Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary Opens its Doors To Animals in Need

When farm animals have been abused, neglected and no longer cared for, Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary creates a home for them without fear.

Karyn Boswell, owner of Penny Lane, said it receives many animals about to be slaughtered or which have been abused by their owners.

One of Penny Lane’s horses, Cowboy, was rescued from Windsor, Ont., after being severely abused by his owners, Boswell said.

“He was one of the worst cases of abuse in the last 20 years,” Boswell said. “These two guys were collecting free animals off of Kijiji, just for the purpose of torturing them . . . they starved him, they physically tortured him.”

Cowboy eventually came to Penny Lane after he was put up for adoption by the Windsor Humane Society, but Boswell said because he was “deemed un-ridable, nobody wanted him.”

Boswell also said Penny Lane has a Thanksgiving tradition. During October, Penny Lane will rescue a turkey from slaughter every year, now caring for four turkeys since the tradition began.

Animal slaughter has always been a point of contention in Canada.

As well, in an a webpage updated over the past six years by Humane Canada, a federation for humane societies across Canada, they said they are concerned for the welfare of farm animals going to slaughter.

“Animals may be handled roughly as they are led to slaughter, causing significant stress and fear, as well as injuries. Some animals are improperly ‘stunned’ (i.e.: not fully rendered conscious) before they are killed, resulting them in being killed while conscious – causing them tremendous pain and suffering,” said the webpage.

Also on the page, Humane Canada expresses the need for stricter rules and punishments by organizations such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regarding people treating their farm animals in an inhumane way.

Located 40 minutes from downtown Ottawa in Saint-Pascale-Babylon, Ont., Boswell said Penny Lane began six years ago with their first horse, Penny, who passed away last fall.

Now, with over 60, out of a capacity of 70, farm animals rescued from abusive homes, Boswell said the facility can be expensive to run.

“We’re a not-for-profit organization . . . so everything comes from donations,” Boswell said. “A lot of it when we started was out of our own pockets. Probably for the first five years we were paying for everything.”

Boswell said now the farm receives $1,200 of financial support monthly from sponsors to cover feed for the animals and other resources for the farm. She added they hold open houses, where they raise about $5,000.

However, Boswell explained monthly expenses are about $2,000, most of which goes to hay bales for the horses.

“One of those bales lasts about four days and they’re about $60 per bale,” Boswell said.

Boswell added they rely on their 15 volunteers, coming throughout the week, to help them with everyday chores, such as feeding and cleaning up after the animals.

Michele Thorn, an organizer for the Ottawa Animal Defense League, said they support facilities like Penny Lane because they are “true sanctuaries.”

“There are some places that call themselves a sanctuary, but they’re not truly,” Thorn said. “There are places, for example, that take the animals out . . . to fairs for open houses and have pony rides.”

Boswell said the definition of a true sanctuary is a place that takes care of animals needing a home.

“The animals come here, they’re here for life. No matter what shape they’re in or where they came from, when they come here they don’t leave,” Boswell explained. “I think that’s a true sanctuary; when you’re providing them a home for life.”

Boswell said at Penny Lane, they take baby steps with the animals, including making the animals trust they are in a safe and loving home.

“I don’t see them as animals. I see them as my friends, my family,” Boswell said.