About Otter Creek Animal Sanctuary and Shelter


In the world of animal rescue, which dates back to the Victorian era,  most of the activity in Canada revolves around local Humane Societies, mostly as shelters, some of which garnish a small amount of government funding but all of which have elaborate fund raising departments, in essence the life blood of any animal rescue facility. To a lesser extent there are privately operated animal shelters, and even fewer sanctuaries where farm animals, for example, are permanently cared for. It is in this latter category we focus on.
We offer a sanctuary setting as well as a shelter for domestic animals with whom we work hard with to rehabilitate with the goal of adopting them out to families who can and will adequately and responsibly care for them. Forever homes. We also believe and support end of life palliative care for all animals irrespective of time required or cost. All lives in our facility matter to us.  We believe in the living with dignity, and medically assisted living philosophy with medical assistance to control any discomfort that reduces a quality of life in any of the animals we care for. In this sense we are rather unique. We have taken in upwards of 150 animals so far.
Every private rescue establishment has its own approach to making a difference for non-human animals and each puts its own brand of love and ceaseless unpaid labor into this similar and worthwhile cause. In our case, we believe that the non-human animals which we take in sometimes have to overcome anger, fear or mistrust or trauma that might have followed a life of abuse and/ or abandonment. This takes time, energy and money to accomplish. In fact, given the several hundred animals we have cared for in the last five years the costs easily extend beyond the one hundred thousand dollar a year mark, taking into account veterinary and special food bills but excluding infrastructure costs.
We believe that the animals in our care require a peaceful and generous amount of space to recover, free of a petting zoo environment which is why we have four barns, five outdoor heated and air conditioned buildings and a large house that is available to these animals. To achieve this also takes a great deal of patience and time, a singular determination to make a difference rather than just to move the animals along and repeat the vicious cycle of abandonment. When we have reached a capacity of providing first rate care, we will not take in more animals. The need we realize is endless but the quality of work we do is something we will not compromise.
We do offer small group tours when it is clear the animals will not suffer from such visits. Funds from these tours are used to buy ongoing food.
Otter Creek Animal Sanctuary and Shelter is located on a fifty acre certifiable organic cash cropping historical waterfront farm. Ten spacious acres have been permanently set aside for the compassionate care of marginalized animals.  The policing voice of animal abuse, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) has inspected our setup on four voluntarily complied visits during the last five years and found our animals to be more than well cared for in all respects.
We are under no illusion that we can change the world. Rather, we believe that the care we provide will mean the world of difference to the animals we have accepted and who allow us to enrich their lives. In doing so, we also enrich our lives as members of a team of compassionate animal caretakers.
If you would like to further this cause, consider joining our TEAM, either on a paid basis or for the many volunteer positions we offer, some of which are live in. We have a job postings link above for paid work, and plenty of casual volunteer opportunities.
Our project has continued to grow thanks to the generous help of many  local veterinarians who have lowered their rates, food companies (for animals and humans alike) that  have subsidized us and  provided delivery services, tradesmen who  have provided infrastructure labor at a discount, and the list grows. Our Board of Directors who are listed on this site, include some of the leaders in our wonderful animal friendly town of Smiths Falls and an animal rescue coordinator who resides in our nation’s capital city.  It has been a team effort   that has made this sanctuary and shelter possible. But we still need your help to make a difference to these needy animals, both in terms of physical labor and donations of various sorts.

Will you pause for PAWS?