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A new home for animals people won't adopt

BEDFORD - When animals need to be adopted, they can be brought in to rescues until they find a loving home. But when they're unadoptable, for whatever reason, Peaceworks Animal Sanctuary in Bedford takes them in.

Sheila Jacks opened Peaceworks, a nonprofit, over the summer to fulfill a lifelong mission of helping animals in need. Jacks and boyfriend Ray Brouilette are often the ones who offer animals of all kinds with a place to stay and the care they need when no one else will provide for them.

'I've always rescued dogs and cats and rodents that needed homes,' Jacks said. 'My goal was to do something on a larger scale for the farm animals because they are really the ones who are lost in this economy, where people who are losing their small farms don't have any place to go.'

The sanctuary differs from a shelter because it is not licensed to adopt animals. Still, if Peaceworks rehabilitates the animals enough, they can be adopted through a shelter.

'In order for the recues to really be able to help the animals, they need to have the adoptable ones that they can bring in, adopt them out and bring new ones in because that's how they survive,' Jacks said. 'We take in the ones that are not so adoptable.'

At the moment, the sanctuary houses about 40 animals, Jacks said, including farm animals, standard household pets and others that don't normally classify under either category.

'We do chickens, horses, pot-bellied pigs, regular pigs, basic farm animals and we do some dogs and various rodents that get dropped off,' said Jacks. 'We have chinchillas at the moment.'

Peaceworks has taken in several animals in recent weeks, and they have plans to bring in more. They rescued 16 horses which were crammed into a small pen with less-than-adequate food and water. Some of the horses were miniature and couldn't walk in the muck they were forced to live in, Jacks said. There is a video of the rescue on the Peaceworks Animal Sanctuary Facebook page.

The two drove to Vermont on Monday, Dec. 17 to pick up Oscar, a pot-bellied pig. Oscar needed a home after his owners moved and couldn't take him with them.

Peaceworks also has plans to take in a retired police horse through New England Equine Rescue.

'Service animals only work for four or five years and then they need a place to go once they've done their job,' Jacks said. 'He needs a retirement home where he's just loved and pampered and gently ridden, which is about all he's up for.'

Because Peaceworks operates entirely on donations and their own funds, Jacks and Brouilette have jobs outside of their animal sanctuary. Jacks owns a landscaping business, which runs through the spring, summer and fall, and plows snow during the off-months. Brouilette does tree and shrub care, specifically spraying to keep trees and lawns healthy, for a tree company in Acton, Mass.

'The people that we have reached have said, 'Oh, we didn't even know you existed. I'd much rather help you guys out than send money to Indiana,' or wherever else they were sending donations,' Jacks said.

To find out how to donate to Peaceworks Animal Shelter, visit their Facebook page, which also contains stories about several of the animals they take care of or took care of in the past.

'There's really no place for the homeless farm animals around here,' Jacks said. 'I just wanted to make a difference one animal at a time. That's our motto; we can't make a difference in all of their lives, but if we can make a difference in one, that's already a step in the right direction.'

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