Sanctuary farm cares for animals during pandemic, wildfires

Sanctuary farm cares for animals during pandemic, wildfires

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A farm sanctuary south of Salem is helping all kinds of animals put in danger by the coronavirus pandemic, wildfire threats and a recent heat wave.

The Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary in Scio has rescued about 400 abused or neglected farm animals, including goats, pigs and chickens. Some dealt with the unusually hot and dry summer, while others need rehoming for other purposes.

According to the owners, it’s the largest farm animal rescue in Oregon with 54 acres for animals to enjoy.

“All of our animals come from pretty serious situations,” said the sanctuary’s volunteer executive director, Gwen Jakubisin. “We rescue animals from hoarding situations like factory farms where they’re being neglected or they’re being abused. We do work with the local sheriff’s department to work with cases.”

Jakubisin and her partner, Peter Jakubisin, wake up at 6 a.m. every morning to feed all of the animals, give medication and later coordinate volunteers.

Due to COVID-19, the couple had to limit the number of volunteers to help out at the farm. Jakubisin says it was difficult to handle the whole load on their own.

“We want to build a robust animal care staff because we are all volunteer here. This is a community organization. The property and everything belongs to the animals,” she said. “It’s important that we have community support and people out here who believe in our mission and want to help us.”

With multiple wildfires around Oregon, the sanctuary is also prepared to handle the possibility of an evacuation. Jakubisin remembers the dark and ominous clouds that filled the sky last September when a wildfire burned near Detroit in the Santiam Canyon, and she hopes donations can help them ahead of time.

“Super stressed out,” she said. “We’ve done a fundraising campaign to raise money to get some items that we didn’t have previously, so like big water tanks — a generator in case our power goes out.”

Those donations are what she hopes can also help out the animals during substantial heat waves. With 116-degree days in the area last month, the farm hopes to install a water misting system along with more shelter and fans.

Despite the hot temperatures, Jakubisin said that the animals did well during the heat wave and plans to keep them as cool as possible.

“Training ourselves on animals having heat strokes as well,” added Jakubisin.

As for volunteers, the couple is working on getting a program back up and are taking donations for new equipment and food to feed the animals.

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