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

An Animals On Call program is a private virtual visit for your group! This could be for a birthday party, a special visitor for an event, or a surprise to bring a smile to someone’s day. We also have specific programs for schools and businesses – see below!

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. 

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 has a regular app that you use — Zoom, Google Meet, etc. — it will be easier for you to share your link with us. Otherwise, we can host you through the platform we regularly use, which is Google Meet. Google Meet is a free service and you do not need an account to use it.

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, 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. In that case we will aim to meet with other members of that animal’s species. 

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 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 the Education team at tourstaff@casanctuary.org. We look forward to working with you!

Tours

Our Public Tours season REOPENS on April 1st, 2023 and runs every weekend through November! Click here to book your reservation.

You MUST have a pre-booked reservation in order to visit Catskill Animal Sanctuary. For the safety of our animal residents and our guests, drop-in visits of any kind are not permitted.

COVID Safety Procedures (Updated March 2023):
  • Based on CDC Recommendations and NYS policies, we are no longer requiring proof of vaccination or masks (indoors or outdoors) to visit Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
  • We ask that visitors please respect Tour Staff’s personal decisions to be wearing masks as they interact with a wide variety of guests.
  • We will continue to encourage (not require) limited occupancy and mask-wearing in our small, indoor Welcome Hut and restroom trailers.
  • All visitors must agree to this statement: I understand that due to the highly contagious nature of this virus that even with safety measures in place I may be potentially at risk because I am around other people. I waive Catskill Animal Sanctuary of any responsibility if I contract COVID-19 from this or any visit.
  • If you have booked a tour and are experiencing a fever or other COVID symptoms or have tested positive for COVID in the past 5 days, please stay home! We will help you reschedule your tour for another weekend.
Thank you for understanding — and for helping all of us to stay safe.
If you have any additional questions, please email tourstaff@casanctuary.org

We also have live-streaming programs and video calls that you’ll love! You can schedule a virtual visit or 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. All visits must be scheduled or booked in advance. Thank you for understanding!

You may be interested in our Day Pass offering, which allows guests to roam the Sanctuary all-day long at their leisure. Day Pass reservations MUST be booked in advance: please click here for more information.

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, so please dress accordingly. 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 — but we can work with you to try to reschedule a visit.

Of course! We love having children at the Sanctuary! There is nothing more wonderful than watching their faces light up when interacting with friendly goats, pigs, chickens and cows. We are a mission-driven organization, so during the tour we do talk about the plight of animals. But our tour guides are highly trained to be mindful of the makeup of the tour group. This includes adjusting the content and language of the tour depending on the age of the participants. 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-focused tour, designed for maximum youth engagement.

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 pet certain animals.

We know how fun it can be to feed animals. However, many of our friends are on special diets. For a few, the wrong food could be life threatening. Plus, too many feeding opportunities can cause bad behavior. Your tour guide may instruct you in feeding small snacks to an animal from natural material growing in their yard — like clovers for turkeys. Thank you for understanding and not feeding the animals outside of these supervised opportunities

We love dogs, but for the safety of our animals we have to ask that you please leave them at home. This includes leaving them in your car with the air conditioning on, as this is a violation of state law in New York. If a companion animal is found unattended on Sanctuary grounds or in parking areas, staff may call the police to investigate per state law.

Our unique Day Passes offer guests the chance to roam the grounds from 10am-3pm at their own pace, saying “hello” to as many of our animal residents as they might find along the way! Your Day Pass reservation comes with a complimentary 60-or–90-min tour of your choice, but it is not required. Click here to book your Day Pass reservation!

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 schedule your tour or day pass reservation in advance, and agree to our safety guidelines. This rule applies to general visitors, Sanctuary Members, and Animal Sponsors. Thank you for understanding!

Private tours are for groups of up to 10 people that are booked specifically for your group! These are available on weekdays year-round, and weekends in the winter when public tours are closed. Private tours must be booked in advance. Check out our calendar for availability. 

Weekend Public Tour Prices:

$22 for Adults

$12 for Children 3-12

$2 for Children Under 3

$12 for Veterans

FREE for Sanctuary Members

We have more than 200 rescued farmed animals.

Ten species of beautiful farmed animals call Catskill Animal Sanctuary home, including horses, donkeys, cows, pigs and 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.

The main paths of our tour route are on gravel roads which wheelchair users can generally traverse with ease. However, we do occasionally head into some animal enclosures with muddy, steep or uneven terrain, so you may have to use your best judgement based on your needs in these scenarios. In any case, our staff will always ensure you have the most fulfilling tour experience possible, and, if necessary, will hang out right by the fence so you can still participate, interact with the animals and listen in on the dialogue.
Both our restroom trailers and our Welcome Hut/Merchandise store are wheelchair accessible.
Our tour is a walking tour and, particularly on hot weather days, can get tiring! For folks with mobility issues, you can always let your tour guide know if you need to take a break by sitting down inside our Welcome Hut or on one of our outdoor benches, or, alternatively, you may wish to take our shorter, 60-minute Family Focused Tour option.
If you have any accessibility concerns regarding your visit, please contact us at tourstaff@casanctuary.org and we will do our absolute best to ensure your experience at our Sanctuary is comfortable, safe and accommodating.

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 2023: 

  •  Monday, 5/29 (Memorial Day)
  • Monday, 9/4 (Labor Day)
  • Monday, 10/9 (Indigenous Peoples’ Day)

Absolutely! Group tours are booked by appointment only and must be scheduled at least 7 days in advance. We require 11 or more ticket purchases for your group.

Please complete a request form for your group and a staff member will be in contact soon!
Nonprofits & Schools: Group Tour Request Form
General Group Tour Request Form

HPAI H5N1 (highly pathogenic avian flu) has reached our region. Because of the highly transmissible and deadly nature of this strain of Avian Flu, we recommend that you seriously reconsider visiting at this time if you have a flock. You can learn more about our avian flu prevention efforts here and in the meantime please visit us virtually with our Animals On Call program!

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, as well as discounted Private Tours all-year round. For more information on ways you can visit the Sanctuary as a member, click here.

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.  After an animal is placed in an adoptive home, frequent follow up visits will take place to ensure the animal is happy and healthy.  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, as much as love as your indoor companions; 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.

If you’ve bonded with someone specific, please let us know their name. We will be happy to see if they are adoptable and a good match for your home. 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.