Fundraising drive aims to save Prince William Co. animal sanctuary

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This is Huey, a 3-year-old Holstein steer.

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Violet and Delilah are resident donkeys.

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The farm has many pigs.

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A Prince William County, Virginia, animal sanctuary and working farm could be in trouble now that the land it sits on is up for sale.

The nonprofit Hope & Serenity Farm Sanctuary, which remains open during the COVID-19 pandemic, has almost 150 rescued animals that visitors can learn about and interact with.

“We work with people with disabilities, people with depression/anxiety and PTSD,” said manager and founder Renee Small, a retired veterinary technician. “So many people have said that Hope & Serenity has rescued them.”

The sanctuary also welcomes families, school groups and volunteers.

Before the sanctuary arrived, the majority of the animals at the farm had been abused, neglected or abandoned.

“This is the last stop for most of the animals that are here,” Small said. “We have at least six horses that are 25 years or older. Most of those in another situation would go to slaughter or are put down.”

The ultimate goal of the organization is to foster relationships. “It’s really important for the animals to have people that come that are invested in them emotionally, and it’s a win-win situation,” Small said.

But the sanctuary rents its space on 11 acres in Nokesville, and now Small is hoping to buy the property, which is currently listed at $895,000.

She and her husband have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise the $100,000 that would cover the down payment.

“It is our understanding that the landlord has not been paying the mortgage with the rent monies that we’ve provided, so there’s a possibility that this … property will go to foreclosure,” Small said. “So we may have only six months to a year to come up with the down payment.”

They’re also looking for investors willing to possibly team up with them to make the purchase.

As of Friday night, the fundraiser had collected more than $7,200.

“There isn’t a Plan B because honestly, the Plan B is not one that most of us want to look at right now,” said Small. “I am a very optimistic person, and I believe that we will do it.”

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