County Ag Report: Smyrna farm aids displaced livestock

SMYRNA, Maine - Animal shelters specialize mostly in dogs and cats, with sites across the nation. But where do homeless livestock go? In this week's County Ag Report, Kathy McCarty visits a Smyrna farm that specializes in giving second chances to larger animals.

A Life Line does just that, serving as a lifeline for displaced livestock. Barn Manager Brandy Clark says the farm was established in 2007, and has since been incorporated and became a 501C3, giving them nonprofit status. They take in, rehabilitate and try to rehome all kinds of farm animals.

"Everything. Horses, donkeys, llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats. You name it, if it's a farm animal, we take it."

As with smaller domesticated animals, the reasons animals end up at A Life Line vary.

"Just people - family issues, medical issues with the animals they can't keep, pretty much anything, divorce, you name it."

Cases range from animals just needing a home to the farm's most difficult case to date, Joy the donkey, who required extensive medical treatment. Joy came to the farm with a broken neck and has since undergone successful surgery to repair it. Others are born with abnormalities like Ginger the sheep.

"By far, yes, as far as medical bills. We're still paying on 'em. Hers was genetic and, as you can see, she's - she's our greeter, but it doesn't seem to bother her whatsoever."

The farm works to find placements for animals, using an adoption application process.

"Hopefully once the pastures are back up and going we'll be able to take some more in. We've just - we were so full this winter, we could not take any more. And that was the problem."

For more information, visit alifeline.org.