May 2020

New GFAS Member Benefit!

We have some exciting news!  The AWOIP (Animal Welfare Organization Insurance Program) team is partnering up with GFAS, and your sanctuary, rescue, or rehabilitation center could benefit.

Over the past several years, AWOIP and GFAS have been working together to compile data from our member sanctuaries on the types of insurance coverages requested and needed.  From this, the AWOIP has created unique insurance protections specifically geared toward the needs of equine, farmed animal, and wild and exotic animal facilities.  Coverages available now include general liability, directors and officers, property, professional liability, and animal care, custody, and control – just to name a few!  For those rescues and sanctuaries utilizing foster care placements, liability insurance is available which even extends coverage to foster homes.

In addition, AWOIP and GFAS have been assessing loss run data from our member sanctuaries.  As risk mitigation is such a large component of the GFAS certification process and member sanctuaries employ the highest standards of safety, the AWOIP will offer credits for GFAS Accredited and Verified organizations.  Credits will allow GFAS-certified organizations to benefit in the way of exclusive cost savings on coverages.

To learn more, give AWOIP a call at 1-800-673-2558, Send an Email or visit them online: .  Make sure you mention your GFAS status, in order to take advantage of these exclusive credits.

GFAS Position Statement

GFAS has adopted a new position statement, which has been added to our GFAS website.  This statement will help clarify the intent of our GFAS Standard of Excellence surrounding “acquisition”.  The position statement can be found here.

COVID-19 and GFAS Site Visits

Site visits to sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers as a part of the new accreditation applicant process and the accreditation renewal process have been suspended until travel restrictions are lifted, which will vary from location-to-location.  GFAS staff will continue to seek guidance from national and local public health authorities, and will contact our accredited and new applicant sanctuaries where site visits are due individually, to determine the best course of action moving forward.  Accreditations and Verifications for those organizations and facilities in the renewal process awaiting a site visit will, of course, remain valid during this time.

Airbnb Online Experiences

Airbnb, who has partnered with GFAS Accredited and Verified sanctuaries to offer Social Impact Experiences for some time, is now launching Online Experiences, in response to travel and social distancing restrictions brought on by COVID-19.   Airbnb wants to give those who are interested in, or currently host an Experience a way to continue hosting, and especially wishes to see non-profits continue to be able to raise funds.

If your sanctuary is interested in hosting an Online Experience (good Wi-Fi is needed!), helpful information on what an Online Experience is and how to do it successfully is on the Airbnb website. To help you brainstorm an Online Experience idea, see existing offerings on Airbnb. If you have questions, you can contact our GFAS-Airbnb representative, Stephanie Hong, at

Featured Sanctuaries

Equine Rescue League Foundation, Lovettsville, VA Celebrates 30 Years of Service

GFAS Verified Equine Rescue League Foundation (ERL) began with a promise 30 years ago, to a horse named “Bitsy” sold at a local auction. Just 5 years old, this Thoroughbred mare was too weak to stand, when ERL founder Pat Rogers pledged that although she could not save Bitsy, she would strive to provide refuge to as many abused and neglected equines as she could. Over the years, Pat, her daughter Cheryl, and their team have helped hundreds of horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules. Their large beautiful pastures among the rolling hills of Virginia provide a safe haven and place of healing for many equines-in-need.

We congratulate Equine Rescue League for their commitment to best practices and policies, ensuring the future success of this equine welfare organization for at least another thirty years. For more information, please visit

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, High Falls NY – A Rescue Effort

GFAS Accredited Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary is organizing a critical rescue effort during this unprecedented time of the Covid-19 pandemic. This sanctuary, founded in 2004, is a highly respected leader and advocate for the welfare of farmed animals who are commonly exploited and mistreated in animal agriculture. Woodstock Sanctuary is reaching out to farms pressured to “depopulate” their animals because of reduced markets, to consider relinquishing their animals to a network of farm sanctuaries. Farm sanctuaries can become involved in this effort by contacting .

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary is located on 150 acres in NY state and home to 358 animals including rabbits, cows, ducks, pigs, chickens, goats, turkeys, and sheep. They have extensive education and outreach activities and much more can be learned by visiting, http://woodstocksanctuary. org/

Rescate Animal Zoo Ave: A legacy in Central America!

GFAS is proud to partner with Accredited, Rescate Animal Zoo Ave, a long-time conservation champion for wildlife in Costa Rica. Located in the province of Alajuela, Rescate Animal is a wildlife rehabilitation facility that protects and restores the country’s biodiversity through the rehabilitation and release of thousands of birds, primates and reptiles each year. Zoo Ave is the non-profit organization that was created to fund the life saving work of Rescate Animal. Together, this group is credited with facilitating the return of many threatened species to the wilds of Costa Rica. In 2017, GFAS awarded Dennis Janik, Executive Director of Rescate Animal with the Carole Noon Award.

Dennis Janik became aware of Costa Rica’s critical environmental status in the late 1980’s, sold his business in Canada and relocated to Costa Rica determined to help restore the country’s diminishing wildlife. Janik spent his life savings to create animal care facilities and buy land for two wildlife refuges that serve as release sites. Over the course of two decades, through trial and error, Dennis developed vital animal care protocols and innovative release strategies for dozens of native species. These protocols developed into a wildlife care manual that the government published for the benefit of animal care facilities throughout Latin America. In 2006, Janik helped to write the current wildlife conservation law that bans sport hunting and the keeping of wildlife as pets in Costa Rica.

Thank you, Dennis Janik and Rescate Animal for your commitment to protect and restore Costa Rica’s amazing biodiversity. Learn more about Rescate Animal here:

GFAS Renewals

Over the past month, we have re-certified three organizations, and two groups transitioned from Verified to Accredited status! Congratulations to those current groups achieving re-certification!


Colorado Horse Rescue, Colorado
Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation, Oklahoma
White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue, Virginia

Transition from Verified to Accredited

Little Longears Mini Donkey Rescue, Maryland
Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, New York

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