Mike Stura is no stranger to the powerful highs and lows of animal rescue. This week, the longtime farm animal rescuer and Founder of Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue saved seven sheep, who most-likely escaped slaughter in New Jersey. Stura also saved a one-day-old three-legged lamb that would have been killed if it wasn’t for his heroic efforts.
“Sometimes you can’t explain things,” Stura told WAN with a laugh, referring to the extraordinary timing of these rescues. “I have to believe that there is something else making things happen.”
The remarkable turn of events started on February 28th when Stura learned about a newborn lamb that was in desperate need of lifesaving attention.
“I got a call about a one-day-old baby lamb who was born with only three legs. I went and got him from the farmer. He said the baby had gotten colostrum and drank from a bottle earlier on Sunday. He lied. I knew it was a very bad situation the second I saw him in person,” Stura shared in a heartbreaking Facebook post.
That did not stop Stura from trying to help the ailing baby lamb as best as he could and provide him with the care and comfort he deserved in his final hours. That included keeping the precious little soul, who came from a nearby farm, inside of Stura’s home where he was giving him medication and sub-Q fluids.
“Poor kid didn’t make it through the night,” continued Stura. “So sad and upsetting. Rest in peace baby Koala.”
Then, 10 hours later, Stura explained that he received a call from Chief John DeCando who told him that he and his team from Paterson Animal Control worked alongside the Paterson Police Department to capture six of seven sheep that were believed to have escaped from a slaughterhouse, which was down the road from where they were found. No one has claimed the escaped sheep thus far, according to Stura, “they know better.”
As he often does in situations like this, the kind-hearted Chief reached out to Stura for assistance to ensure that the animals’ lives would be saved and they would not be slaughtered.
“We hooked up the trailer and headed out to get them and bring them to the sanctuary. While on the way, we received another call. This time, it was animal control in a nearby county, informing us that they just caught a sheep,” said Stura, who then advised them of the situation.
The three female sheep and four males are now at their new forever home at Skylands Sanctuary. While one male, who was just neutered may have to remain in quarantine for at least three weeks to recover, the remaining six sheep are already starting to join the sanctuary’s 43 other resident sheep.
“This was easy because we already have a giant barn for sheep,” stated Stura, further noting that sheep are fantastic animals that all get along. “They might push each other around a bit before realizing ‘oh, you are a sheep as well.’”
What was not easy, according to Stura, was watching the seven terrified sheep, who range in weight from 150 to 200 pounds each, cower in the corner of the trailer.
“They were so scared; they could not get off the trailer. “Stura said explaining how sad it was to witness these massive, strong, and powerful animals in that state. “They were petrified. They could run, but don’t.”
Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue never hesitates to help animals in need, however, the nonprofit needs assistance by way of financial donations to contribute to ongoing needs, including repairing broken machines and buying building materials, such as fencing for the 6.4 acres Stura recently purchased so that the animals have more room to graze. The extra acreage is especially important now that there are seven more mouths to feed.
Donations to help Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue operate and care for the hundreds of animals that call the farm sanctuary home, can be made HERE!
WAN Talks With Mike Stura, Founder Of Skylands Animal Sanctuary About Rescuing 7 Sheep Who Escaped Slaughter In New Jersey