Where unwanted animals are wanted

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Kit Collins, co-owner of Out to Pasture Animal sanctuary treats Sergio the donkey and Singer the retired racehorse to some nibbles.Kit Collins knows the story of each animal at the Out to Pasture Sanctuary in Estacada.

Considering there are more than 100 animals living there, Collins’ memory is impressive.

There’s the donkey named Sergio, who was so terrified of humans that it took more than four hours to coax him into the trailer to take him to the sanctuary.

There’s Simon the pig, who was kept in a stall without bedding for two years.

A big, friendly black and white goat that was chained to a doghouse on a short lead for two years.

A 30-year-old ex-racehorse.

The aggressive turkey that now acts as a bouncer for the sanctuary’s many roosters.

The genetically modified turkey, bred to continuously gain weight until slaughter. He’s now so heavy he can’t lift himself.

“He’s not going to get any better, and he’s probably not going to live very long, but we’re not going to kill him,” Collins said.

There’s a little lamb that a Portland woman went to great lengths to save.

The woman went to work on her grandfather’s sheep farm on the other side of the country. Bottle-feeding the lamb, she grew attached and couldn’t bear to have it slaughtered. She acquired a companion animal certificate and brought the lamb (by plane) to Oregon.

She asked Collins if the lamb could stay at the sanctuary.

Of course Collins said yes.

The woman is now a volunteer at the sanctuary, and visits the lamb frequently.

The Out to Pasture Sanctuary was born in 1988 after Kit and her husband John Collins heard a knock on their door one day. A neighbor had bought a starving horse that had been abandoned in a field. But the neighbor’s husband said they couldn’t keep the horse.

“I hadn’t even seen the horse. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll take him,’” Kit Collins said.

The Collinses began to take in more and more animals.

Kit Collins estimates there are now 150 animals at the sanctuary.

“We usually take the animals that no one can adopt out,” she said.

Many of the animals have sad stories of abuse or neglect. Others come from owners who suffered divorce or foreclosure and lost the space to keep the animals. The sanctuary takes these animals too, and lets their owners visit.

There are pigs, about 50 roosters (many are from Portland backyard farms), llamas, hens, goats, a donkey, a horse, turkeys, roughly a dozen domestic cats and three times as many feral cats (which have been spayed or neutered and vaccinated).

“Just the number of animals that need a home — it’s mind blowing. I can’t believe how many calls we get,” Kit Collins said.

She and her husband haven’t eaten meat since the 1970s.

John Collins works as a naturopath in Portland; Kit works in his office.

Being away from their sanctuary animals for their jobs means they have to rely heavily on volunteer help to keep the place running smoothly.

The sanctuary is a nonprofit organization and does not have any paid employees.

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Goats supervise this volunteer. They later attempted to eat the reporter's notebook and confiscate her camera.Kit Collins estimates there are about 50 volunteers who help out in cooler weather, fewer in the summer. Many have connected with the Collinses through their mutual interest in veganism and animal rights and welfare.

Most of the volunteers are from Portland.

“I’d like to get more local volunteers,” Kit Collins said.

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Volunteer Melissa Li poses with a rambunctious lamb.In that vein, Out to Pasture Sanctuary will hold an open house from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, July 27.

The event will give people an opportunity to meet the animals.

A free vegan barbecue will be served with vegan desserts.

There also will be blueberry picking, sack races, door prizes and a vegan cupcake walk.

The Out to Pasture Sanctuary is at 33190 S.E. Regan Hill Road.

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