticipated. Another 19 animals – sheep, goats, donkeys, cattle and horses – that couldn’t be housed at A Home for Hooves have gone into short-term foster care since there wasn’t room for them.
“We already had 70,” noted Singleton. “We have added 100. We didn’t bring the big animals out. There was nowhere for them to go.”
A Home for Hooves is currently in the market for a new location of 50+ acres for its 171 animals and birds from its current 4.47 acres of leased land.
“We are now launching our capital campaign publicly in order to raise funds to purchase 50+ acres of land between Nanaimo and Sooke,” Singleton indicated. “We are also a registered charity and the first and only farm sanctuary in Canada to be accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.”
It was a tough day on Oct. 30 for Cerny.
“The last of the animals moved to their new homes today and there are officially no animals here in Chemainus,” noted Cerny in a Facebook post.
“The quiet left in the wake of their departure is eerie. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped to move them and to make their new homes at A Home For Hooves, and in temporary foster care, feel like home. The animals have all been so brave and have done an amazing job with this change.”
About $100,000 in assets has been transferred to A Home for Hooves.
Cerny was forced to sell her beloved home in Chemainus, the RASTA Sanctuary property that she personally owned, in order to do that. The house sold quickly to a young local family, realtor Debbie Simmonds pointed out.
“I’m deeply saddened that as stated previously due to some serious personal health issues I am unable to continue managing the RASTA Sanctuary in the capacity I have for the past two decades, but I am tremendously honoured to see the legacy live on through the several sanctuaries that RASTA has inspired along the way, one of which of course being A Home for Hooves,” Cerny confided.
“Obviously after 20 years of devoting my entire life to the seven-day-a-week sacrifice of non-stop rescue and care of animals, neither myself as the founder, nor the RASTA organization as an entity, were about to abandon all the animals in our care.”
RASTA as an organization will be taking some time to restructure and reorganize to determine what a sustainable future in animal rescue or advocacy might look like.
On Nov. 8, Cerny headed back to DeWinton, Alberta with her dog Benson to pay homage to where it all began, almost 21 years ago.
“This has been a deeply emotional journey for me, RASTA’s founder, as I’m sure it will continue to be for a very long time to come,” she concluded.