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Pets Alive Sanctuary “Like Auschwitz”

After founder Sara Whalen died in March, visitors to her Pets Alive animal sanctuary found something completely unexpected: “600 sick and neglected animals were found locked in filthy kennels” at the Middletown, New York facility. Kerry Clair, a former employee of Whalen’s, said, “You could volunteer for a year and not realize what was wrong, because she was careful to let you see only the good part.” Leslie Farney, who recently adopted a diseased and neglected dog said “the place looked like Auschwitz.”

It seems Whalen had good intentions, but her illness and lack of resources eventually caught up with her. Efforts are being made to rehabilitate the sanctuary and re-rescue the animals, spearheaded by Utah-based Best Friends Sanctuary, and with support from Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    Wow. Maybe the brain cancer impaired Sara Whalen’s judgment…

    Between this case and the Reno bunnies, Best Friends is becoming a rescue for rescues.

  2. Comment by


    on #

    Sara had limited funds, people, and resources. She did what she could, up and till the time that she couldn’t anymore. the cancer never impaired her judgement, it was the lack of good people, and we all know as animal lovers that in this world of human selfish technology that the sub species are last,even though we try. how many times, in my association between my human friends and have a good fur friend pass on and only to be told “it’s just an animal.” i have re-adjusted my friends and my priorities. you were not there…you do not know hunnypot…………….

  3. Comment by

    Dorothy Farley

    on #

    After having a dreadful phone conversation regarding my wish to adopt a beautiful litte log – I believe in late 2005 – Whalen told me I am not a responsible enough person to have a dog because I have a yard but it is not fenced. I told her I have had dogs my entire life and never lost one to being hit by a car, running away, I never tied a dog out…she still said I did not qualify to have a dog. When I saw the same photo of the dog a couple of weeks later I wrote to the Board of Directors advising them they were out of status for their charitable deductions as they never filed for the necessary papers from the government…I also suggested the animals were being hoarded by this woman. They wrote back saying the had nothing to do with the adoption of the animals only Whalen did. I rewrote another couple of weeks later and they never bothered to respond. Had someone looked into my complaint they might have saved the suffering of 600 animals, innocent creatures. Whalen told me she never liked animals until a dog rescue her young son (I think about 4 years old) after he disappeared whilst they were renting a cottage in “the country”….state police were involved in this incident. She told me once in awhile she would throw a scrap of food to this dog when her son asked her to….the dog obviously lived near the rental cottages. I believe the next day the dog found her son so she decided to save animals. I told her, after she repeatedly told me my not having a fence makes me unfit to own a dog, that I was the mother of three grown children and never misplaced a child overnight, involving police searching, just as I have never lost a dog. I do not believe she did everything she could to help animals, I do not believe her cancer caused her to make bad decisions, she was a control freak and the easiest thing to control is an animal. The Board of Directors were also totally responsible for this terrible abuse. As horrible as it sounds I was happy she died so that these animals could be freed from the suffering she caused them. Karma is real.