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Community fights to keep farm for unwanted pets in Wake Forest open

Posted July 10, 2019 6:47 a.m. EDT
Updated July 10, 2019 12:48 p.m. EDT

— A spot for unwanted animals near Wake Forest is hoping help from donors will keep the farm alive.

Founder Mary Droessler calls Winterpast Farm Petting Zoo an ark of refuge for unwanted pets and farm animals -- like Junior, a 5-year-old hen.

"She's not laying eggs," Droessler said. "Nobody wants her, but she's staying here to live. And now she's a companion to a young ram who moved here because his muzzle's the wrong color."

After 15 years on the 10 acres, Droessler said her sister Maureen, who is listed as a property owner, wants to sell the land.

"She wants her money out. Fact. End of discussion," Droessler said.

WRAL News contacted Maureen Droessler in Illinois by phone, but she declined to comment. Now, Mary Droessler said she's hoping to raise $500,000 within three to four months to own the property. Without it, the operation will close down.

"You know, I can't imagine trying to move out all the turtles and fish out of the pond," Droessler joked. "So we're hoping for a miracle here -- I don't have a vision of myself out of overalls at this point."

So far, a fundraising effort has raised $15,000 for the farm.

"I hate to ask for help, but my back is against a wall that's taller than any wall I've ever been against before," Droessler said.

Renuka Ware and her daughter, Shalini, are among many volunteers who hope their work at Winterpast won't come to an end.

"I think it's just awful," Ware said. "I can't imagine this area without Farmer Mary."

Droessler's vision for Winterpast Farm's future, if she can keep it, is to create a village of tiny homes for adults with special needs who can live and work on the land long after she's gone.

"But the bottom line is that I'm hoping we can preserve it...so we hope we'll be here forever," Droessler said. "We really do."