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A Home Where The Animals Roam... Free

by Patricia Collier

Emma is one lucky sheep. Left to die in a pile of already-dead animals at a Pennsylvania slaughterhouse, the 9-year-old ewe's future was looking just about as bleak as it could get.

But good fortune intervened and someone rescued her from that pile.

Now Emma is a forever-resident at Bleating Hearts Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.

Owned by David Welch and Lynn Alpern, Bleating Hearts Animal Sanctuary is home to about 80 animals, including sheep, goats, llamas, turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks and rabbits.

Freed from the threat of abuse or destiny of slaughter, the animals now roam free on the small farm.

"This is their permanent home," said Welch, an aerospace engineer. "We just don't feel like we have time to screen other would-be adopters. And right now, we're able to do this, and we're comfortable with it."

Welch and Alpern got involved in animal rescue a few years ago when they were living in Washington, D.C. Alpern, a physicist, wanted to open a dairy goat farm and sell goat cheese.

"Then we learned more about how the female goats must be constantly pregnant and the males must be sent to slaughter," said Alpern. "I didn't want anything to do with that."

The two learned of a place called Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y. and started visiting.

During those visits, they decided to go vegetarian. And they decided, rather than operating a dairy goat farm, they'd just adopt and take care of goats.

"But after a year of visiting Farm Sanctuary, the sheep started speaking to us," Alpern said. "Then the rabbits and the chickens came as well."

In 1999, Alpern and Welch they moved to Colorado and onto their own farm. It costs about $15,000 a year to take care of the animals they rescue, and the couple decided Alpern should become a stay-at-home animal mom.

"We do get generous donations from grocery stores," Alpern said. "I bring home a trunkful of food from Safeway five days a week. It's amazing how much food would be thrown out otherwise. But it provides a lot of treats for our birds and rabbits."

More information about Bleating Hearts Animal Sanctuary and how to help support its efforts, can be be obtained by calling (303) 642-0414 or emailing David Welch at:

2003 Animal News Center, Inc.

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