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Jenny Brown lost her leg below the knee when she was just 10 years old. Today, as a grown woman, animal activist and book author, she runs a farm animal sanctuary dedicated to helping abused and neglected animals, some of whom are also amputees.
“We [the people at the sanctuary] don’t treat the animals with special needs any different than we treat the others,” Brown told ABC News. “They’re no less valuable or worthy of our attention or affection. I would hate it if someone treated me that way.”
The people at Woodstock Sanctuary “go the extra mile for those animals, we are their only option,” Brown said. One sheep has a 3-D printed leg. And a goat who refuses to keep his prosthetic leg on has now been given a front leg cart instead.
And while she does feel a special connection to the animals who are, like her, amputees, she is passionate about giving every one of the 200 animals at the sanctuary the “fantasy farm life.” She’s dedicated her life to the cause of helping farm animals, to educating the masses on seeing them in a different light — more than commodities, she said.
Brown said awareness is spreading, and because of that, she’s just moved Woodstock Sanctuary from 23 acres in Woodstock, New York, to nearby High Falls, where she has 150 acres and the capacity to take in three to four times as many animals as she has now.
“I got really tired of having to say no to animals in need,” she said. “Now, more can come live with us to ripe old age and get great veterinary care, pain medication, anything they need.”
Her mission to save farm animals, however, didn’t start with a goat or a sheep. Her story began with a cat.
“When I was going through chemo, I couldn’t go to school. My mom worked nights and slept during the day. My constant companion was my cat,” she said. It was cancer that forced Brown’s below-the-knee amputation.
“She [her cat] is truly the one who led me to see animals in a different light,” Brown said, noting that the animals on the farm are treated in the same way a person might treat their beloved pet.
Though the sanctuary is growing, it still has financial needs that Brown hopes will be met through the awareness the animals themselves bring when people visit.
“People are so disconnected form nature. They come and it’s like they’re living out a fantasy of rubbing pig bellies and frolicking with goats. We try to educate with a gentle message, because it’s what we find most effective. The animals themselves are the greatest ambassadors. They have amazing stories to tell,” Brown said.