Latest News

garden party


April 15, 2014

Nope, not a garden party. A Gardening Party!
My friends tell me I have to get better at asking for help. We work so hard with the rescued animals and injured native birds that our gardens are in a sad state. I just don’t have time. So, I’m asking for help with that! If you’d like to come to the Animal Sanctuary this Saturday (19 April) and help rescue our gardens, please let me know. I’ll provide a nice lunch, and the animals will provide the cuddles. RSVP below or to, or call 09-422-7322 and I’ll give you more details. Thanks!! -Shawn

late ducklings crop


Sadly, our one-legged mallard duck named Ishmael had to be euthanised this past week. It was quite tragic, and we miss him. He was a special, brave little spirit.
Later the same day, a female mallard emerged from the bush with 9 wee ducklings in tow! We were shocked, as we have never ever had ducklings this late in the season. So, once more, as one animal moves on, another comes to take its place… or in this case, another nine!

in and out


April 13, 2014

It seems that as soon as we release a rehabilitated native bird, another comes to take its place. We had a handraised owl who was now mature and capable of living on his own. We released him, but left food out nightly while he adjusted to life on his own. We saw him return for a meal several times, but last week he transitioned to hunting for himself. Almost immediately, we received an owl with an eye injury. He probably flew into a window or was hit by a car. We had to put an oily gel into his eye every day… no small task, given his sharp beak and claws! However, his eye is looking almost normal, and he has now gone into the big owl aviary to regain his strength. Easy come, easy go!



April 7, 2014

When I answer the phone and hear someone crying because they have to rehome an animal they love, it’s very sad. But when I’m able to help that animal find a wonderful new loving home, it’s a great feeling. We have 3 male cockatiels, and I’d been thinking that if a female needed a home, we’d adopt her ourselves. Literally the next day, Arki came into our lives! She’s a real sweetheart, bonded with people, but very calm about being with other birds. She fit right in. And her former family is very happy and relieved to know she’ll be safe and well cared for with us. Welcome to the family, Arki!



But wait, there’s more! HURRAH was looking for a home for a Tibetan Spaniel named Jack. Jack’s person passed away, and the family couldn’t keep him. They said if HURRAH didn’t find him a home, Jack would have to be put down. HURRAH had 2 possible homes, but neither worked out and things were looking a bit desperate for Jack. Now, I had been thinking that it would be nice to have a younger “brother or sister” for Benji. I’d imagined a tiny young long-haired chihuahua. Jack is 14 years old, so he’s a very senior dog, and not at all what I had planned. But I always trust that fate will guide me to the animals we adopt. I realised that in the lifespan of adopting one young dog, we could probably provide a final home for 4 or 5 senior dogs over that same time. Jack is a real sweetheart. He must have been so confused, losing his person and then going from home to home. I’m happy that we can be his final home, and give him love for the rest of his life. Benji got a grandfather instead of a little brother, and seems totally fine with it. Welcome Jack!!



April 6, 2014

Sadly, animal testing for cosmetics is still legal in NZ, although the EU and other countries have banned it. It’s time for us to do the same. With the Animal Welfare Act under review, we really can do this!!
PLEASE sign the petition at to tell our MPs to support this change, and end the suffering & death of huge numbers of animals.
Share this post widely to get your friends on board, too. Thanks.

ang rooster


April 5, 2014

This happened during yesterday’s rescue. My rescue colleague Angie wrote: “126 battery hens arrived today. 109 lucky hens went to my rescue partners in Matakana for rehoming. The rest came home with me, including one gigantic hen that I decided was just too cute – she had to be mine! Once home, it soon became apparent that my hen was in fact a HE – spurs and all. When the babies are sexed at only a few days old, all the male chicks are killed – either gassed or macerated (ground up alive in a jet engine). More than 3 million male chicks are killed every year in NZ. This boy had flown under the radar, lucky enough not to be chewed up in a grinder, but unlucky to spend the first 18 months of his life cooped up in a cage as a layer hen!! Well HELLO world, welcome to the first day of the rest of your life BIG BOY!”
In all the years we’ve been rescuing battery hens, we’ve never seen this before. It’s a miracle that he wasn’t killed at sorting as a chick, a miracle that the farmer didn’t notice a male in the battery cage, and a miracle that out of 25,000 hens in that shed, he was one of the mere 129 we were able to rescue!! Now to find him a home, since it’s sooooo rare to find people who are willing to adopt a rooster. If you are, please contact me! Shawn, The Animal Sanctuary 09-422-7322 or

today rescue


April 4, 2014

We were delighted to be invited to do a hen rescue this weekend from a battery farm. They’re about to kill 25,000 hens from one barn. Shudder. I wish I could take them all. I delivered cages and boxes to fellow rescuers Kath & Bill yesterday, who will travel in their van to pick up 109 lucky hens. (Thanks K&B!) As an extra surprise, this rescue is being sponsored by a wonderful woman named Ruth Nicholson. She made a donation which will cover the costs of this rescue and also some feed for when they arrive. Hooray!! Thanks so much, Ruth, 109 hens thank you from the bottom of their little hearts.