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Saving a unique sanctuary

August 30, 2018 12:00 am Updated: August 30, 2018 02:49 pm

Eight years after Kurt Andernach first treated sick and injured pigs and hens in his backyard and founded the And-Hof Animals Sanctuary for Farm Animals + Permaculture, this unique animal hospital needs the public’s help to stay afloat.

A fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday as a way of letting the community know the cloistered animal clinic is on the job. The fundraiser will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the sanctuary.

You may well ask where this livestock haven is located. If you plan to attend the fundraiser, the And-Hof can be found at 25 Featherstone Road in Catskill. As Andernach describes it, “The sanctuary is a mile deep into the woods and surrounded by incredibly beautiful woods.”

The forest-ringed enclave is home to around 200 chickens, ducks, wild turkeys, pot-bellied pigs, sheep and goats that were abused or abandoned. They are all rescue animals that arrived at the sanctuary in need of immediate medical attention or special care.

Recently, though, Andernach has been forced to turn animals away from the sanctuary each week because funds to care for them are limited.

“It breaks my heart every time,” Andernach said. “Many times, when I say no to an animal, it’s a death sentence for that animal.”

Sustaining the And-Hof is costly. Andernach spends between $12,000 and $14,000 on average for medical care for the animals, staff salaries and maintenance of buildings and fences.

The And-Hof suggests a biblical paradise. Apart from the fences to keep the animals from escaping the sanctuary property, there are no cages or enclosures. The animals are free to roam whenever and wherever they please. Their only true restriction is they are not allowed to breed because space for new, incoming animals is at a premium.

Andernach’s sanctuary is both unparalleled and unheralded. Raising funds to keep this complex enterprise going is important, but bringing the sanctuary closer to the public eye might be more important. In the Middle Ages, sanctuary offered security, privacy and safety. Shining a light on this remarkable modern-day sanctuary could be a means of saving it.