New England

Guide to New England Animal Sanctuaries

Interested in helping New England’s rescued animals and the people who care for them? These New England animal sanctuaries are a great place to start.

By Bethany Bourgault

Jul 13 2022


Rescued raccoons in the process of rehabilitation at the New England Wildlife Center in South Weymouth, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit : Courtesy of the New England Wildlife Center/Dr. Greg Mertz

Volunteer your time, donate money or supplies, or even just spread the word about the great things these animal sanctuaries do — every effort helps improve the lives of the rescued (and yet-to-be rescued) animals in our own backyards.

New England Animal Sanctuaries

Peace Ridge Sanctuary | Penobscot, ME

As a catch-all sanctuary for both farm animals and pets alike, Peace Ridge Sanctuary offers a safe and secure home to any animal it has room for. It currently houses over 240 animals who’ve come from backgrounds of cruelty, neglect, or exploitation. Peace Ridge ensures that these animals have the clean space, care, and food they need to lead happy and healthy lives. Educational programs held at the sanctuary promote humane lifestyle choices and spread the words about social issues like animal abuse. Browse through the many ways you can help, listed on the sanctuary’s website, or call (207)326-9507 for more information.

Blue Star Equiculture Draft Horse Sanctuary | Palmer, MA

As profiled in the 2016 Yankee Magazine feature “The Promised Land,” the Blue Star Equiculture Draft Horse Sanctuary serves as a home to the great working horses who have spent their lives clearing our land, plowing our fields, and pulling our carriages in city parks. Volunteers and staff devote much time and effort to the care and love of these gentle hardworking giants. For more on Blue Star, visit their website or call (413)289-9787.

new england animal sanctuaries
Piper, Merlin & Benare are just three of the retired draft horses at the Blue Star Equiculture Draft Horse Sanctuary in Palmer, MA.
Photo Credit : Cheryle St. Onge

Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption and Education Center | Swanzey, NH

Dedicated to finding forever homes for retired racing greyhounds, Fast Friends facilitates the transition from life on the race track to life with humans, making them a favorite on our list of animal sanctuaries for canine-lovers. Greyhounds enjoy lots of attention, playtime, and love during their stays at the facility until they are ready to enjoy those same amenities with their new families. The center also offers grooming, boarding, daycare, and training for current dog parents. The center is volunteer-based and largely relies on both the proceeds from their many fundraising events and donations from the community. Check out their website for information on these events, or call them at (603)355-1556.

Mountain View Farm Animal Sanctuary | East Burke, VT

Situated in a peaceful and natural location, this sanctuary for larger animals like horses, sheep, pigs, and cows allows the once neglected and abused creatures to roam freely and live happily. It educates its visitors on the humane treatment of animals through both example and programs, including summer programs for young children. The sanctuary shares its 440 acres of rolling Vermont landscape with a picturesque inn, and guests are always welcome to visit the animals at their leisure. Visit the website or call (802) 626-9924 for more information.

VINE Sanctuary | Springfield, VT

What began as a small sanctuary for rescued chickens has grown into a multi-species rescue mission in Springfield, VT. It’s now home to chickens, geese, doves, ducks and pigeons rescued from lives of cockfighting or zoo-confinement, and other animals like cows and sheep rescued from their respective animal industries. The sanctuary works tirelessly on rescues, rehabilitation, and educating the public in the hopes that animal cruelty may someday brought to an end. Learn about the many ways you can help (including donating and volunteering) on the sanctuary’s website, or contact its staff through their online contact form.

Animal Adventures Family Zoo and Rescue Center | Bolton, MA

This haven for abandoned, orphaned, and neglected exotic animals is one of the animal sanctuaries that places a heavy emphasis on education. Programs like school field trips and presentations and other events like birthday parties and corporate visits help the staff at Animal Adventures spread the word about proper animal care prevent future neglect. The animals they tend to are cared for with exemplary compassion and expertise. Check out their website for information on visiting the zoo, or call (978)779-8988 to ask how you can help.

New England Wildlife Center | South Weymouth, MA

The New England Wildlife center (one of our favorite animal sanctuaries thanks to their engaging Facebook page) is an extensive hub of education, veterinary medicine, and sanctuary for a wide variety of animals. Between the Odd Pet Vet and the Jane Carlee Wildlife Hospital, it seems as though the New England Wildlife Center is equipped to treat just about any critter that finds itself there. The center is committed to returning animals to their natural environments after they are rehabilitated. Contact them through the form on their website, or call them at (781)682-4878.

Maple Farm Sanctuary | Mendon, MA

Maple Farm Sanctuary is dedicated to the lifelong care of over 100 abused, neglected, abandoned or unwanted farm animals. Its founders were inspired to start the sanctuary after both had heart-wrenching experiences in animal-related industries, where they were able to witness firsthand the cruelty that for-profit animals are treated with. The sanctuary’s staff passionately believes in the dignity and protection of farm animals that would have otherwise been slaughtered or abused by the meat, dairy and fur industries, and encourages veganism as a lifestyle choice. Check out their website for information on donating, volunteering, sponsoring an animal or scheduling a tour, or call them at (508)473-7539.

Sunny Meadow Sanctuary | Holden, MA

Sunny Meadow Sanctuary provides wide, open fields for rescued farm animals to roam and graze freely. The natural environment greatly reduces stress for these animals that have survived horrors as part of various industries. The center is entirely volunteer-run, and gives tours on specific dates.

Our Companions Animal Rescue | Manchester and Ashford, CT

Dedicated to the lifelong care of abused or unwanted pets, this animal sanctuary rescues and tends to older or traumatized animals that would have been otherwise been euthanized at other shelters. Its staff is trained to respond to animals who have been through harrowing ordeals, and the shelter provides a cozy and predictable, low-stress environment for them to adjust to normalcy in. Adoptions, volunteers, and donations are always appreciated. The center also offers educational opportunities, spaying and neutering procedures, and animal training courses. Email the center through its website, or call (860)242-9999.

Foster Parrots | Hope Valley, RI

As the largest bird rescue organization in the northeast, the 25,000-square-foot facility at Foster Parrots is home to over 400 displaced birds (and a few other animals, too), making it one of the most unique animal sanctuaries in New England. Its staff believes in the freedom and dignity of all wild animals, and believes that “no cage is big enough” for an animal that should be able to fly free. The sanctuary allows adoptions, runs educational programs about the environment and proper animal care, and provides life-long care to animals in need.Email the center through its website. Donations and volunteers are always welcome, and tours of the facility can be arranged by appointment.

Are we missing any New England animal sanctuaries on our list? Let us know!

This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.

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