February 2024

This month, we asked sanctuaries to Give us some love…stories that is! True sanctuary is the most loving place for animals around the world. Here are just a few:

Manka, bobcat residing at Verified RAWR, RI
Manka enjoying some box enrichment from her caregivers. In sanctuary, giving animals ways to lead fun and enriching lives is the ultimate show of love.

Burt & JubJub, bonded residents at Accredited Foster Parrots, RI
Both owner surrenders who found lasting love in sanctuary after losing their family. During our visit, we found them cuddled up, just like this!

Cleve & Thunder, residents at Accredited Red Clay Ranch Equine Rescue & Sanctuary, GA
The chestnut is Cleve and the white Appy is Thunder.  Thunder is completely blind.  Both were rescued from starvation situations but not at the same time.  They are in different pastures due to different dietary restrictions, but that doesn’t stop them from sharing a kiss over the fence!

To learn more about GFAS accredited sanctuaries and rescue centers and see their stories of love, visit our social linksadopt don’t shop (800 x 800 px), below.  Amplify the love, by sharing our newsletter with your loved ones, too!

February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month!

(Click here to open graphic in a new page, then right click and select Save Video As)

It’s time to drive home the message to adopt, not shop, for rabbits. Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States, and even more popular in places like the UK. They are also the third most abandoned – and with an estimated 3M+ (Source: AVMA) rabbits in the US alone, sanctuaries, shelters and rescues are faced with a dire situation. Sanctuaries frequently report to us that rabbit abandonment is a critical problem in the field, easily tipping the scales well past the capacity of any sanctuary or shelter system.

Domestic rabbits have been marketed for years as easy “starter” pets for children, which couldn’t be further from the truth. They are delicate, complex creatures which require specialty care, gentle handling, and careful observation. They need a high-quality diet, lots of space (no cages here!), protection from predators, and specialized veterinary care that can be hard to find. Impulse buying of rabbits has created a devastating problem, as folks realize the work required to care for rabbits and promptly dump them outside – where sanctuaries and rescues step in to clean up after irresponsible guardians. But there just isn’t enough space for them all.
What can be done? We should all drive home the message that lives are saved through adoption – rather than creating further demand through purchase for a species that is abandoned in droves. (We haven’t even touched on the inherent issues of pet breeding facilities). Education around what it truly takes to care for a rabbit responsibly is sorely needed as well.
Feel free to share this graphic and stats on your page to raise awareness for rabbits and the sanctuaries who care for them.


GFAS On-Demand Webinars
Are you familiar with the library of recorded webinars on our website? There are currently over 40 recorded sessions available to view any time. Topics range from Animal Care, Animal Housing, Education, Finances, Governance and much more. We are so fortunate to have had many experts in the animal welfare field, along with GFAS staff present on these topics.
We hope that you are able to take some time to view some of these sessions and if you ever have suggestions for topics, please feel free to email us at .


Free Access: Narrative Architecture for Animal Freedom
Access the latest research on effective narratives for moving toward Animal Freedom. The infographic is concise and especially helpful. The latest research from Animal Think Tank identifies the messaging most effective at changing heart and minds in favor of animals.


Will You Be Their Valentine?

GFAS Verified Freedom Hill Horse Rescue saves abused, neglected and unwanted horses, many with chronic health conditions, severe injuries or are in their golden years. Often, these horses are considered disposable because they can’t be ridden, pull a plow, or compete. But these horses can often be rehabbed and are perfect as a companion animal or can participate in wellness and educational programs.

“Older, injured, and well-managed horses still have a lot of love to give and deserve to live a life with dignity and compassion.” (freedomhillhorserescue n.d.)

Want to send some love their way? Between now and February 15th, you can send valentines to the horses at Freedom Hill Horse Rescue. To learn more, go HERE.


Meet Rhode Island’s First GFAS Certified Wildcat Sanctuary, Rustic Acres Wildcat Rescue

GFAS is excited to announce the Verification of, Rustic Acres Wildcat Rescue (RAWR), a small, but mighty sanctuary providing a peaceful permanent home to a cohort of wild bobcats in Rhode Island. These unreleasable bobcats enjoy a naturalistic environment, enrichment, veterinary oversight and an appropriate diet. In addition to providing excellent sanctuary care, RAWR’s mission is to educate the public that wild animals are not pets. It’s a message that needs a lot of reinforcing to the public, and RAWR is in a perfect position to deliver it. While not open to the public, the organization has a large following on their social media channels where they continually express respect for the cats’ wildness.

GFAS is proud of RAWR’s commitment to high standards and the fact that another true sanctuary is on board to come to the rescue of wildcats in need. The sad truth is that many of these animals will be euthanized if sanctuaries are not available to take them in and provide appropriate care. RAWR had set its sights on GFAS certification from the beginning, and it was our pleasure to assist them in their effort to provide the best animal care and environment possible for their residents. Welcome to the GFAS family of true sanctuaries, RAWR! To learn more, please visit www.rawrsanctuary.org



New Certifications and Renewals

Over the past month, GFAS has certified one new organization and renewed two organizations!

Congratulations to these groups!

New Certifications

Rustic Acres Wildlife Refuge, Rhode Island


Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation, Oklahoma
Freedom Hill Horse Rescue, Maryland

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