Frequently Asked Questions

General

After months of research, travel and internships at successful farm sanctuaries across the United States, founders Kathy Stevens  and Jesse Moore opened Catskill Animal Sanctuary in January 2001 in Kerhonkson, NY. Our first resident was Dino, the survivor of a Brooklyn arson that killed 23 horses. For more on our history and mission, click here .

We’re not far from where Catskill Game Farm used to be, but we are two very different places. We opened in 2001; the game farm closed in 2006. The names are similar enough that people sometimes confuse us. We know a lot of people have happy childhood memories of the game farm, but sadly life behind the scenes wasn’t so good for the animals. Some of our residents, like Rudy and Patty, came here when the Game Farm closed and are still here to this day!

We are a farmed animal sanctuary, so unfortunately we cannot rescue cats or dogs. If you need to rehome a cat or dog, we encourage you to contact your local No Kill shelter.

Our hearts are with you; please contact your veterinarian.

Our Sanctuary is pronounced Cat-skill, and we’re named after the Catskill Mountains that form the beautiful backdrop of our 150 acres. The Dutch settled the area, and their word for creek, kill, ends the name of many towns in the area, including Fishkill, Peekskill, Bushkill and Plattekill.

Animals On Call

Animals On Call is the name for all of our private virtual programs. These can be 30 minute video tours for friends & family, virtual field trips for schools, or cameos in your video calls.

The animals, of course! We’ll talk about who they are and how they came to be at the Sanctuary, as well as the Sanctuary’s history and mission. Depending on the length of the program and the ages of the participants, we’ll also talk about the plight of farmed animals, the effects of animal agriculture, and making animal-friendly choices.

The programs are interactive so you and your group will have plenty of opportunities to talk with your educator and ask questions!

As many as you want! We’ve done calls with anywhere from one to 250 people at one time. Just note that the video conferencing platform that you use may limit the number of people in a call, depending on your account settings

Programs range from 15 minutes to 60 minutes with most running 30 minutes. It depends on what your group is interested in and what their ages are. We’ve found that even younger children can be engaged for a half hour or more!

Definitely! We keep the program as interactive as possible. Your educator will engage your group with questions and invite participants to ask questions of their own, either verbally or in the text chat. 

Tours are generally available every half hour, with the first available tour beginning at 8 am ET and the last tour beginning at 5 pm ET. Times may vary depending on the season, weather, and staff availability so please check the calendar for the most up-to-date hours. Virtual tours can fill up fast, so we encourage you to book as soon as possible if you have a specific date in mind. 

Please reach out to us ASAP so we can free up your slot for another group! If you cancel with less than 24 hours notice, we may not be able to refund your program, but we will work with you to reschedule at no additional cost.

You can reach email us at tourstaff@casanctuary.org or call the phone extension for your program host that you received after booking.

Our staff does everything possible to predict and avoid technological problems like dead zones in our internet coverage. However, we are in a rural location which does occasionally experience connection interruptions, and unforeseen issues can arise. Generally these interruptions last a few seconds – and they rarely happen at all! If there are significant connection problems, or other issues such as a platform-wide outage that is outside of our control, we can reschedule your program.

If there is heavy rain, we’ll keep most of the tour inside the main barn in order to protect our camera equipment (and that’s where most of the animals will be, anyway!). Severe weather may also reduce our internet capabilities, in which case we may need to reschedule. We can also reschedule if the sanctuary or your group experience a power outage.

If your group does not regularly use a certain platform, we can host your tour on our RingCentral account. You don’t need your own RingCentral account to use it, but you will need to download the RingCentral application to your phone, tablet, or computer.

Our ability to offer support with video platforms is limited. If you are a business, school, or other organization, please contact your tech support. You can also visit the webpage of the platform to learn more about using it.

Nope! You just need an internet connection and a computer, laptop, tablet, or cell phone with the correct platform loaded onto it. If you have a group who are all in the same place to see the tour, like a classroom, you can use your SmartBoard or other projection system. You should also have a microphone and ideally a webcam, so that we will be able to hear and see your group.

We do our very best to accommodate requests for specific animals, but we can’t guarantee that a particular individual will be available for your tour. They all have their own schedules that may make them hard to find, or place them out of range of the internet. They might be asleep, eating, having a medical check-up, or just not in the mood for company. In that case we will aim to meet with other members of that animal’s species. For example, if Violet the goat can’t make an appearance, we’ll check in with Leah, Poppy, Nellie, and the rest of their goat herd, which includes Violet’s mother and sisters.

If everyone is calling in from multiple locations it’s best to have folks keep themselves on mute, unless they would like to ask a question. For large groups, it’s helpful to have participants use a signal like raising their hand (either on screen or using an in-app “raise hand” button) to indicate that they have something to share and then they can be called on and unmuted. Participants are also welcome to use the text chat throughout the program!

If everyone is in one place, like a classroom, please encourage them to all be seated and ready prior to the call. We also like to remind students to focus on the speaker – whether that is the educator on screen, their teacher, or a classmate. If there is a lot of background noise it’s very hard for us to hear!

Groups with younger people can also prepare them by asking them questions about animal sanctuaries – for example, what type of work sanctuaries do and what does it mean to provide sanctuary.

We love being a surprise! Just let us know. We’ll join the call with the camera pointing towards the animals, and we can wait until people notice their special guest or until you announce our arrival. We can’t wait to bring some smiles to your group!

A member of the Educational Programming Team will host your Animals on Call session. Special tours can also be arranged with Sanctuary Founder Kathy Stevens (please email tourstaff@casanctuary.org to schedule a Founder-led tour).

The best way to be in touch is via email. You can reach out to Andrea, Lauren, and Camryn at tourstaff@casanctuary.org. We look forward to working with you!

Tours

We are DELIGHTED to announce that our public weekend tours season will commence May 1st, 2021. For safety reasons, tickets must be purchased online in advance and we are keeping tour numbers small. We are also still offering Member Tours and Sponsor Visits (by appointment).

Updated COVID Policy For Catskill Animal Sanctuary (as of May 19th, 2021):

  • Adults who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks. We will not ask for proof, but we ask you to respect the health and safety of others during your visit.
  • Based on the above CDC Recommendations we ask all non-vaccinated individuals to please continue to wear a mask for the safety of themselves and others on our tours.
  • If you have purchased a kid’s ticket (ages 3 and 12) those children will be required to wear a mask as the CDC/NYS recommendation does not yet cover this group because they cannot be “fully vaccinated.”
  • Children under 3 are welcome to return for tours, and are not required to wear masks.
  • Our Tour Staff will be wearing masks as they interact with a wide variety of guests and prefer to continue to wear masks at this time.
  • Please respect our decision for limited occupancy and continued mask wearing in our small, indoor Welcome Hut and inside the restrooms.

We also have live-streaming programs and video calls that you’ll love! Check out our Events page and social media for more. 

For the safety of our staff and rescued animals, we do not allow drop in visits. If you’d like to visit, you’ll need to be a Member of the Sanctuary, schedule your tour in advance, and agree to our safety guidelines. Thank you for understanding!

Our regular tours are approximately 90 minutes long. Our Family-Focused Tours are designed for maximum engagement with young children and are 60 minutes long. 

If you would like to schedule a shorter, private tour for your group, we encourage you to reach out to tourstaff@casanctuary.org with your request.

Any tour may be shortened or canceled due to extreme weather.

All Sanctuary tours are held rain or shine. However, in extreme weather, we may need to make adjustments to the start time and/or duration of your tour. If we cancel your tour due to weather, a full refund will be issued.

Unfortunately, as a small nonprofit organization, we are unable to issue ticket refunds if you are unable to attend.

Of course, we love having children at the Sanctuary! They are the future, and there is nothing more wonderful than watching their faces light up when interacting with friendly goats, pigs, chickens and cows. However, it is important to note that we are a mission-driven sanctuary, and during the tour we talk about the plight of farmed animals, which may be difficult for some young people.

Each of our tour guides is highly trained, and strives to be mindful of the makeup of their group, adjusting content and language accordingly.

Of course, you can always choose to step aside during any part of the tour; or, you can sign up for a slightly shorter family-friendly tour, designed for maximum youth engagement.

Gosh, we hope so! We try hard to make sure everyone gets the chance to experience the warmth and love that our animal residents provide. Our tour guides are trained to lead tours toward locations where there’s the greatest likelihood of animal connection, but the animals are the final decision makers. If they are sleepy, hot, or simply not in the mood, then it is possible that you might not get to hold or pet anyone. So, we can’t guarantee that you will.

We know how fun it can be to feed animals. However, allowing “snacks” encourages inappropriate behavior. Further, many of our friends had a tough life prior to coming to the Sanctuary and are on special diets. For a few, the wrong snack could be life threatening. For these reasons, we can’t let you feed them and are grateful for your understanding.

We love dogs, but for the safety of our animals we have to ask that you to please leave them at home. This even includes leaving them in your car with the air conditioning on, as this is a violation of state law in New York.

Unfortunately, we cannot let members of the public wander the Sanctuary grounds. This is to ensure the safety of both our residents and our visitors.

In gratitude for their support, we offer numerous perks to Sanctuary Members. These include: attending weekend public tours for free and being able to schedule off-season tours as available.

Weekend Public Tour Prices:

$15 for Adults

$8 for Children 3-12

$8 for Veterans

$0 for Sanctuary Members


Members-only tour prices are: $20 per person

We have more than 200 rescued farmed animals.

Eleven species of beautiful farmed animals call Catskill Animal Sanctuary home, including horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, potbelly pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys and ducks. You’ll also see lots of geese — some of whom live here officially, while others simply know a good hangout when they see one!

For the safety of our rescued animals and our human visitors, we do not allow any food on our tours. Snacks are available when the Welcome Hut is open, but please enjoy them before or after your tour. Also, out of respect for our community and our mission, we require that any food brought on site be vegan.

This one is complicated. Our tours do traverse some unpaved roads that can get muddy and messy, but the terrain is still mostly flat. So, you’ll have to use your best judgment, based on your needs. If it hasn’t rained much in the days leading up to your tour, the roads will be fine for wheelchairs and scooters, but a few of the residents’ yards are not wheelchair accessible. Fortunately, your tour guide will remain near the fence so you can still participate.

We have wheelchair accessible port-a-potties. Unfortunately we have to close the public restrooms in the off-season, due to winter weather, at which time tour goers use the restroom located in our office, which must be accessed by a short flight of stairs.

Absolutely! Please contact communications@casanctuary.org before joining a tour, so we’re able to greet you and answer any questions you may have.

We will be open on the following weekday holidays in 2021: 

  • Memorial Day – Monday, May 31
  • Independence Day – Monday, July 5
  • Labor Day – Monday, September 6

Absolutely! Group tours are booked by appointment only and must be scheduled at least 7 days in advance. We require a minimum of 10 registrants (or 10 ticket purchases) for your group. The group tour rate is $10 per person or $8 per person for schools and non-profits. Make an appointment for your group tour by emailing tourstaff@casanctuary.org

Sign Up Your School

Programs are available for all ages, from preschool to grade 12, as well as for scout groups, community programs and colleges. All program content is adjusted to ensure age and developmental appropriateness.

We can present to any size group, from an individual classroom to a multi-class auditorium. We can also present to different ages at the same time, though we ask that the groups’ ages are relatively similar to better serve the needs of the group as a whole.

We can also hold multiple sessions on a single day, either on different topics for the same group or on the same topic for multiple groups of students.

We need a projector system, computer, and wall, screen or other surface on which to project, plus a separate table for setting out educational materials.

The content varies for each program but, in general, all programs are presented in a highly interactive format through discussions and questions. Some programs include games to assist in the learning process, while others take a critical eye to media and marketing. Plus, there are plenty of pictures, videos and stories of the residents of Catskill Animal Sanctuary!

Programs are offered on a sliding scale thanks to grant support. We also always welcome and greatly appreciate additional donations.

Groups located more than 30 miles from the Sanctuary will be asked to cover travel costs, based on mileage and tolls. This amount is relatively minor, typically totaling $30 to $60, depending on where you are located. However, if you are a Title 1 school, we can waive the fee due to grant support!

We are located in Saugerties, NY, and serve the Hudson Valley, New York City and northern New Jersey regions.

The program fees are based on a sliding scale and we will work with any school that wants to participate in this program. Additionally, we welcome, and greatly appreciate donations. Groups located more than 30 miles from the Sanctuary will be asked to cover travel costs based on mileage and tolls. This amount is relatively minor, typically totaling $30 – $60, depending on where you are located. However, if you are a Title 1 School, we can waive the fee due to grant support!

While we are currently unable to write an entirely new program for your group, we’d be happy to customize one of our six program topics to focus on a particular interest.

For example, rainforests are covered in “Our Choices and the Environment,” but if your students have been focusing on rain forest diversity and habitats, we can expand this section to build on their experience.

To request customization, please contact Lauren Barbieri, Youth Programs Manager, at Lauren@casanctuary.org or +1 845 336 8447, ext. 200, at least two weeks prior to your program.

We are unable to bring any of our residents off-site at this time, but you can meet them if you sign up for a Sanctuary tour!

Youth programs are run by Lauren Barbieri, Youth Programs Manager, who has worked in science and environmental education since 2010 at state and national parks, as well as numerous schools in the Hudson Valley. She joined the Catskill Animal Sanctuary team in February 2017, with the goal of creating a kinder world for all beings through youth programming.

We recommend it! We offer tours for groups of all ages, and our Sanctuary tours and outreach programs complement each other by building on similar ideas to deepen the learning experience and connect the participants to the residents themselves.

To learn more about our tours for schools, visit our Private Tours Page and fill out a Group Tour Request.

Sponsor an Animal

Sponsorship is an easy way for animal lovers to directly help a Catskill Animal Sanctuary resident. A sponsor’s generosity pays for a portion of an animal’s food, bedding and medical care. Even if you can’t live with a cow, you can help provide a cow with a good life!

Sponsors are eligible for scheduled visits with their sponsored animal. Please email sponsorship@casanctuary.org to book!

People sponsor animals for a variety of reasons. Some want to reconnect with a particular species for whom they have fond childhood memories; others bond with an animal on a Sanctuary tour; and some people want an animal in their lives but can’t have one in their homes. Sponsorship is a meaningful way for all to connect with our mission and provide the ongoing support we need.

Yes! If you’ve bonded with someone specific, please let us know their name. If you don’t already have someone in mind, simply pick a species and we’ll match you with an animal friend. We know the personalities of our residents very well, so we’d be happy to help you find the perfect match!

Absolutely. When you’re donating, simply indicate that it’s a gift and include the recipient’s information, as well as any personal message. We’ll mail them a Sponsor Welcome Packet and, shortly before their sponsorship expires, we’ll contact you to determine whether you’d like to renew.

Sponsorship rates vary by species, and we have levels to suit every budget. Visit our Animal Sponsorship page for more information. You can choose to set up recurring monthly payments or pay once annually. Payments can be made online, over the phone, or by mail using a check or credit card. To pay by phone, call  +1 845 336 8447, ext. 201; to pay by mail, send your check or credit card information to Catskill Animal Sanctuary, at 316 Old Stage Road, Saugerties, NY, 12477.

We ask for a minimum commitment of one year.

Yes, Catskill Animal Sanctuary is 501(c)(3) charitable organization, so your donation is fully tax deductible.

If you have any further tax-related questions, please contact your tax adviser.

We are a leader among U.S. farmed animal sanctuaries and are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries for having the highest standards of animal care. The independent reviewer Charity Navigator awarded Catskill Animal Sanctuary with its highest rating of four stars for our commitment to accountability and transparency; and GuideStar awarded us its highest honor of Platinum. In fact, we’re the only farmed animal sanctuary that can boast all three!

If you’d like to learn more about the Sanctuary’s financial well-being, you’re welcome to review our tax filings with the IRS.

As a sponsor, one of your benefits will be a complimentary family membership to the Sanctuary, which entitles you to free weekend visits and discounted day passes from April through November. You’ll also be able to schedule tours year round. For more information on scheduling a tour, visit our Private Tours page.

Of course — and it’s free! You’ll spend 30 minutes with your sponsored animal and then be able to explore the grounds on your own.

Sponsor visits are typically offered Tuesday through Saturday; however, due the rapid growth of our animal sponsorship program, we can no longer accommodate day-of or other spontaneous sponsor visits and only allow scheduled quarterly visits. To schedule your free sponsor visit, email sponsorship@casanctuary.org at least three days in advance. Alternatively, you can visit your animal friend without scheduling a sponsor visit by purchasing a Day Pass.

No, an animal may have more than one sponsor; but, don’t worry, there’s plenty of love to go around!

While most residents are with us permanently because they have special needs or are unlikely to be adopted because of their size, we do try to find forever homes for as many animals as possible. This allows us to have room to rescue another animal in need. Therefore, there is a chance that your animal may be adopted and leave the Sanctuary. In this case, or if your animal dies, we’ll notify you, invite you to continue your sponsorship, and help you choose another special friend. There are many animals who need your love and support.

You can email sponsorship@casanctuary.org or call +1 845 336 8447, ext. 201.

Adopt an Animal

Catskill Animal Sanctuary is a rescue organization that seeks to save as many animals as possible while preserving the quality of life for animals who call the Sanctuary home. Most animals live out their lives with us because they have special needs or their size makes them an unlikely candidate for adoption; however, some animals are adoptable and, by finding them forever homes, we make room to rescue more animals in need.

We have an application process, which includes an interview and a home visit, to ensure a safe, healthy and loving home is being offered. Not everyone who applies is approved, and we reserve the right to remove an animal if we discover that their living conditions have deteriorated.

We look for individuals or families who can’t wait to welcome farmed animals as a way of enriching their lives; meet or exceed our adoption criteria (which differ for each animal); and, preferably, have experience with the animals they’re interested in adopting — although we don’t rule out interested first-timers who are ready to do their homework.

Adopting farmed animals is an important decision — not to be undertaken on a whim. Adoption may be right for you if you understand farmed animals need daily care and attention, and as much as love as your indoor campaigns; and have the time and financial resources to not only provide for their basic care (e.g., food, shelter, bedding, and health care), but also their needs in case of emergency.

Yes! If you’ve bonded with someone specific, please let us know their name. If you don’t already have someone in mind, simply pick a species and we’ll match you with an animal who needs a forever home.

Our specified adoption zone includes all towns within a two-hour drive of Saugerties, NY; however, under certain circumstances, will also consider an adoptive home up to four hours away.

Farmed animals are herd species and become distressed if they are the only one of their kind. Thus, under most circumstances, if you do not already have someone of a particular species, you will be asked to adopt more than one. Occasionally, though, we can adopt out a rabbit or potbelly pig who would fare well alone.

Sorry, no. It is against Sanctuary policy to adopt out horses for competitive riding.

No; however, if your animal is having health or behavioral issues, we may be able to refer you to someone who can help.

No. Animals only produce milk when they have a baby to feed. If we have a nursing mother at the Sanctuary, her milk is reserved for her baby. We don’t breed animals here, and breeding is against Sanctuary policy.

No. Living in a small classroom cage and being mishandled by children and taken home for the weekend to rotating families are highly stressful to sensitive rabbits.

Our adoption process includes a home and barn visit, as well as a meeting with all family members, so there’d be no way to keep your adoption a surprise. Your family member might not be ready or willing to take on the long-term commitment of caring for an animal, so we suggest surprising them with an animal sponsorship or a visit to the Sanctuary, which can begin a discussion about adopting.

Fees vary by species, and we ask for full payment at the time of transfer of guardianship.

Yes! Your donation is fully deductible. Please contact your tax advisor with any questions.

We are a leader among U.S. farmed animal sanctuaries and are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries for having the highest standards of animal care. The independent reviewer Charity Navigator awarded Catskill Animal Sanctuary with its highest rating of four stars for our commitment to accountability and transparency; and GuideStar awarded us its highest honor of Platinum. In fact, we’re the only farmed animal sanctuary that can boast all three!

If you’d like to learn more about the Sanctuary’s financial well-being, you’re welcome to review our tax filings with the IRS.