When they opened Andy’s Animal Acres in 2013, Andréa Buyan said, it wasn’t with the expectation of becoming rich overnight.
“We knew it would be a labour of love for a certain period of time with hopes of it eventually financially making sense also,” said Buyan.
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They never would have thought they would be in the position of needing $125,000 to stay open.
In late summer, disaster struck when a windstorm destroyed the bunny rescue area and she had to reach out to the community for help rebuilding it. Buyan said she was amazed by the response from the community, and the bunnies have a new home.
The farm, though, has manifested into more of an animal rescue and education centre. They have school groups, special needs groups and the public visiting, but Andy Animal Acres is a year-round home for these animals, with a very short open season to generate the income needed to care for them.
“What has come out of that is realizing that just by doing admissions only for the short season that the farm doesn’t sustain itself,” said Buyan, who has turned to the community for support to continue operating the farm in the same way.
She gets calls from people weekly who want to bring animals to the farm and the SPCA is even referring farm animals to them. Livestock, she said, is more challenging to re-home than domestic animals like dogs and cats.
As an example, she says the farm has accepted 13 pigs since they opened in 2013.
“Some stay with us, some don’t. There are vet bills, there are feed costs, there is insurance, there is just so many overheads and we have never asked for any outside help for funding,” she said. “To be able to keep this alive and to be able to keep our gates open in the summer season, to have this experience in our community for families and all the groups … we need to reach out.”
She is seeking support and sponsorship from local businesses, and partnerships for fundraising events, to build some more pens and have proper winter housing for the animals. With these facilities, she can take on more animals who need homes and also be able to keep the farm open for a longer season for visitors.
To help generate the funds needed, Buyan has launched a GoFundMe campaign, hoping to generate funds not only to keep the farm going but create better conditions for the animals, with better winter housing, underground water and power. To date they have raised just over $6,000.
“Hopefully at some point a full barn that we can house everyone in during the winter. Winter is long,” said Buyan.
The farm is holding their annual 101 Pumpkin event on Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with music from Mack Station, a country band, a carving contest, apple bobbing and more Halloween fun. For more information, look for Andy’s Animal Acres on Facebook.