Tours at Animal Friends Sanctuary benefit shelter, promote compassion


Two-year-old Blake Burkley dissolved right into a match of giggles when it got here time to feed the cows.

Perched on her mom’s hip, the lady laughed as cows named Mary and Jesus searched with their tongues for a tasty deal with. For Alexa Burkley of Irwin, a tour at Animal Friends Sanctuary in Unity was an ideal technique to introduce Blake and Briggs, 11 months, to creatures they don’t usually see.

“We’re just really trying to teach compassion with animals,” she stated.

Plus, it was an excellent alternative to assist Youngwood-based nonprofit Animal Friends of Westmoreland that operates a shelter and adoption middle for canines, cats and rabbits, along with the farmland sanctuary, stated father Brad Burkley.

Saturday’s excursions had been the primary occasion at the sanctuary property for the reason that coronavirus pandemic began, stated government director Kelli Brisbane. The group acquired the land in 2017 to supply a house for abused and uncared for livestock equivalent to sheep, goats, and pigs. It was essential to start introducing the animals to individuals apart from those that frequently present them with care, she stated.

About 50 individuals signed up for excursions. Liam Saltarelli, 6, of Greensburg, had a blast feeding sheep and making an attempt to get treats to a trio of goats and a mini mule. He was a bit extra hesitant of feeding the cows.

“I’m so excited we got to come out here,” stated grandmother Jodi Morley of Jeannette. “He just loves animals.”

Brisbane stated the group is planning to develop the sanctuary on the property’s 62 acres by permitting every species its personal area and extra freedom to come back and go. The livestock will spend their total lives at the sanctuary.

The pandemic has been troublesome for a lot of shelters as preliminary restrictions reduce off in-person fundraising occasions. Brisbane stated veterinarians are additionally in excessive demand, making it generally troublesome to get adoptable animals into new properties and open up area for others. Plus, evidently the variety of individuals calling to give up animals or report neglect has elevated, she stated.

A second set of sanctuary excursions are scheduled for Dec. 15 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Reservations are required upfront. A ticket is a $10 donation.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review employees author. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, or by way of Twitter .