January 2022

Announcing our Revised Mission and Vision and New Values Statements

The new year can symbolize new beginnings, often in the way of resolutions.  At GFAS, the new year is an exciting time to renew our commitment to our organization’s future and to the certified sanctuaries, transition, rescue and rehabilitation centers we serve.  Over the past year, The GFAS Board of Directors, staff, and stakeholders completed a strategic planning process and we are pleased to announce, coming soon, a new strategic plan to guide our organization over the next 3 years, beginning in 2022.  During this process, GFAS also updated our mission and vision statements to better encompass the population being certified and tie in with our new strategic plan.

Our Vision: A world in which true sanctuary is given to animals in need.

Our Mission: To accredit and recognize sanctuaries and rescue centers, support them to achieve the highest Standards of Excellence, promote collaboration, and raise awareness of their work.

Core Values:


We believe….

Animals should be free from exploitation.

The physical, behavioral and social needs of animals should be met.

Any animal in need should have access to true sanctuary.

Raising and ensuring standards of high-quality animal care places the welfare of each individual animal as the highest priority.

Promoting the sustainability of sanctuaries is integral to protecting the animals who depend on the success of these organizations.

Differentiating the work of true sanctuaries through enhanced public awareness and recognition is essential in directing support where it will be used most effectively.


Collaboration                                                                     Stewardship/Service                      Professionalism

Respect and appreciation for differences             Leadership                                          Integrity


2022 Begins with GFAS/EQUUS Foundation Partnership

We are excited to update everyone on our partnership with the EQUUS Foundation established in 2021. GFAS will continue to review equine charities seeking the EQUUS Foundation Guardian designation to determine whether or not their organization is eligible for GFAS certification, either Verification or Accreditation. All GFAS eligible applicants will be invited to apply so they may also receive the significant benefits that GFAS certification provides. By collaborating and sharing information, the initial GFAS application process for EQUUS Foundation charities seeking GFAS certification, is greatly simplified.

GFAS encourages all equine welfare organizations to join the EQUUS Foundation Equine Welfare Network here. The EQUUS Foundation is dedicated to protecting America’s horses from peril and strengthening the bond between horses and people. At the core of their mission is safeguarding the comfort and dignity of America’s horses throughout their lives and sharing their ability to empower, teach and heal. Eligibility criteria for joining the EQUUS Foundation can be found at the following link, Equine Welfare  Network  Eligibility Requirements.

Our common goal is to encourage all equine welfare organizations, sanctuaries, rescue therapy programs, and adoption transition centers, to reap the benefits of both GFAS and the EQUUS Foundation. Recognition by both organizations is a meaningful way to communicate that you are officially recognized as committed, transparent, capable, and worthy of support. Not only will this give you confidence that you are providing the best in care, but it will also provide clear, objective, and measurable outcomes by which your charity can assess its performance and make improvements. GFAS and EQUUS Foundation Guardians have access to exclusive benefits such as annual awards, grants and discounted services.

Thank You!

We are so grateful to all of our supporters whose contributions enable our staff to continue the work of mentoring, supporting, and providing resources to animal sanctuary facilities across the world. Since GFAS’s inception, 15 years ago, our certification programs have grown tremendously, and now support 210+ certified sanctuaries, providing care for more than 35,000 animals at any one time, in addition to many more each year, as new animals come in.  Every year, GFAS staff conduct over 70 site visits to sanctuaries to ensure the welfare of animals in sanctuaries worldwide.  All of this work would not be possible without generous support.

Thank you to our 2021 Foundation and Organizational Supporters!

A Kinder World Foundation
American Anti-Vivisection Society
Anonymous Giving
Arcus Foundation
David Bohnett Foundation
EQUUS Foundation, Inc.
Humane Society of the United States
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust
Park Foundation
Pegasus Foundation
Summerlee Foundation
Tigers in America
William and Charlotte Parks Foundation

GFAS Policy on Organizational Updates

A friendly reminder for our currently Accredited and Verified groups, to keep us, at GFAS, up to date with any major changes which occur at your sanctuary organization.  Although GFAS status is for three years, we are delighted to hear from our certified groups at any time!

*2022 Policy Revision Announcement*

Effective immediately, the GFAS Policy on Organizational Updates has been amended to add the requirement of notification to GFAS of the following occurrence at Accredited and Verified sanctuary facilities:

Animal escapes from sanctuary property and is not able to be recaptured

As a part of the Accreditation/Verification process, GFAS is committed to helping sanctuaries create and put policies in place which promote and enforce health and safety guidelines, however, GFAS realizes that accidents are sometimes inevitable. This policy revision is to help ensure all occurrences are discovered and reported in a timely manner so they can be analyzed properly, enabling GFAS to assist sanctuaries with any corrective and/or preventative measures.

Click here to find the GFAS policy on organizational updates.  Thanks so much for your review and assistance.


Around-the-Clock Rescue at Tucson Wildlife Center

At the foot of Saguaro National Park in Arizona, lies GFAS Accredited, Tucson Wildlife Center, and the Sam Goldman Wildlife Hospital. This state-of-the-art facility features triage, surgery and radiology rooms open 24 hours, every day of the year. This hardworking organization might as well install a revolving door, as staff veterinarians and volunteer caregivers treated a total of 4,393 animals in 2021.

Tucson Wildlife Center does it all and never stops. Every day, rescues stream in with the help of an emergency hotline and field rescue teams at the ready with emergency vehicles to carry out complicated or dangerous retrieval of injured animals. The well-established rehabilitation and release programs serve all severely injured wildlife species including: mourning doves, rabbits, quail, birds of prey, bobcats and coyotes. Orphaned animals are sadly plentiful as well, but reared with great care in a separate facility dedicated to their specific needs. Animals unable to be released are provided life-time care in specially designed and enriched enclosures. Tucson Wildlife Center is closed to the public, but their vast knowledge and experience with native species is shared on-site through community education programs.

Tucson Wildlife Center has served the community and local wildlife for decades and will continue to grow into the future with a focus on solar powered electrical systems and other sustainability initiatives. It’s good news for the animals of Southern Arizona and the people that love them, as Tucson Wildlife Center will continue on as their beacon of hope.

To learn more please visit: tucsonwildlife.com

NowThis…Sanctuary Style

While we at GFAS feel that sanctuary work is always newsworthy, we are thrilled when sanctuary stories land in mainstream media outlets, like news site NowThis. NowThis News reaches over 21 million people on Facebook and Instagram alone.

Three weeks ago, they posted this video “See Farm Animals’ Transformation After Living in Sanctuaries”, featuring none other than 4 GFAS Accredited sanctuaries including Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, Wildwood Farm Sanctuary and Preserve, Farm Sanctuary, and Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge.

Media pieces like these showcase the unique value proposition of sanctuaries: they both directly save animal lives while advocating for the remainder of animal kind through their residents’ stories. Transformations like these necessitate showing the horrors of industry from which residents escape and juxtapose those with the kind, loving environment of a true sanctuary. But by presenting difficult information within the personal story of a resident who has overcome adversity, they create a crucial connection between the animals as individuals and the audience. In turn, they’re able to motivate them to change the “before” conditions. Difficult material like this from undercover investigations can turn off members of the public and cause them to shut down emotionally, but as always, the animals themselves are their best advocates, helping humans maintain an open heart and mind for positive change.

Highlighting GFAS Verified Dharmahorse Equine Sanctuary in New Mexico

GFAS Verified Dharmahorse Equine Sanctuary is home to 20 plus equines that have either been surrendered by their owners facing difficult times or have been acquired by local law enforcement agencies. This organization uses a “paddock paradise” track system to provide added grazing enrichment for equines in sparse geographic areas. Meandering trails of the tract system twist and turn over various surfaces with hay and water provided in several locations. This keeps their equines moving and grazing as nature intended them with lots of variety and areas to rest. You can find out more about “paddock paradise” systems at this website: Paddock Paradise – Information on how to create it (all-natural-horse-care.com)

Executive Director Katharine Chrisley-Schreiber provided GFAS with this great video of her track system taken from a drone.

The track system at Dharmahorse – YouTube

The second video Katharine shared with GFAS, is of their most recent addition, an 8 month orphaned Mustang colt who broke his leg when he was only 1 month old. Dharmahorse’s 30-year-old gelding, Bodhi, has become “Mum” to this colt (Pepper) and it is so much fun to watch them interact. Pepper needs wraps to support his front legs during playtime, but otherwise he is a happy healthy horse.

The Mustang colt, “Pepper” with his “Mum” Bodhi having a gallop in the giant round yard. – YouTube

To learn more about Dharmahorse Equine Rescue, please visit, http://www.dharmahorse.org/

Safe Haven Equine Rescue

Located in a small town in East Texas, is GFAS Accredited Safe Haven Equine Rescue & Retirement Home. Although, Safe Haven’s main goal is to rescue and rehome abused, neglected, or distressed horses, and to provide lifetime care for those horses in need of permanent sanctuary; they also work hard to be active within the community.

When Safe Haven’s rescue assistance isn’t required by law enforcement and government agencies, they offer educational and outreach programs. They also believe in ‘paying it forward’. “Depending on available resources and the needs of a community Safe Haven does its very best to pay forward all the wonderful support we receive from so many people by helping others.“ Over the years, the trained emergency rescue team at Safe Haven has helped with tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas, and fires and flooding in Houston and in the Panhandle of Texas. Their help came in the form of hay, feed and supply delivery for livestock, debris clean-up, and more, however the emergency rescue team stands at the ready to help with emergencies involving horses and other animals.

Interested in learning more about Safe Haven Equine Rescue & Retirement Home? Check out their website at: https://www.safehavenequinerescue.com/.

Photo: Safe Haven Equine Rescue, Emergency Rescue Team training https://www.safehavenequinerescue.com/emergencyrescue

New Certifications and Renewals

Over the past month, GFAS has certified two new organizations, transitioned one organization from Verified to Accredited, and renewed four GFAS organizations! Congratulations to all these groups!

New Certifications

13 Hands Equine Rescue, New York
Wild at Heart Horse Rescue, California

Transition from Verified to Accredited

Save a Forgotten Equine, Washington


Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary, NY
Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, Pennsylvania
Freeman Arabian Ranch and Rescue, Kansas
Pregnant Mare Rescue, California

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