RI Local Magazine features West Place in a full-color spread. Full content of the article is below.
Injured, orphaned and unwanted animals of all shapes, sizes and colors to receive a second chance at a happy, healthy life at West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton.
In a way, West Place is a second chance for its founder, as well.
Sadly, the heartwarming tale of West Place begins with heartbreak. In 2003, Wendy Taylor Humphrey’s home was destroyed in a devastating fire. More importantly to her, she lost two dogs, six cats and her beloved goat, Mo, in the blaze.
Though Taylor Humphrey will never forget those tragic losses, so much good has risen from the ashes of the horrible tragedy. She has found a way to right a wrong by giving back and helping other animals survive and thrive.
“This started as a hobby but it quickly became a full-time job,” Taylor Humphrey, who also works as a lawyer, said. “Rather than donating to a foundation that helps animals - that seemed too passive - I started this animal sanctuary.”
West Place provides housing, food and medical care for injured and orphaned wild birds, waterfowl, and unwanted farm animals. The sanctuary provides both short and long-term care, often for upwards of 50 animals at a time, releasing some back into the wild, finding suitable homes for others and keeping some for the duration of their lives.
“It’s almost like they know that it’s different here,” Taylor Humphrey said.
The life of Peepers, a wild turkey entered West Place’s care with a broken wing and deformed toes, is just one of many success stories for the sanctuary.
Though not as romantic, Bobbert, a male alpaca, might be the friendliest of all the West Place residents. A ham for crowds, cameras or simply passersby, Bobbert is one of the most popular animals among West Place’s staff and visitors.
Animals like the alpacas are not only a pleasant presence at the sanctuary, they are also an asset to the community. They are invaluable when used for educational purposes and they create a number of civic engagement and community service opportunities.
Taylor Humphrey also highlights animals with major injuries and handicaps to prove to the public - especially children, who are still developing an appreciation of nature - that all living creatures deserve a chance to continue living.
“It’s great - it’s amazing how many people want to volunteer and be around the animals,” Taylor Humphrey said. “We run an active volunteer program with a few different groups of people.”
Even if volunteering is not an option, the public can help by making a donation. Any tax-deductible donation to West Place helps immensely, allowing the sanctuary to continue to help injured, orphaned and unwanted animals relying so heavily on them on a daily basis.
West Place is on call around the clock. While many referrals are made by the Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association of Rhode Island, if the general public contacts West Place directly, they provide counseling and accept injured or unwanted animals 24/7. West Place also works with the R.I. DEM, the Audubon Society and many other local organizations dedicated to conservation.
One of Taylor Humphrey’s most courageous and outrageous rescues happened by chance. While driving to Providence, she spotted a Mute Swan which has landed in the middle of I-195. She quickly pulled over, spoke to the responding police officer and took action, grabbing the large bird and placing it in her vehicle [for release].
West Place Animal Sanctuary is located at 3198 Main Road in Tiverton. They also reserve private tours and the sanctuary is open to the public at certain times throughout the year. Contact them for more on touring the sanctuary. For more, visit www.westplace.org, like the sanctuary on Facebook or call directly.