Inspiring Rescues of 2018: The Hoarding Case

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Barn Sanctuary receives at least one call every day from someone seeking rescue assistance for animals in need. Sometimes the cases are worse than we could ever imagine. We often find ourselves addressing critical medical concerns and rehabilitating animals who have grown untrusting of humans or other animals. It’s these rescued animals, who come from the darkest cases, whose recovery and growth inspire us the most.  

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The 2018 Hoarding Case Rescue

This is the first time we’re releasing these images and story to the public

In the spring of 2018, the Barn Sanctuary team was alerted to a hoarding situation in Lapeer County, Michigan. Dozens of chickens and ducks, turkeys, goats, horses, were living in squalor and suffering from extreme neglect. With the help of local law enforcement, our team was able to rescue all of the animals from the property.

What We Found

The bodies of dead animals were scattered about. Dead from malnourishment or attacks by wild predators. None of these animals were being adequately protected or fed.

hoarding case barn sanctuary

The two goats, later named Richard and Sandy, were being fed marshmallows, granola bars, and cat food—living and sleeping in their own filth. Sandy’s front hooves were so long she was forced to walk on her knees, and Richard’s arthritis was so severe that the two never ventured far from the dirty nests they had made for themselves.

The birds on the property received only cracked corn, cat food, and dirty water. The ducks and goose were left to forage for their own food, unprotected, living on the property’s pond.

The interior of the barn was coated in a thick layer of feces and filth, the cobwebs so weighed down with dirt and fecal dust that they were pulling themselves from the walls. One small family of chickens—a Bantam hen named Frankie and her two chicks, Mickie and Sammie—was closed in a muck-filled stall with no access to food or water at all. We found these babies just in time.

Evacuating & Treating The Animals

Unable to provide permanent sanctuary for the majority of the animals rescued, our team at Barn Sanctuary worked tirelessly to contact other sanctuaries across the country to secure safe placement for the ones we couldn’t take in. Of the nearly 100 animals rescued, fourteen now call Barn Sanctuary their forever home.

Ben and Jerry are the two turkeys who we rescued on our first trip out there. They came to us weighing 53 and 55 pounds, respectively. That’s nearly double a healthy weight range for their breed. Since arriving at the sanctuary they’ve each lost around 15 pounds and are in significantly better health.

The two terrified ducks, Greg and Lori, are slowly emerging from their shells and beginning to trust their new human caretakers. They have been able to put on about a pound each, reaching a healthy weight.

Five Bantam chickens now also call the sanctuary home, arriving underweight and malnourished, they have flourished with appropriate diets and clean, safe environments.

Of all the individuals rescued, a turkey named Harry was in the most critical condition. Harry had sustained three major injuries. Each wound was deeply infected and infested with maggots. He immediately made the trip to a board certified avian doctor in Ohio. His prognosis was not good. She warned us that Harry may not survive. If Harry did survive there was still a possibility we’d have to amputate his injured wing as a preventative measure to keep the infection in that wound from fatally spreading to the air sacs in his lungs. Harry made multiple trips to the vet. He received round the clock care from the Barn Sanctuary Animal Care team. His infections cleared and his wounds healed. In just a month, Harry was able to join Ben and Jerry and his new turkey friends in the coop, with both his wings.

Two of the chickens, Isadora and Martha, were also covered in wounds—the result of being attacked by roosters and fellow hens in dirty, stressful, cramped quarters. After treating their wounds and giving them the medical attention they required and deserved, both girls have regrown almost all of their missing feathers and healed exceptionally. They fit right in with their new flock and continue to improve by the day.

hoarding case barn sanctuary giving tuesday

Richard and Sandy saw doctors at Michigan State University immediately, receiving long overdue medical treatment before even making their way to Barn Sanctuary. Sandy’s hooves are being cared for so she is finally able to walk normally. Richard has received a variety of treatments to address his arthritis and the pain it causes him. Barn Sanctuary’s Animal Care team, in tandem with MSU’s doctors, are working to find what works best to help Richard. These two are quite elderly and require close care for their ailments. Though Richard seeks out affection from his human caretakers, Sandy is still very slowly learning to trust us.

These critical medical treatments and ongoing care requirements cost a great deal of money, but so does having the resources necessary and appropriate for rescue operations. We would not be able to rescue animals in need if not for your generosity and support. We also wouldn’t be able to provide our rescued residents with the level of care they deserve without your help. 

This Giving Tuesday, we hope you will pledge to donate to Barn Sanctuary to help us provide animals like the Lapeer 14 with a new lease on life.

All donations on Giving Tuesday will be matched up to $25,000 to double the impact of your generosity.

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