Animal Kingdom

Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary is home to a happy, healthy menagerie.

Photo by John Altdorfer


A posse of smiling pigs trots up to you, eager for belly rubs or snacks — either is fine by them. Around a corner, two watchful alpacas peer in your direction while they munch on hay. A pair of boisterous Chinese geese holler in the distance as a variety of their winged brethren wander about. An adolescent peacock struts past, trying to figure out how to best display his new plumage. This contented group of creatures seems perfectly pleased to be living at Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary, a hilly, nearly 8-acre refuge in Franklin Park.

Founder Karen Phillips is a full-time veterinarian who performs spay and neuter surgeries at the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania, Animal Friends and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society; she says it’s not just dogs and cats that find themselves at those facilities.

“The Humane Society and the ARL are open-door shelters — they’ll take in any animal that needs help,” she explains. While local shelters will do what they can for critters of all sizes, they’re not necessarily set up to house pigs or donkeys.

“I really wanted to be there to take a lot of the pressure off and give those animals a place to live,” Phillips explains. She established Hope Haven to provide a safe, comfortable place for farm animals that have been left at shelters, rescued by humane agencies or scheduled for slaughter. Today, more than 70 animals call Hope Haven home, and their number continues to grow.

The sanctuary is limited in size and can help only so many; it can’t take unwanted pets, for example. But Phillips hopes that sheltering these creatures and educating the public about them can make an impact. After all, she says, “It’s the little things that will end up making the most difference.”

Categories: Community Feature