Seeking An Animal Rescue Haven Site

Sheila Young wants to start a ranch for abused and abandoned hunting dogs and horses she rescues

Sheila Young has a passion for animals and they “get” her, especially lost, abused, abandoned and unwanted hunting dogs and horses. She’s got a plan for these special-needs animals: Give them a home at Kaua’i Rescue Reserve Ranch.

The only problem is, it doesn’t exist yet. She needs financial help – and she’s working on that.

“I feel like this is my destiny; it encompasses all of my life’s work, studies, interests and passions,” says Young, who manufactures and sells a line of products called Young’s Natural Pet Products. “I can’t believe all the love and help that is being offered to me.”

For years, Young has worked with horses. Fly belly, rain rot – she’s dealt with those and more.

Hunting dogs respond well to her pet products, too. One friend, a hunter who has 30 well-cared-for dogs, had Sheila work on some of his dogs that had skin problems.

Other doggies just turned up on her doorstep; some were lost and she returned them to their owners. Gradually, she became known as a friend to these animals, and people called her when they found lost dogs.

“I see a real, specific need for horses and hunting dogs,” says Young. “I want to have a place with space and care specifically for the hunting dogs and horses so that I can help take care of them. I recognize a real need for this and am trying to help that situation.”

Ideally, Kaua’i Rescue Reserve Ranch should be about 15-20 acres in size, says Young, and include a building for a caretaker of the animals and property. She already has an eye on a North Shore property that she thinks is ideal.

She’s partnered with the 501(c)3 Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary on the Big Island, home to about 85 dogs and 230 cats, to come under its umbrella and also to learn a lot of the how-to’s.

“It’s a win-win situation for everybody, including the Kaua’i Humane Society, because it helps take pressure off them by creating more facilities,” says Young.

Nobody knows exactly how many animals may come to heal at Young’s proposed ranch, but in a 2009 annual report, the Kaua’i Humane Society documented that more than 6,500 animals arrived at its facility – among them, about 1,200 dogs. And a recent case of an owner of 16 horses being charged with 16 counts of cruelty to animals in the second degree brought those horses under the temporary care of the society, some housed at the facility, others in a private pasture.

Nationally, statistics show that about 5 million dogs are abandoned each year in the U.S. There’s no estimate on horses, but it’s generally agreed their number also is high and increasing, primarily because of two conditions.

One is the economy and resulting foreclosures that see horses let loose to fend for themselves. Another is the 2007 humane change in the law, making it illegal to slaughter horses for rendered byproducts.

With Young, the focus of the ranch will be all about the love and healing that animals and people can bring to each other. For example, she says, “Kaua’i Rescue Reserve Ranch will have many educational programs for adults, teenagers and keiki.

“And we would like to create a program for troubled teens and adults wanting to get off drugs or who are in the prison systems by offering community service at the sanctuary. Giving and receiving love from animals can work miracles.”

Young has a show called Animals in Paradise that airs on Ho’ike Community Television.

“I want to keep putting out shows promoting loving connections with animals and humans through my Animals In Paradise TV show, all filmed at the Kaua’i Rescue Reserve Ranch,” Young says.

For information on Kaua’i Rescue Reserve Ranch, call Sheila Young at 651-0918 or e-mail kauaisrrr@gmail.com.

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