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Jul. 10, 2020 | Friday
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Rescued animals find summer sanctuary at Happy Rolph’s
The roosters at Happy Rolph's Animal Farm are some of the rescued animals finding a summer sanctuary at the St. Catharines park this year. (Courtesy of City of St. Catharines)

For the first time, the City of St. Catharines has worked with several animal rescue sanctuaries to house rescues at Happy Rolph’s for the season. This year about one-third of the 38 animals at the Read Road park are from rescue organizations, with the remainder from a local farm.

“This is a great opportunity for the City to give back in a positive way,” said Darrell Smith, the City's director of municipal works. “Most sanctuaries rely on volunteers and community support to keep running, and we have the facility and means to provide care to the animals to help alleviate costs for them. We will provide them with food, water and medical care and our time as well.”

This year the City worked with three rescue farms and sanctuaries as a pilot project, welcoming animals such as Teddy the horse from Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue, two pot-bellied pigs from Country Chic Pony Parties in Dunnville and five roosters from a rescue farm operated by Leah and Nathan Hawkins in the Port Colborne area. The rescues, which fill three of the seven animal pens, are complemented by animals provided by a local farm, including lambs, goats, donkeys, peacocks and more.

“We are looking at opportunities to educate the public on rescues, including signage with stories of the animals, and maybe it will help the rescues find someone interested in adopting one,” said Smith. “The park gets a lot of foot traffic compared to the sanctuaries, so it’s a great chance to raise awareness and give these animals extra attention. We’re excited to see how this goes and hope to expand it in future years.”

The animals can be viewed daily, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., until mid-October at the park, located at 850 Read Rd. The park itself - which also features a playground, picnic area and pavilion, two ponds home to a variety of waterfowl, a passive area and trails that overlook Lake Ontario - is open from dawn to dusk.