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Animal Place, a Sanctuary for Farmed Animals

http://www.thereporter.com/ci_13021390

Twenty years ago Kim Sturla bought a barren piece of property at the end of Laguna Creek Trail in rural Vacaville and began making it a sanctuary for abused and discarded farm animals.

Established in 1989, the 60-acre property became Animal Place and, since then, has become a safe haven to thousands of rescued animals that are eventually placed in loving homes. In addition, it has become an education center, hosting countless field trips.

Last November, the nonprofit, tax-exempt organization closed escrow on a 590-acre site in Grass Valley. Sturla, co-founder and executive

director of Animal Place, and her staff and volunteers have been working hard to get that property ready, a move that would involve transporting all of their 300 or so animals.

As it sits, four new barns are near completion at the Grass Valley location. The last big project that must be completed before moving is the building of nearly 2.5 miles of fencing.

But last Wednesday, a generous donation from an anonymous source altered Sturla's moving plans.

Now Animal Place will be able to keep the Vacaville property and operate it in conjunction with its new headquarters in Grass Valley.

"I'm just still in a state of pleasurable shock and gratefulness," said Sturla.

Instead of worrying about packing every chicken, pig, goat, rabbit, sheep and cow, Sturla said that a select few who have been longtime residents will probably get to stay. Not to mention, Sturla doesn't have to worry about trying to put the property on the market at a time when real estate values have plummeted.

The Vacaville property will now become the home of Rescue Ranch, a project of Animal Place. It will serve as a farm animal adoption center focusing mostly on poultry or nonproducing, "spent" hens, many rescued from commercial poultry operations.

The new program will allow Animal Place to provide the animals with two options: placement into a new home or permanent sanctuary in Grass Valley.

Although Animal Place will stay in Vacaville, some changes will be made.

Tours will no longer be available in Vacaville, as those, along with other on-site events, will be hosted at the sanctuary in Grass Valley. Volunteer opportunities and internships will remain, however.

You would need to look no further than the mix of rescued animals at Animal Place, commingling and sharing the land, to know it is the ideal location for a sanctuary. And if you still couldn't discern the difference, Sturla would tell you.

The site is also where she built her charming log cabin-style home, which houses not just her but also resident interns and handful of dogs and cats.

"There really isn't another place like us out there.

It's perfect," said Sturla.

Rescue Ranch will go into operation after the Grass Valley location is operational, sometime early next year. Until then, Animal Place will offer its final Saturday tours through September.

For tour dates and times, or for more information about Animal Place Sanctuary and Education Center, call 449-4814 or visit www.animalplace.org.


Animal Place, founded in 1989, is a sanctuary for farmed animals and an education center. It is located in the rolling hills of Vacaville, an hour from both Sacramento and San Francisco. Around 300 pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, potbellied pigs, rabbits and cattle live at the shelter. The class is at the sanctuary.

Animal Activist Training

Ever get into a discussion with someone about vegetarianism or factory farming practices and not sure how to reply to their questions?

Layers Do you read the "letters to the editor" section in your local paper and wonder how you can write an effective commentary on animal issues?

Do you think lobbying your legislators is just for the big wigs?

Are you wanting to help more animals but don't know how?

If you answered yes to just one of these questions than this is the workshop for you!

Join us for an interactive and informative training session integrating fascinating facts about farmed animals and tools on how you can help!

The workshop covers:

* Effective letter writing

* Legislation

* Tabling

* Leafleting

* Personal ways to help

* And more!

Of course, a tour of the sanctuary is included. Meeting the animals will inspire you on ways to help!

Ages: 12 and older

Fee: $10.00 per person

To sign up: http://www.animalplace.org/events.html#activist


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