D & D Farm and Animal Sanctuary opens its gates for biannual open house

Sunday, August 1, 2010 | 7:31 p.m. CDT; updated 9:23 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 2, 2010
D&D Animal Sanctuary volunteer Donnie Morison watches one of the sanctuary's several tigers as he relates facts about large carnivores to a small crowd gathered around the enclosure. The sanctuary held an open house event Aug. 1, giving members of the public a rare chance to see the many exotic and endangered animals in residence there up-close.

 COLUMBIA — A Barbary lion was often the last thing a Roman gladiator saw in the coliseum.But it was the first thing approximately 500 visitors saw at the D & D Farm and Animal Sanctuary’s summer open house on Sunday.

Aslan, a male Barbary lion, is one of dozens of exotic and native animals that call the sanctuary home. His enclosure sits at the entrance, next to where Faith, a baby African lion, romped with Dale Tolentino, who has owned and operated the sanctuary with his wife, Debbie, since 1992.

“I would have liked to have been Noah,” Tolentino said in an interview, referring to the Biblical boat builders “Wouldn’t that have been fun?”

Feeding and maintaining tigers, cougars, pythons, macaws, and the rest of the animals is expensive, and events like Sunday’s open house help the Tolentinos keep the non profit sanctuary running.

“You put every cent that you make into the animals, and you live poor all the time … and that’s fine with us,” Tolentino said. “Our primary goal in life is to give these animals a safe place to live, and we enjoy sharing it with other people."

Sheila Jones, of Columbia, said that helping the sanctuary raise funds was a big reason she and her granddaughters, Sydney and Brooklyn, came to the open house.

“These people do work very hard at taking care of these animals, and they do need help,” Jones said.

Jones has come out to the sanctuary before and has friends who volunteer there. She said the sanctuary is a peaceful place for people as well as animals.

Doug Richey, of Sturgeon, brought his daughter, Aubrey, because she loves animals. Richey said it was good for her to be outside and around the animals.

Leah Shaw had heard about the sanctuary from some friends who volunteered and wanted to come out and support it. She’d love to come out and volunteer herself, but only if her schedule opens up, she said.

The sanctuary depends on volunteers who help with all the manual labor. One of those volunteers, Russell Boyt, called the sanctuary “Columbia’s best kept secret.”

“Where else can you pet a tortoise, a tiger and a lion at the same time?” Boyt said.

Boyt warns would-be volunteers to be ready to work hard and get dirty. At first, you won’t get to play soccer with wolves like Boyt does, but after proving your dedication and ability, maybe you’ll get some one-on-one time with a coatimundi.

D & D Farm and Animal Sanctuary is located at 6000 N. Creasy Spring Road about 15 minutes from downtown Columbia. More information is available on their Facebook page.

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carla thomas August 2, 2010 | 12:21 a.m.

does this sancuary take in dogs too???? if so please get intouch with me

there are alot of us on facebook who are trying to get dogs pulled from kill animal shelters before they are put to sleep!/carl...

if anyone can help us pull dogs from shelters that have a high kill rate we will appreciate it very much.

(Report Comment)
Lia Gutierrez August 30, 2010 | 9:22 a.m.

--or inculcated/self-absolving hard "moral" line when you are in fact effecting calamity, I do not know, I am not commenting about that history or a personal history too rife for probing.
But in this case-- there was ready militancy as a sham, out of self-protection, not out of belief that he did all he could for the animal, because he didn't, they didn't listen. So militancy was way out of place, remorse and honesty would have been in order. Of course people just are what they are, have limits, err; but still these things cannot be tolerated and accountability must be sought, that baby suffered because of them, and it was needless, out of how closed, ignorant, and insufficiently perspicacious and caring they were.

(Report Comment)
Lia Gutierrez August 30, 2010 | 10:37 a.m.

I came across this article trying to learn more about DD Farm, and it unfortunately comforted me and made me feel better about sending the rabbit there, so I wanted to comment.

(Report Comment)
Lia August 30, 2010 | 6:38 p.m.

A rabbit can die of fright at just the sight of a predator. She must have been terrified out at night, all the noises, if a predator did not ultimately get her. Bunnies cannot stand intense heat. There was also a cold night last week. She had never been outside. She had never dealt with swarming ants, spiders, flies, etc. Because of her deformed back legs, she could not even scratch her ears like a normal rabbit, if a bug crawled inside one of her ears. She had blue eyes. She went from a family to the Humane Society to a pet store to me to the killers. In a cage most of her life. I got sick when I got her, I was very allergic, and tried to place her right away to avoid further attachment. She had come from the pet store aggressive, and in two days with me that was gone, she had only needed kind attention. She jumped and raced all over my carpet, she loved to be pet, she followed me when I got up so that I would keep petting her, she rested her little head on the floor and lay still to be pet. She was scared to be moving again when I took her to give her to these people, her eyes were wide. I'm so sorry I gave her. I told them from day 1 to give her back to me if she did not seem okay, I told them all she needed, they heard me crying on the phone after I'd dropped her off, I begged them to keep her safe and to give her company. I tried to get her back a few days later, but they had killed her by then. She was all alone, scared, uncomfortable, getting sick, outside. If they did not feed her to a predator themselves.

The pet store did not want her and I'm pretty sure she was rarely out of that cage, so I looked for something else; these people were recommended by these misleading articles and a veterinary office, and they also have Animal Control in their pocket; Mr. Tolentino promised she would be okay; so I went with them, and they were incompetent and bad people after all.

(Report Comment)
Lia September 1, 2010 | 8:42 p.m.

What did he do to my animal to fear retribution. He was intimidated enough to threaten murder, he imagined a need for self-defense. What did he do for that displaced guilt to rise up in him. Monsters.

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