WADENA — Jordana Pearson’s chickens have come home to roost — not in a bad way, but in a very literal sense.
The Wadena native started Haven Hill Animal Sanctuary in Williston, North Dakota, with a pair of roosters after she moved there almost two years ago with her husband, a Sebeka native.
“The reason I started it was because there’s a need for farmed animal sanctuaries in our world — at least in the vegan world,” she said. “And I wanted to do something more than just not eat meat, I guess.”
Pearson said she is hoping to spread the word about the 130-acre sanctuary she founded and maintains. Haven Hill Animal Sanctuary is dedicated to the welfare of farmed animals, such as the two roosters she obtained last month from other Minnesota-based sanctuaries.
“Since I was young, I just — for whatever reason — did not agree with the use of animals,” Pearson said. “When I was 13, I stopped eating meat … and I’ve continued to advocate for animal rights since that time.”
The 44-year-old mother graduated from Wadena-Deek Creek High School in 1998. She said she still has a home in Wadena for sale even though she relocated to North Dakota in 2022 to be with her husband, Scott Martini, who is not a vegan.
“I think it was 2001, there was actually a fur protest — a group went to Wadena — and I was a part of that,” Pearson said of her animal activism. “And I do know that there are people that don’t always understand the vegan lifestyle.”
She recently worked with Lil’ Cluckers Microsanctuary and Chicken Butt Microsanctuary in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area to obtain Little Richard and Pretzel, her rescued roosters.
“Little Richard was found in Richfield, Minnesota, after he wandered into someone’s yard, which is where his name came from,” Pearson said. “Little Richard had been attacked by another animal. The people that found him contacted Chicken Butt Microsanctuary.”
Chicken Butt Microsanctuary
is a vegan sanctuary for a small number of chickens in Minnesota, according to the nonprofit’s Facebook page.
“Chicken Butt provided Little Richard with access to emergency and ongoing veterinary care,” Pearson said. “As a result of the attack, he lost part of his wing. Chicken Butt Microsanctuary was able to care for him while he healed before transitioning to Haven Hill on Dec. 10.”
Pretzel was rescued from Pioneer Days in Ridgeland, Wisconsin, which holds an annual “chicken toss” and “greased pig contest,” according to Pearson.
“Each year, activists gather at Pioneer Days and rescue as many animals as they are able to,” she said. “However, the amount they can rescue is dependent on available homes. Pretzel was one of the lucky ones after being rescued in February by Lil’ Cluckers Microsanctuary.”
Pearson said Pretzel was cared for at a foster home with
Lil’ Cluckers Microsanctuary,
where he remained until he transferred to Haven Hill on Dec. 10.
“Pretzel suffered from frostbite before he was rescued,” Pearson said.
The animals are not utilized for their bodies or products at Haven Hill Animal Sanctuary, according to Pearson, and they are not used to reproduce at Pearson’s microsanctuary.
“We do not profit from the animals, and they are provided with protection from predators,” she said. “We have plans to grow a pollinator garden this spring for bees and other pollinating insects.”
Haven Hill Animal Sanctuary plans to begin taking in hooved residents such as cows, pigs and goats in the future once suitable housing becomes available.
“Although I’d love to be able to care for a large number of animals, this isn’t always a realistic and sustainable goal for most sanctuaries,” Pearson said.
She said her husband does not have a formal role in the sanctuary but did volunteer his time and knowledge by building the coop, and that he tends to other construction and repair needs.
“This sanctuary wouldn’t be possible without his support of my dreams,” Pearson said. “He actually grew up on a dairy farm, and so we don’t have the same views on veganism, I guess you could say, but he is very supportive.”
Haven Hill Animal Sanctuary was named after the rolling hills in western North Dakota, according to Pearson, and people must drive up a hill and then back down it to arrive.
“If people want to reach out to me about an animal in need, I’d be able to talk to them about the possibility of them coming to my sanctuary,” she said. “But each case is different, and I would need to be able to make sure I could accommodate that animal’s needs.”
Pearson said Haven Hill Animal Sanctuary is a registered charitable organization in the state of North Dakota and is able to solicit donations.
“However, we are not tax-exempt, and donations are unfortunately not tax deductible,” Pearson said. “The overall goal is to become a 501(c)(3) so we can receive and provide those benefits.”
For more information about Haven Hill Animal Sanctuary, visit the sanctuary’s
FRANK LEE is the features writer for the Wadena Pioneer Journal. He may be reached at 218-631-6470 or at