Abuse Knows No Boundaries

Written by: Cindy O’Brien, Farm Managercindyhorse

It seems like our work never stops. So many animals need our help.

Pets Alive is one of the oldest no kill animal sanctuaries in New York State. What this has meant for many animals is that not only do we refrain from euthanizing in order to make space at the sanctuary, we furthermore reach out to animals in and outside our immediate community who are in imminent danger of facing euthanasia. We work with other rescue groups to save as many animals as we can. We offer sanctuary to those that have no other option, and we advocate for those without a voice.

While the majority of our animals are dogs and cats, we play an important role in our community by rescuing farm animals too.  We work with Humane Law Enforcement, SPCAs, the New York State Police as well as the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. When these agencies receive a call about suspected animal cruelty, they often need help. The investigation process is difficult and must be handled with the surety that every legal regulation is in place in order to bring animals into safety, a process which also takes up precious time. When it is determined that animals ARE in danger, the next concern for these agencies is to place all the animals involved in a safe haven. None can be saved until they know that ALL will go to safety. This is where the local community and the rescue world come together, in order to assist each other with the animals involved; animals can be pulled by the authorities when they are offered sanctuary by someone else in the community.

Joey preparing for rescue

Recently, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department called us about a horse on an abandoned property. He was a 2-year-old colt, skinny and alone left in a weedy field to fend for himself. He appeared to have never been touched by a human hand, and had no companions with whom to socialize. He had never received medical care or farrier visits. We were told his mom had died earlier in the year, but to this day we still don’t know the cause of her demise. With his condition, it was clear that he couldn’t make it much longer either. It was heartbreaking to see a young horse so malnourished and parasite ridden, afflicted with fungus and suffering from untreated wounds. It was clear he belonged at Pets Alive.  I got to work right away, and spent day after day going to that farm, feeding him small amounts of feed, letting him get to know me. Many an hour was spent convincing him that I was not going hurt him ­ but that I was there to help. Before long, we managed to get that young colt on a trailer and to safety at Pets Alive. That is our Joey.

Now Joey is learning the love of humans – and learning to trust. He now has hay whenever he wants it and he calls out to me when I see him. Joey has shown his smart, willing nature, and continues to impress me with his training. He is making new friends every day­ – human, pigs, goats and horse friends!

Spirit at Pets Alive

But Joey is not the only one to whom we’ve extended our rescue efforts. Recently we received a call from the New York State Police regarding about 65 animals who were malnourished and living in horrendous, in-humane conditions, and again we stepped up to help in any way we could. It was almost unbelievable how so many rescues, sanctuaries and private citizens stepped up to help including: the Hudson Valley SPCA, the Port Jervis Humane Society, The Farm Sanctuary (from Watkins Glen, NY), The Ulster County SPCA, the Warwick Humane Society as well as individual animal lovers from all over.  We all came together to get these animals to safety, and by nightfall, we did it! This is when rescue becomes amazing, seeing the cooperation of private individuals and rescue organizations all working together, striving for the clear purpose of saving lives and placing the very needy into a safe, healthy and loving environment. Pets Alive took in 3 horses that day and we will care for them for the duration of the legal process. They will know their bellies are full, medical needs cared for, and of course, that they are loved.

Baanie at Pets Alive

Finally, sometimes people fall on hard times, and when this happens, their animals suffer as well. A few weeks ago some good Samaritans came to Pets Alive to ask for help.  They knew of a neighbor who had fallen ill and had been transferred to the hospital several months back. The neighbor’s dogs had been locked in the house, and other animals had been left loose on the property and were fending for themselves. That was when Baanie, our beautiful pygmy goat, came to Pets Alive. Baanie was shy and fearful when she first arrived, but now she plays with our piggies and she frolics in the pasture. It’s a heartwarming sight to see her napping in the sun after breakfast or jumping around with apparent gusto!

People often ask me how I endure seeing animal cruelty and cases of neglect without going mad. I see the horrors humans can and do inflict on animals, but then I see ALL the people in our community that get involved and who help in any way they can, and this drives me to help even more. That’s when you see the heart of so many reach out to those that need it most. I love what I do. There is nothing more rewarding than nursing gentle souls back to health, gaining their trust­ and their friendship. It becomes worth every long day, every sleepless night, when you hear their appreciative nickers, grunts, and coos, and see them blossom, learn, and grow. Though all the animals in my care are my “babies”, the best feeling is seeing them get adopted and have a family of their own.

Loving them is free, but as you can probably imagine, the feeding and medical bills, especially for animals who need extensive physical rehabilitation, can be hefty. We at Pets Alive are committed to their care, day after day – and we hope you will consider joining us in committing to them as well. A monthly sponsorship goes a long way towards their good health as this creates a constant revenue stream for animal care. We hope you consider being a monthly sponsor, but we would equally be thrilled to receive a one-time donations of any amount.  Every little bit helps.

You can make a difference – there are a variety of ways:

1. Click to learn more about monthly sponsorships!


2. Click here to make a one-time donation to help the farm animals:

3. In addition, check out our Amazon Wish List.

Every donation is tax deductible.  Joey, Baanie and the gang thank you for your time and commitment!

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