PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — A local farm animal activist is being nationally recognized for his dedication and compassion in providing care for rescued farm animals.
Formerly in real estate, Christopher Vane and his husband, Randy, run Little Bear Sanctuary in Punta Gorda.
Vane's dream of running a sanctuary for abused and neglected farm animals began to take shape three years ago when the couple bought a 30-acre parcel of land.
"We called it Little Bear in memory of my mom, her name was Ursula, which is little bear in Latin," said Vane. "She passed away in 2016 and never got to see it."
Vane attributes his love and compassion for animals to his mom.
Since opening their doors in 2017, over 150 farm animals have made Little Bear Sanctuary their forever home.
"We got 74 pigs, 8 cows, 8 goats, 29 sheep, ducks, chickens," said Vane.
Two of the newest members are Alexander Hamilton and James Madison — rescued pigs from a slaughterhouse.
"They had phenomena when they got here. Their ears are tattooed; they were neutered without anesthesia," said Vane.
Vane's work in combating animal abuse has garnered national attention, as the newest recipient of GoFundMe's Hero award, spotlighting excellence in utilizing the crowdfunding platform for good causes.
"It was an honor for such a massive corporation to highlight me," said Vane.
Vane hopes to secure $55,000 in funding to expand the sanctuary by another 20-acres and construct an area for visitors.
"We're about to finish our in-house clinic, which is really exciting," said Vane.
As Vane strives to provide a cruelty-free environment for more animals in need, he says he knows his mom is watching over him.
"I think she would be very proud of me," said Vane.
To learn more about Little Bear Sanctuary, click here.