Girl Scout helps animal sanctuary in need | Local News

Girl Scout helps animal sanctuary in need |  Local News

After having to spend nearly $50,000 in medical bills for its animals over the course of three months, Asha’s Farm Sanctuary in Newfane has become strapped for cash. The animal sanctuary has whenever been willing to accept any help it can be offered. Amidst this, Asha’s was able to get some help from 18-year-old Williamsville Girl Scout Lottie Tomasello, who helped make new signage to be shown around the sanctuary.

“I love doing community service projects like this, and getting the sense that I’m truly making a difference,” said Tomasello, who is in Troop 31493 Williamsville Service Unit. “It’s a really great experience. You get to meet a lot of amazing people, and learn about yourself as well.”

Asha’s Farm Sanctuary prioritizes rescuing and rehabilitating farm animals taken from abusive or neglectful situations. These include cows, pigs, sheep, goats, donkeys, chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys. It is one of three animal sanctuaries in Niagara County that takes care of farm animals along with Lakeview Animal Sanctuary, and Whispering River Rescue. The work of the sanctuary especially spoke to Tomasello, who said that she’s been a vegetarian since she was 9 years old.

“They do so much to help these animals who were all rescued from inhumane practices and given better lives,” she said. “The owner, Tracy Murphy, is just awesome. I really admire how much hard work she puts into running the sanctuary by herself.”

Tomasello and her troop helped out by making new signage to be put up around the sanctuary. Last fall, the troop photographed the animals, and took notes on their particular stories, their personalities and why they were rescued. Tomasello then designed five signs in Photoshop using these photos and details to be framed and hung outside the pens and barns.

These signs were needed, as Murphy, the sanctuary’s owner, said that guests weren’t spending as much time paying attention to the animals that they would have otherwise.

“We wanted our visitors to learn a bit more about the personalities of the animals, and we felt that we could do that through the signs,” she said.

Tomasello said that the signs will be able to help make Murphy’s job easier.

“Murphy runs the tours, but visitors sometimes get distracted by petting the animals or going off on their own, so they don’t end up learning as much about the animals as they should,” said Tomasello. “These signs will really help the visitors be able to read and learn about the animals, so that it’s not all on Tracy to teach them.”

Tomasello also helped make a sign designating the parking area at the sanctuary, as none existed previously. She placed the signs at the sanctuary last week, with the help of her father and grandfather.

Due to the work she’d done at the sanctuary, Tomasello was able to get her Gold Award with the Girl Scouts. The Gold Award involves being able to create lasting change, and requires at least 80 hours of volunteer work.

Murphy regards volunteer work like this as being valuable to the survival of the animal sanctuary due to its strained financial situation. This was brought on by many of their animals getting sick at roughly the same time as one another, and needing to get treatment at the Cornell Farm Animal Hospital.

The sanctuary held several events over the last few months including hayride-luncheons, and a kiss-a-cow day fundraiser to help raise money to pay off the debt. While most of it has been paid off thanks to events like these, it still has approximately $12,000 to pay off by the end of July, or else it may close, and the animals would need to be sent to other sanctuaries.

“We don’t know how we’re going to be able to keep providing them medical care,” said Murphy. “We don’t know how we’re going to keep paying for hay and straw. We need to raise this money by the end of July to be able to keep the sanctuary open and not re-home the animals.”

Murphy praises the support that’s been shown by the community, and emphasizes that membership, as well as animal fostering and sponsoring are able to help the sanctuary the most right now. It is also accepting donations to its Patreon, and a Gofundme fundraiser, and is even accepting donations in the form of cryptocurrency.

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