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10 amazing animal sanctuaries in the U.S.

Amazing animal sanctuaries all across the country are giving neglected and abused animals a second lease on life. Here are 10 of the best sanctuaries helping companion animals and wild animals.

© Farm Sanctuary

By Lavanya Sunkara, 10Best


Animal sanctuaries can be found across the country

© Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

From adorable baby goats to majestic elephants, and chimps to donkeys, there are amazing sanctuaries all across the country dedicated to helping and healing animals in need. Each of these sanctuaries provides neglected and abused animals a second chance at life, giving them a wonderful, peaceful place to call home. These places of refuge also give us better alternatives to zoos, and an opportunity to give back either in the form of volunteering or donating. More importantly, the incredible individuals dedicating their lives to rescuing and rehabilitating our country's most vulnerable beings are an inspiration to all. Here are 10 amazing animal sanctuaries in the United States.


Best Friends Animal Sanctuary | Utah

© Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Sprawled across 3,700 acres in red rock country near Kanab in Utah is America's largest no-kill animal sanctuary for companion animals. Best Friends Animal Society's sanctuary has approximately 1,600 animals, including horses, pigs, dogs, cats and bunnies, all rescued from shelters across the country. These animals, after rehabilitation, are adopted out to eligible homes. Wild Friends rehabilitation center helps orphaned or injured animals before releasing them. Onsite cottages allow sleepovers with adoptable pets, and the Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile hotel invites people and their pets to stay awhile.


The Elephant Sanctuary | Tennessee

© The Elephant Sanctuary, Tennessee

Currently home to 10 elephants retired from zoos and circuses, the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is truly one of a kind. Elephants suffering from long-term health and behavioral issues (due to having spent their lives in captivity) now get to enjoy life in peace. The sanctuary provides them with individualized care and companionship of a herd. In addition, it is dedicated to educating the public about the plight of elephants in the wild, as well as the needs of those in captivity.


Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary | Georgia

© Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary

Located in Lincolnton, Ga., Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary is the longest running horse sanctuary in the country. Founder Melanie Sue Bowles has been rescuing abused and neglected horses for the past 30 years, saving more than 300 horses, along with donkeys, dogs, pigs and cats. Today, a total of 37 horses roam unimpeded on 175 acres as part of a herd. Read about Melanie's horse rescue stories in her books, The Horses of Proud Spirit and Hoof Prints: More Stories from Proud Spirit.


Farm Sanctuary | New York

© Farm Sanctuary

The rolling green pastures of the Farm Sanctuary of New York are dotted with happy farm animals. Nestled in the Finger Lakes region, the Farm Sanctuary is home to more than 800 rescued cows, pigs, goats, turkeys and more. On an educational and eye-opening visit, you can tour the shelters, learn about the realities that animals raised for food face in factory farms, and hear inspiring stories about the current residents who have survived unimaginable suffering. Onsite, stop by the Visitor Center filled with information, displays and cruelty-free items for sale.


Chimp Haven | Louisiana

© Chimp Haven

Dedicated to caring for retired chimpanzees that have been used for biomedical research, Chimp Haven, true to its name, provides blissful grounds for chimps to spend their days. There are sleeping nests, climbing trees and room to roam on the 200-acre property. The animals live in large bonded social groups, eating fruit, running around, playing and exploring their enriching environment. You can visit the forested sanctuary and the 300 resident chimps on Chimpanzee Discovery Day, happening three times a year. Chimpanzees vary in age from two to 59 years old.


Goats of Anarchy | New Jersey

© Goats of Anarchy

Leanne Lauricella has garnered the attention of thousands of Instagrammers for her adorable rescued baby goats at Goats of Anarchy. This New Jersey 30-acre farm for special needs goats (along with other animals) is not open to the public to avoid distressing the animals, but you can certainly follow their heartwarming stories on Instagram or sign up to volunteer. In 2018, Leanne shared her commitment to helping goats with a book, Peace, Love, Goats of Anarchy: How My Little Goats Taught Me Huge Lessons about Life.


Skylands Animal Sanctuary | New Jersey

© Skylands Animal Sanctuary

Mike Stura, founder of Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue in Wantage, N.J. is no stranger to doing the right thing when it comes to animals in dire need. Whether it be a scared cow fleeing a slaughterhouse in Queens, N.Y. or the hurricane-ravaged parts of North Carolina, he's at the scene rescuing the animals. His 232-acre sanctuary is home to animals he saved from slaughterhouses and situations of neglect. There are currently 238 animals under his care, each with its own name and personalized care.


Home for Life | Wisconsin

© Home for Life

Home for Life is a special place for unadoptable dogs and cats. Surrendered old dogs, retired working dogs and animals with special needs get to live life as they would have in a loving home, with companionship, good food, exercise, vet care and grooming. On 40 acres on the Apple River in Star Prairie, Wis., the animals at Home for Life live in a stress-free environment without being kenneled or caged. Currently, Lisa LaVerdiere and staff oversee 115 dogs and 85 cats rescued from all over the world.


Howling Woods Wolfdog Rescue | New Jersey

© Lavanya Sunkara

Howling Woods Farm is a breed-specific animal rescue dedicated to dispelling myths about wolfdogs. Situated on a 10-acre pinewoods forest in the Pinelands National Reserve in New Jersey, the all-volunteer organization run by Michael Hodanish rescues and re-homes domesticated, abandoned and surrendered wolfdogs. A wolfdog is a hybrid, with a wolf in its recent family history. It is illegal or restricted to own a wolfdog in more than half the states in the U.S., making it harder to place these majestic howling beauties.


Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue | Texas

© Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue

Donkeys are often overlooked, and their quiet suffering led to the creation of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue 19 years ago by husband and wife Mark and Amy Meyers in San Angelo, Texas. As the largest donkey rescue in the country, Peaceful Valley has facilities all across the U.S. and is dedicated to improving the lives of abused or abandoned donkeys, and the lives of wild burros under threat. The rescue also holds clinics, trainings and seminars across the country. Adoptable donkeys go to loving homes after careful evaluation.

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Pets Magazine: 10 amazing animal sanctuaries in the U.S.
10 amazing animal sanctuaries in the U.S.
Amazing animal sanctuaries all across the country are giving neglected and abused animals a second lease on life. Here are 10 of the best sanctuaries helping companion animals and wild animals.
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