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Skagit County exotic animal sanctuary facing closure, over half of animals may be put down

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. — A beloved animal sanctuary in Skagit County is on the verge of closing next month. ‘Because We Matter Exotic Animal Sanctuary’ has been around for more than two decades and because of a permitting issue and a lawsuit filed by a neighbor, more than a hundred animals may be without a home or be euthanized.

“There would be a hard decision to have to put down probably 60 to 85% of the animals out here which is completely devastating,” Executive Director, Ashley Carr, said. “In January of 2022, we got a letter from the county saying that 21 years later we needed to shut down our operation and apply for a special use permit to allow us to do our educational tours.”

Carr said their main stream of revenue came from providing private tours through ‘Airbnb Experiences’. Without that money coming in, they’ve had to rely on donations. Carr said they’re in survival mode.

“Yeah we are and we go on and I beg for money for the last two years now and we’ve been asking everyone for help and we’ve gotten a lot of help and it’s just not enough,” she said.

On top of the permit issue, a neighbor is suing, demanding the wolf dogs be removed.

“He’s complaining that they can hear the wolves and that we’re bringing down their property value by having a sanctuary here,” Carr said.

KIRO 7 asked that neighbor for an interview but he told us that he would not go on camera on Monday and wanted to set up an interview for a later time. In the meantime, Carr said she’s going to do all she can to keep the sanctuary running and the animals safe.

“We’re having to just pivot and figure out a way to continue to educate and rescue and be that outlet for animal control so animals have a place to go,” she said.

Carr said they are in great need of donations to keep the sanctuary running. If you’d like to help you can donate here: https://becausewematter.org/support-the-cause/ or at https://poplme.co/bwm.