By Mary Smith
“Taking care of an animal requires the same amount of responsibility as having a child,” says Dan MacKenzie, owner and operator of the 7.5 acre Bonniedale Farm in North Scituate, Rhode Island. MacKenzie serves as parent and knight in shining armor to over a hundred animals. Bonniedale is the only safe haven in Rhode Island for pigs like Pinky, June, and Page who were headed to the slaughterhouse, and for a lama like Spooky whose short legs made him ineligible to compete in state fairs for cash prizes. The farm’s missionÂ is to rescue and rehabilitate animals in need. MacKenzie believes there is never a reason to execute an animal, and he provides shelter and protection for the animals at Bonniedale. The farm is more than an SPCA–in fact MacKenzie rescues animals who have been at the SPCA for too long, giving them a temporary or a permanent home.
Walking around the farm with Dan is an incredible experience. A beagle and a bagel (a mix between a beagle and a basset hound) barked incessantly. MacKenzie told me that these two hounds were left at the farm because they were no good at hunting. Travis, the beagle, had aÂ high howl that is indicative of his fear of strangers, a direct result of having been abused. By contrast, animals such as Heidi, a Welsh pony, and three miniature horses namedÂ Shelby, Spice, and Pumpkin have found peace on the farm.
MacKenzie has financed Bonniedale Farm in a number of ways. He welcomes visits from school groups, nursing homes, and the general public. The farm is more than a petting zoo; it is a place to appreciate the value of life and a place to recognize that all types, human and animal,Â deserve a chance at life. Bonniedale Farm also offers trail rides by reservation and houses a country and western shop that sells boots, leatherwear, saddles, and Navajo jewelry. MacKenzie does not charge for visits, but he accepts donations that go directly toward funding the farm.
Like many businesses struggling during the recession, Bonniedale Farm has been hit hard and is under receivership from the bank. A group called The Friends of Bonniedale Farm recently formed to help save and reclaim the farm from Wells Fargo Bank. This group, together with visitors, fundraisers, and volunteers, are helping to raise money, save the property, and preserve the farm as a sanctuary for abandoned and abused animals.
Dan told me that at dusk all of the animals march together to the barn, knowing that meals will be waiting for them. I imagine the animals marching into the barn likeÂ the animals marched onto Noah’s ark.Â At Bonniedale Farm, everyone is welcome because the flood (of care) never ends. Let’s do what we can to help keep it going.
1007 Snake Hill Road, North Scituate, RI 02857
Mon.-Sat. from 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Sun. from 6:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
To Donate (donations are tax deductible):
– By mail, send checks payable to Save Bonniedale Farm Fund to:
Save Bonniedale Farm Fund
639 Putnam Pike
Greenville, RI 02828
– Online, visit:
To become part of The Friends of Bonniedale Farm:
Mary Smith is a freelance writer who lives on the West Side of Providence. Visit her blog at www.kidace.blogspot.com.