The Story of
West Place Animal Sanctuary is a 501©(3) non-profit founded by Executive Director, Wendy Taylor, in 2007 to provide housing, food and medical care for injured and orphaned wild waterfowl and wild game birds as well as farm animals and elderly horses that are victims of cruelty and neglect, furnishing both short-term and long-term care.
In the decade since its incorporation, West Place has helped hundreds of wildlife and dozens of farm animals each year to get a second chance at life.
Located on an 8-acre historic farm property (the Dr. Samuel West Place) and surrounded by 700 acres of preserve old-growth woodlands (Weetamoo Woods) and pastures (Pardon Gray Preserve), West Place is ideally situated in the rural and agrarian community of South Tiverton, Rhode Island.
West Place animals participate in educational programs and community service activities, events and projects. These civic engagement opportunities help us educate the public about animal care, and about injured, disabled or abused animals and their abilities to recover, adapt and thrive either in the wild or in the care of animal welfare organizations like ours.
What is now a mature organization run with the assistance of over a dozen volunteers and a board of directors, had a very humble start...
In 2003, the future founder of West Place suffered a devastating loss in which nine of her beloved pets, a Doberman named Dobie, a Black Lab named Jake, her cats Alec, Mulder, Tweak, Maizey, Bailey and Stewart, perished in a house fire.
Equally heartbreaking was the loss of her beloved goat, Mo, that day as well. Many months prior, Mo lost the ability to walk. Several vets diagnosed him, all with different beliefs. The majority felt he had CAE, a debilitating goat disease for which there is no cure, and she was told to euthanize him. She refused to believe they were right, and ultimately after many months, got him correctly diagnosed by Tufts Animal Hospital. He had a septic abscess on his spine at C1-C2. Surgery was costly and risky but, thanks to the skill and care taken, was wonderfully successful. Mo’s recuperation was a six week stay at Tufts, undergoing physical therapy to strengthen his atrophied muscles so that he could learn to walk again. When Wendy could no longer afford the cost, she brought him home... two weeks before the fire. She continued his physical therapy and care, turning an area in her kitchen into his ‘sickbay.’ Two days before the fire, Mo’s companion, Zelle, was brought in to see him for the first time in months. Their reunion was priceless, and the next day, Mo walked for the very first time in almost a year. His steps were slow and calculated but with the promise of his favorite crackers he made it clear across the room. He was truly on the road to recovery and the doctors at Tufts were both shocked and thrilled. Their expectation was to publish Mo’s successful surgery and outcome in a veterinary journal, but sadly, that hope came to an end just one day later as Mo perished in the devastating fire that destroyed so much.
Wendy needed to find a way to right this horrible wrong and to help other animals by giving back. A friend suggested that she start a foundation to support animal organizations. A wonderful idea, but she needed to be more involved; more ‘hands-on.’ After rebuilding her home, she desired to create a safe-haven for animals and she trained to become a wildlife rehabilitator, and by sub-permitting through the RI Department of Environmental Management, she turned her property into the spacious and thriving sanctuary it is today.
Hopes for the future
Our mission is expanding since we are now an Official Resource Partner for the ASPCA. The exotic birds we recently took in from them enhanced our mission statement and we are now on-call for farm animal cruelty cases in New England that are responded to by the ASPCA. We look forward to continuing to offer our assistance and expertise in their efforts.
Most importantly, with the irreplaceable commitment of our volunteers and the generous help from our donors, we will continue to serve animals in need for a long time. We always have improvements and new projects in the works, and we are always coming up with fresh ideas to help the animals for which we are responsible. We would love your involvement to ensure that we pass on our compassion for generations to come.