By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
An animal rescue operation in southeast Wyoming is generating national attention since it was featured in a story by Cowboy State Daily last month.
Kindness Ranch, a 1,000-acre animal sanctuary near Hartville, specializes in rescuing animals that have been bred for, or used in, laboratory research.
A month ago, Cowboy State Daily sent a reporter and videographer to the sanctuary to document the arrival of 30 beagle pups. The pups were among 150 puppies that had been destined to be research animals before being rescued.
“The breeder in Virginia had recently come under some scrutiny from the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and public opinion, and wanted to step up and do the right thing,” said John Ramer, director of Kindness Ranch. “Cowboy State Daily got us an awful lot of publicity.”
Cowboy State Daily’s story, written by Jen Kocher and captured on video by Mike McCrimmon, caught the attention of some high-level social media influencers, including @goodnews_movement, a journalist-run Instagram page that has more than 4 million followers.
“The Good News Movement shared the story that Jen did, and it’s gone quite viral, and it’s still getting us attention and followers on all of our social media platforms,” Ramel said.
“This positive reporting that’s being done has increased our exposure astronomically,” he added. “We just recently were followed by, and had a brief conversation with, Sharon Osbourne, of all people, who offered to share any of our social media posts if we wanted her to.”
Other high-profile personalities who have become fans of Kindness Ranch since the story was released last month include fashion model Ashley Smouter, as well as Amy Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s wife.
All of this attention has brought nothing but good to Kindness Ranch, according to Ramer.
“We’ve had nearly 100 bags of dog food donated through our wish list,” he said. “And people are going to our website and our social media and seeing that we have more than just dogs – so we’ve gotten a lot of horse treats and cat food and cat treats donated, so it’s been beneficial all around for the sanctuary.”
Kindness Ranch may be the oldest, largest and possibly only sanctuary in the country dedicated to rescuing research animals, but Ramer pointed out that his organization is not the only one dedicated to the well-being of animals as a whole.
As Ramer was being interviewed by Cowboy State Daily for this story, he had just come off a plane from Virginia, where he and representatives from Homeward Trails in Virginia and Priceless Pets in California had just completed “part two” of last month’s beagle rescue. 150 more pups from the same breeder had been loaded up and driven away from futures as laboratory animals.
“Sue Bell from Homeward Trails has taken somewhere between 20 and 30 beagles to the Virginia area and surrounding areas around there,” he said, “and then our transport partners Priceless Pets with Charles and Lisa Price, who were also mentioned in the last article, they are transporting the remaining dogs across the country. Thirty-two are coming to Kindness Ranch and the rest are going to California.”
Ramer said Cowboy State Daily’s story and the resulting publicity helped ensure that more animals will be rescued from breeders like the one in Virginia.
“The facilities that give us animals are pleased with the fact that we don’t mention them by name, and we don’t bad mouth them or the work that they’re doing,” he said. “And that ensures that we’ll continue to get animals released to us.”
Of the 150 animals that were rescued in February, 140 of them have already been adopted by people from all around the country, Ramer said, adding that the 32 beagle puppies that are arriving at Kindness Ranch this week will be ready for adoption by April 1.
“They’ve all been through research or technical training of some sort, like hands-on practice animals for medical students and whatnot,” he explained. “They all have trust issues with people. We’re not in an extreme hurry to place all of our dogs, so if it takes a little bit longer for people to (adopt them) we’re more than willing to work with them.”