There has been a lot of misinformation flying around in cyberspace, and we would like to set the record straight.
When we came up here on December 21st, we planned on staying for seven days. Four days into our stay, the freezing fog we had been experiencing, broke…revealing the magnitude of an incredibly disturbing scene. Animals were dying every day, there was no shelter and Mother Nature was unleashing her wrath on over 1000 sick and extremely malnourished creatures. After seeing the situation for what it was, we realized we couldn’t leave.
The initial request for AniMeals’ involvement was to help feed…nothing more. But we felt that for the animals’ sake, we had to do more. The first thing we did was to get the llamas rounded up out of the hills and into make shift shelter. It took us four days to bring them in. Ninety percent of the herd is gelded but the other ten percent were wreaking havok with the females. We realized every female on the sanctuary grounds was probably pregnant. The males were literally killing the females by riding them so hard.
We took immediate action and separated them.
In the last three weeks, we have mended fences and fixed broken machinery with grossly inadequate tools, hung tarps to break the biting winds, set up nurseries for new mothers and babies, bottle fed newborns every four hours through the night whose mothers were too starved to produce milk, rubbed life back into frozen little bodies found out on the snow covered ground, removed the dead from the fields every day for weeks on end, and cried alone at night behind closed doors. We coordinated hay transports, processed a mountain of paperwork, scheduled fuel deliveries, volunteers and animal transports.
Our work day begins at 6am and ends at 10:00pm. The emotional toll and physical toll has been hard on all of us. We have done things that we never could have imagined we would be doing. We came up here knowing nothing about livestock and got a crash course in what it’s like to rescue a sanctuary. In the animal welfare world, this is the biggest disaster since Hurricane Katrina. It is the largest rescue of an animal sanctuary in history. As emotionally and physically spent as we are, we would NEVER walk off this property without having an exit plan in place.
All of the horses, birds, goats and sheep have been transported off the property into foster care or sanctuaries. The camels, bison and emus will be re-homed this week. We have moved approximately 350 llamas off of this property to date, leaving approximately 250 left to go. The animals have always been first and foremost in our minds, but at some point, we have to go home. So we are putting programs in place to ensure that the remaining animals are still cared for until the last one leaves. A caretaker has been hired and will be continuing what we started. He will have a stockpile of hay and all of the information he will need, including where to buy the hay, who the transporters are, phone numbers of experienced people in the llama community who live nearby and are willing to help at a moment’s notice. There are a lot of people coming together behind the scenes right now who will also be ensuring the well-being of the herd.
We have willingly given up our holidays, our personal lives and our responsibilities back home to make sure that these animals lived. When many people would’ve thrown in the towel, we rolled up our sleeves. Our work is not over yet, and we still have a lot of llamas that need to be re-homed and there will need to be a lot of work to be done on the backside of their arrivals after transport. The good people who have opened up their arms and stepped up to the plate for these homeless animals will need your continued support.