Reality VS. The Rumor Mill

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.

23 thoughts on “Reality VS. The Rumor Mill

  1. What you all have done and continue to do is incredible and “thank you” doesn’t even begin to convey the gratitude I feel. I wish you all continued strength and peace as you work to heal the broken hearts of so many animals. God Bless you Animeals, you are our heroes!

  2. Since I heard of this sad tragedy, you and all the animals have been in my thoughts and prayers. Every accounting I read brings tears to my eyes. As an owner and lover of llamas, horses,and lots of animals, I just want to thank everyone for all they are doing. God bless you for your kindness and strength. I know He will reward you with crowns of heaven as we are called by Him to care for His creatures. I pray that everyone would send a contribution for feed and transport as I have done. Thank you and bless you for all you are doing in this devastating situation. God Bless you, Linda

  3. From every single person I’ve heard from or read their written reports, Animeals has been highly praised. We of the llama community are so very, very grateful for all that the Animeals folks have done. WAY “above and beyond.” A dog and cat rescue group that took on the largest animal rescue and evacuation in our history. No small feat! These folks are our heroes, and I personally cannot say enough good things and grateful words.

  4. I’d like to point out, too, that Animeals kept food coming in for this 1000+ animal rescue. Long before they stepped up to help with evacuations, they were feeding. Though many animals died before and during this process, SO MANY MORE would have died had not Animeals been there for them. They saved a lot of lives, and have made it possible for us to start getting llamas out who can survive the rigors of transport.

  5. I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am that there are people like you in this world. The work you have done has been extraordinary. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My prayers are with you always.

  6. I want to say exactly the same as from Tina Cochran. Words do not seem enough for all you are doing and all the rescue people, the snow the cold, the money spent. THANK YOU ALL and also to all who donated and hopefully will continue to donate.

  7. The work you are doing is wonderful, we need more people willing to do the same type thing you all are doing. Am very thankful and for you and yours. Will always pray for you and the animals.

  8. I work on the other end trying to get animals into homes. I just got off the phone with a man who is hauling llamas for us. You all didn’t have a loading chute to get animals on the trailer. You ended up walking llamas down the road and loading them with a borrowed loading chute. You all have been adaptable, loving toward the animals and always nice to me. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have your back! Y’all are great and will get your star in heaven. Susan in Texas

  9. Thank you seems so inadequate for everything you have done these past weeks. I cannot begin to imagine the work and decisions you have had to make. You have the heartfelt gratitude of the animals you have rescued, and all of us whose lives you have touched. May God bless all of you and all the volunteers and those who have donated money and time to this effort.

  10. While I have done rescue for my dog breed, I have not ever seen anything of this magnitude. I only wish I had the space and the funds to take even one of these poor llamas.
    I am spreading the word and hope that helps.

  11. While I have done rescue in my dog breed for many years, there has never been a rescue of this magnitude and I can’t thank you enough. I only wish I had the money and the space to take even one llama, but I am doing all in my power to make more folks aware so that they too can help.
    Bless you for your love for all of the animals.

  12. AniMeals has become a symbol of the wonder of good people. May grace and goodness in your own lives bless you as you have blessed the animals at the Montana Sanctuary.

  13. The care and compassion your group has shown to these animals is overwhelming. I can’t even imagine the emotional toll this has taken on all of you. I hope you receive many blessings for all you have given up to tend to their needs. Thank you for all you have done!

  14. THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT WORDS I CAN THINK OF “THANK YOU” IS JUST NOT ENOUGH.
    YOU ARE ALL A BLESSING TO ANIMALS EVERYWHERE!

  15. All I can say is thank you which is so small but it is sent from the heart. May each of you be blessed in some unexpected way for all of the hard work and love you have given to this horrid situation.
    Many many many thank you’s and many big hugs and critter kisses.

  16. Thank you so much for caring for all these animals. I cannot even imagine the joys and sorrows you have all been through. Thank you doesn’t even begin to cover it.

  17. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done to help the animals at the sanctuary. I’m sure God will bless you for all your hard work and dedication to take care of these beautiful creatures that were put here on earth for us to enjoy!

  18. Glad to see this letter in the Missoulian today. The Animeals crew have taken on an incredible project to take proper care of these grossly negelected animals and to re-home so many. They are true animal lovers and advocates.

  19. I to read the article. Karyn, you’re a,” right to the point,” writer as well as your excellent work ethic, commendable! These animals are in good hands that you can be sure of. Compassionate staff, volunteers, and people who donate money, you can’t say enough about!

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