Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bonniedale Farm

Dec 10, 2009: A happy ending is in the works for rescued farm animals at foreclosed Rhode Island sanctuary

The residents of Bonniedale Farm, a recently-foreclosed farm animal sanctuary in Rhode Island, are in good hands today thanks to an agreement reached between the sanctuary's former owner, Dan MacKenzie, and the mortgage company that forced him to leave the property earlier this week.

After MacKenzie's hasty departure from Bonniedale -- he told the Providence Journal that he'd been given only 10 minutes to vacate on Monday morning -- things quickly went from bad to worse for the animals. According to Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) President Dr. Ernest Finocchio, he found horses and pigs without water during a visit to the farm Tuesday. More troubling still, animals like llamas and pot-bellied pigs seemed to be going missing, and it was unclear whether they'd been removed by concerned animal lovers or simply stolen.

MacKenzie's concern for the animals' welfare prompted him to seek a court order to ensure they'd be cared for in his absence. A preliminary agreement, in which Finocchio would assume the responsibility for their care for a 24-hour period, was reached Wednesday.

Representatives from both sides of the foreclosure were back in court today, resulting in an agreement that the Bonniedale animals will remain under the care of the RISPCA over the next few days,according to the Journal. After that, the RISPCA hopes to find new adoptive homes for the animals, which number more than 130 and include many rescued from abusive or neglectful owners..." More & video

Dec 9, 2009: Wells Fargo is accused of animal neglect following foreclosure of Rhode Island farm animal sanctuary

Allegations of animal neglect against an unlikely culprit -- Wells Fargo -- prompted a Rhode Island man to take the bank to court today. Wells Fargo recently foreclosed on Bonniedale Farm, a sanctuary that houses more than 130 rescued farm animals; Dan MacKenzie, the sanctuary's former owner, argued in court that the bank had failed to provide proper care for the animals that remained after he was evicted.

Although friends and animal lovers offered donations in the hopes of saving Bonniedale from foreclosure, the effort was too little, too late. MacKenzie on Monday was ordered off the premises, where he's cared for rescued animals including pigs, horses and turkeys for eight years. (According to MacKenzie, the foreclosure itself stems from a simple mistake -- he didn't know his mortgage had been sold and continued to pay the bank that originally held it.) And since the order to leave was unexpected -- MacKenzie said he was given only 10 minutes to vacate the farm -- he had no time to provide for the animals' interim care.

Had he known the eviction was coming, he told the Providence Journal, he "would have tried to place the animals somewhere safe.... Apparently they're not animal people at all."

With MacKenzie gone, who would care for the animals? His attorney, Guy Settipane, told the Journal that the bank claimed the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would step in to look after them. But RISPCA President Dr. Ernest Finocchio contradicted this, saying Wells Fargo had declined his organization's offer of help..." More & video