Scugog sanctuary seeks volunteers as stable of abandoned animals grows
SCUGOG — A Scugog sanctuary whose sole goal is to help abandoned farm animals is looking for help itself.
The Pegasus Animal Sanctuary, located just south of Port Perry on Scugog Line 3, started off in 2017 as a home for two abandoned pigs — Bert and Ernie — in Jack Hurst’s bid to turn his 97-acre parcel of land into a safe haven for unwanted animals.
Now, as the sanctuary has swelled with abandoned animals, so has Hurst’s demand for help in caring for them.
“I want to be out on knocking on doors to connect with supporters in the community to help us meet our mandate, our commitment to rescuing as many animals as we can,” said Hurst of his need for volunteers.
Currently, there are about 20 volunteers helping out at Pegasus — “We have a core of really good solid volunteers that are just fabulous,” said Hurst — but he’d like to see that number bumped up to around 35 to ensure the sanctuary runs smoothly and efficiently.
Those helping out are asked to commit to a couple of hours a week — shifts usually run from 8:30 to 11 a.m. or 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. — and that covers cleaning, feeding, grooming and exercising the dozen animals that have found a new home at the Scugog sanctuary.
“We could push that to three or four hours, but people don’t have that time,” said Hurst of leaning on his existing volunteers to do more. “Sometimes something suffers or is sacrificed, but they definitely do the feeding and cleaning so we have those necessities looked after.”
Other than the pair of pigs, Pegasus is now home to two Peking ducks, four chickens, two donkeys and a pair of miniature horses. Last month, Modern Niagara returned to the Scugog sanctuary for a second volunteer work day, building 650 linear feet of fencing to create a new pasture for more larger animals.
But, stressed Hurst, the sanctuary is now at the point where it’ll be hard to take on more animals without growing the roster of volunteers to care for them.
Pegasus receives calls “all the time” from people looking to rehome animals, but Hurst focuses on farm and other large animals instead of dogs and cats.
“There are cows and llamas and other animals that definitely are in need of being rescued,” he said. “The missing component is volunteers — we can’t tax our current volunteers anymore.”
If a large influx of volunteers can’t be secured, Hurst is willing to hire a barn manager and volunteer co-ordinator to help keep things running smoothly. He’s looking for someone to work between 20 and 25 hours a week and who has farm animal experience. The job would start immediately.
“If we can’t get volunteers to fill the times, we need someone in position to help take the sanctuary to the next level. The last thing I want to do is bring more animals on board and not be able to provide the care and attention they deserve,” said Hurst.
The Pegasus Animal Sanctuary is at 2090 Scugog Line 3.
by Chris Hall
Chris Hall is a reporter covering Scugog Township for Metroland Media Group’s Durham Region Division.