By Deborah Allard / The Herald News (Fall River, Mass.)
Posted Aug 21, 2019 at 1:37 PM
TIVERTON — Potbelly pigs Jack and Diane, who were neglected and seized from a Scituate, Rhode Island, farm this spring, are living the good life at West Place Animal Sanctuary, where they have fresh fruits and vegetables, housing and an unlikely friendship with a Muscovy duck.
The duck, called Mama, has adopted the pigs for unknown reasons and won’t leave their side.
“She just decided she’s living with them,” said sanctuary founder Wendy Taylor. “We made her a little nest.”
Jack and Diane are getting used to the company of Mama and the many other farm animals sheltered at the sanctuary.
The pigs were rescued by the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals when it was revealed that they had no water, food or proper shelter in the 20-degree weather.
Taylor said the animals were fed only doughnuts and bagels about every three days. The pigs, though malnourished, were extremely overweight when Taylor agreed to take them in at the sanctuary.
“I don’t know their age or medical history, or even if they had names,” Taylor said.
When the animals arrived, their skin was peeling and bleeding, Taylor said. Their tusks were broken and their hooves were so overgrown, it was hard for them to walk.
West Place Animal Sanctuary is a farm where animals such as Jack and Diane, Johnny the aged horse, Barnaby the mistreated lamb and Sadie the goat, rescued from deplorable conditions at a Westport tenant farm in 2016, can all live out their days in peace.
“Sadie is on five different medications and still gets upper-respiratory infections,” Taylor said. “We took in the worst of the worst and kept them.”
In all, there are some 100 animals on the farm including goats, lambs, alpacas, horses, pigs, ducks, turkeys, peacocks, partridges, pheasants, quail and a pond full of fish that are also rescues.
“There are so many stories,” Taylor said.
Barnaby the lamb got very lucky this past winter after East Providence police removed him from a yard.
“They heard him crying,” Taylor said.
When police investigated, they found the baby lamb was alone with no mother, and had no food, water or shelter. When police asked about the lamb’s living conditions, Taylor said the owners told police it didn’t matter because he was going to be slaughtered.
“They were going to eat him for Easter,” Taylor said. “We said we would take him.”
Taylor said she bottle-fed baby Barnaby and covered him with pillows and blankets for warmth. When he was big enough, Taylor slowly introduced him to the other farm animals. “Now they’re all best friends,” Taylor said.
Taylor said she sometimes gets overwhelmed with phone calls from individuals and towns with farm animals that need help.
“There isn’t anybody that does what we do,” Taylor said.
Financing such an operation can be a burden. With little money for paid help, Taylor must rely on volunteers. She said her wish is to attract board members who can specialize in fundraising and grant writing.
“This is a great organization,” Taylor said. “Our financial burden grows every year.”
Taylor, a former attorney, started West Place Animal Sanctuary, an 8-acre rescue farm, in 2007, several years after a tragic fire in her home took the lives of her two dogs, six cats and a goat. After rebuilding her home, she wanted to do something to help other animals so she started her rescue operation.
West Place Animal Sanctuary, 3198 Main Road, will hold an open house Saturday, Aug. 24., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The entry donation is $12 for adults and $10 for children. It will include an educational tour, an animal meet and greet and a gift shop.
Those who cannot attend can still donate to the cause. Donations can be sent to West Place Animal Sanctuary, 3198 Main Road, Tiverton, Rhode Island, 02878, or westplace.org.
“If we don’t help them, no one else will,” Taylor said.