Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves with Michelle Singleton. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves with Michelle Singleton. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Cowichan animal sanctuary gets international accreditation

A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Cowichan’s own A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary has earned the distinction of being the first farm sanctuary in Canada to be accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

The GFAS is the only globally recognized entity that provides standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries, so their nod is not just a feather in the cap of President Michelle Singleton but an assurance to all that the animals living under Singleton and company’s care are being well taken care of.

“Accreditation increases transparency and gives the public peace of mind knowing that their support is going to an upstanding and reputable organization based on a formal process that requires us to meet or exceed specific quality assurance standards,” Singleton explained. “It ensures our sanctuary is meeting objective standards to foster a culture of quality and safety for the animals in our care and for the people who are part of our community.”

A Home for Hooves was born from Singleton’s visit to another local sanctuary and her acquisition of Debbie, a 900-pound pig that needed a home. In September of 2017, thanks to her 900-pound house-guest, A Home for Hooves Farm Sanctuary was born.

“I wanted to take part in something that would make a positive impact in our community and do something that would make my daughter proud of her mother,” Singleton explained in her facility’s creation story.

According to GFAS, accreditation signifies that A Home for Hooves meets GFAS’s rigorous and peer-reviewed farm animal care standards which are then confirmed by a comprehensive site visit. Accreditation also indicates adherence to standards addressing the organization’s sustainability, ethics, finances, staffing, education outreach, security and safety and more.

In short, accreditation status means the public can trust A Home for Hooves with their donations, grants and support.

“We are proud to announce the accreditation of A Home for Hooves Farm Sanctuary Foundation,” said GFAS Program Director Daryl Tropea. “Michelle and her team ensure the highest level of humane and responsible care for every resident animal. Their animals, some who have special needs, enjoy natural and safe habitats with bushes to hide and mud holes to wallow. Although this is a fairly young organization, A Home for Hooves has been committed to providing best practices in care, governance and sanctuary management from their beginning.”

Singleton said being accountable to an outside authority has helped A Home for Hooves advance their planning policies and identify areas that may require change and improvement.

“This was a voluntary process that A Home for Hooves sought out as an opportunity for growth in order to ensure we are meeting international standards and providing the best quality of care for our residents,” she said.

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