Unexpected gift helps resolve land concern
Midwestern animal advocates have rallied to support a local refuge for pets and wildlife with varying needs.
“We are staying, and all of the residents are safe,” said Liberty Acres United Rescue Animal Sanctuary Director Shell Young. “We can continue our mission to save senior, geriatric, disabled and special needs animals.”
In recent months, area animal lovers became concerned about the future of Liberty Acres.
Despite its Liberty address, the sanctuary draws a lot of support from Wayne County residents. The rural acreage at 3546 E. Mitchell Road is just south of the Wayne County line, a bit southwest of Boston.
In December, Liberty Acres announced an unexpected financial hurdle.
In a letter to supporters, leaders noted that founder Gary Sigler had purchased the land to help pets and wildlife with a variety of special needs, with that vision coming to fruition in 2017.
However, when Sigler died in February 2022, he did not have a will or a transfer on death deed. Liberty Acres couldn’t just take over the payments for the moderate balance of the mortgage as he had told the executive director and board to do, the letter said.
The property went to a group of heirs who weren’t direct descendants, and because not all agreed to donate their share, it had to be sold at market value.
After learning of Liberty Acres’ situation, area residents rallied, providing donations through a GoFundMe webpage, T-shirt sales, private gifts and proceeds from an online auction of gift certificates and merchandise.
However, a surprise check for $21,000 in February from an Ohio business, LasikPlus Cincinnati, especially helped save the sanctuary.
Liberty Acres takes some of its adoptable animals each year to an adoption event in Cincinnati called My Furry Valentine. Through that event, Liberty Acres personnel have made friends who support their mission.
After learning that Liberty Acres was in danger of losing the sanctuary property, a LasikPlus employee, Shay O’Brien, approached her co-workers and boss at LasikPlus to see how they could help.
That check meant Liberty Acres was able to put half down to secure the property and then finance the rest.
Young was pleased that six cats and four dogs were adopted from this year’s My Furry Valentine. One dog, Mimi, had been with Liberty Acres for more than 3 years.
Now that Liberty Acres will be staying in place, its projects include fencing and improving the animal enclosures. It seeks area residents or businesses willing to donate fencing or fencing materials. It also needs a couple of pig shelters to be built or bought for its rescue pigs.
How to get involved
For more information about ways to support Liberty Acres United Rescue Animal Sanctuary, such as donating money, fencing or pig shelters, visit libertyacresunited.com, call 765-969-4782 or write to 3546 E. Mitchell Road, Liberty, IN 47353.
A version of this article appeared in the March 22 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.