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Alberta farm animal rescue sanctuary struggles to keep up with overwhelming demand

WATCH ABOVE: A farm animal rescue south of Edmonton is struggling to keep up with demand. With too many animals, too little space and not enough cash to keep the operation fully functional, they’re asking for help from the public. Eric Szeto reports. 

EDMONTON — Less than two years after opening its doors south of Edmonton, a farm animal rescue sanctuary is struggling to stay afloat and keep up with the number of animals arriving on its doorstep.

“People wanting to surrender dogs, cats, pigs, chickens; you name it, we have got a call for it,” said Melissa Foley, owner of the Farm Animal Rescue & Rehoming Movement (FARRM). “We are well known for taking animals that aren’t accepted by the humane society and by other rescues that are typically focused on dogs and cats.”

Foley bought the acreage in Wetaskiwin County with the intent of taking in a few farm animals, but didn’t realize how quickly she’d have her hands and house full.

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“This is the highest I’ve ever been,” said Foley of the nearly 60 animals she now houses. “I have six pigs in my house, five dogs in my house. And every other shelter that I have on my property that wasn’t meant to be a shelter has now been turned into a shelter for some animal in some way, shape or form.”

FARRM is the only animal rescue sanctuary of its kind in northern Alberta. It costs thousands of dollars every month to keep up with food and medical costs, and for an organization that runs entirely on public donations, the task is proving difficult.

“We need help … The upkeep is astronomical. Just last week our vet bills totalled just shy of $1,300,” said Foley.

“We are literally every day in survival mode as far as funds go.”

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Foley has been forced to find other homes for several animals because she simply has no more space. She can’t help but feel as though a lot of it boils down to irresponsible pet ownership.

“It’s not so much a matter of taking care of them, it’s a matter of people buy whatever they want whenever they want with absolutely no research being done,” she explained. “It’s very irresponsible.

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“We actually had a gentleman call us wanting to surrender a tiger because he could no longer afford the feed for a tiger,” Foley said. She ended up helping the man connect with a tiger sanctuary in California, where the animal was eventually placed.

But for the animal lover, she won’t say no; turning away an animal is not an option.

“We all believe that every single one of these animals that comes to our doors, whether it be a chicken or a pot-bellied pig or a dog, every single animal deserves to have a home that’s going to love them.”

Fundraisers have been planned to help keep FARRM open. There are also animal sponsorship opportunities available. For more information on either of these funding options, visits FARRM’s website or Facebook page.

FARRM in Wetaskiwin County is struggling to keep up with all the animals winding up on its doorstep.
FARRM in Wetaskiwin County is struggling to keep up with all the animals winding up on its doorstep. Eric Szeto, Global News
FARRM in Wetaskiwin County is struggling to keep up with all the animals winding up on its doorstep.
FARRM in Wetaskiwin County is struggling to keep up with all the animals winding up on its doorstep. Eric Szeto, Global News
FARRM in Wetaskiwin County is struggling to keep up with all the animals winding up on its doorstep.
FARRM in Wetaskiwin County is struggling to keep up with all the animals winding up on its doorstep. Eric Szeto, Global News
FARRM in Wetaskiwin County is struggling to keep up with all the animals winding up on its doorstep.
FARRM in Wetaskiwin County is struggling to keep up with all the animals winding up on its doorstep. Eric Szeto, Global News

With files from Eric Szeto, Global News.

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