Category: Blog

Mercy for the Kittens, A Unique Opportunity to Help!

Kitten Season is upon us. It sounds cute but in reality, it can be too much of a good thing. The influx of rescued animals means more food, money and space is needed in shelters and sanctuaries around the country.

This year, we’re introducing “Mercy For The Kittens” in honor of Mercy and her siblings shown in the video. After rescuing them, we worked night and day to help them survive, grow and thrive, and eventually find loving homes. And right now, two of our generous donors will match YOUR donation, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000. 

Caring for kittens not only requires compassionate people power for all those feedings (thank you volunteers and staff!), but funds to cover veterinarian fees, medicine, supplies, food unique to a growing kitten’s needs, and space to house them as they mature to an adoptable age and size.

So, can you spare the cost of a lattè? The spare change you’ve collected in your car and sofa? The price of your favorite breakfast tacos? Maybe you let your hair grow a little longer this month? Binge-watch Netflix instead of a big night out? A garage sale? Maybe your office would like to get involved? Whatever you can contribute, every dollar counts! It’s not every day we have this opportunity, with funds matched dollar for dollar. Please help us make the most of the offer from our generous donors!

Donate now at to have your funds matched and help save the lives of kittens in need.

Join us on Twitter or Facebook to help spread the word. Sharing these posts is one of the best things you can do to help spread the word, and we appreciate every share and tweet. #mercyforkittens

Thank you as always for your support, from your friends at Living Free Animal Sanctuary.

PS, be sure to help us prevent this yearly challenge by having your pets spayed or neutered!

Photo: Kitten slippers at the Living Free Cattery
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We Are Living Free

We’re a nonprofit, no-kill sanctuary rescuing dogs and cats whose time has run out at local kill shelters.

We dream of a day when the U.S. will be a no-kill nation and the need for healthy animal euthanasia will be a thing of the past. That’s reflected in our Outreach & Education Initiatives, our Wild Mustang Initiative, Almost Home 2020 and the many other ideas we are putting into play here in Mountain Center, CA.

Pets for Patriots Brings Veterans, Homeless Animals Together

Unknown In 2015, Lynne Mall, volunteer at Living Free, dedicated herself to creating a partnership with the national organization Pets for Patriots. The partnership allows  Living Free Animal Sanctuary to participate in the efforts and unique benefits of creating new families of veterans and the animals who need them.

Beth Zimmerman, a New York business consultant, has always been an animal lover. And she’s always had an abiding respect for the military “in my soul.” In 2010, she decided to found a new nonprofit organization that combines both in a unique way.

In the words of Pets for Patriots: Our mission is to give the gifts of fidelity, joy and companionship to both pet and veteran through companion animal adoption.

The animals that meet their unique criteria for adoption are older – at least two years of age or with special needs, are often overshadowed by puppies and kittens up for adoption. According to Beth, older animals provide more stability and a calming presence, making good companions for those who may have been traumatized by battle.

Pets for Patriots and their partners create unique opportunities for members of the military community to save a life by honorably adopting homeless adult dogs and cats. To ease the financial costs associated with pet ownership, we partner with veterinarians to deliver a minimum 10% discount for the life of the adopted pet’s care.

Pets for Patriots provides access to additional cost reductions for pet basics, such as food, toys and essential supplies. We’re determined to make the joys of adult pet ownership achievable and affordable for the men and women of the U.S. military.

Our goal is to make the benefits of shelter pet adoption a reality for military personnel, ensuring many years of friendship, companionship and joy with their honorably adopted dog or cat.

Pets for Patriots further educates the military community and the public about the plight of animals surrendered to shelters, and highlight the many benefits of adopting hard-to-place shelter dogs and cats, as well as reducing the overall costs of pet parenthood to limit the number of adopted animals returned to shelters.3e1e408d-4f30-488c-9328-f0d60c8fbf68

Visit our website at and choose the category of cats or dogs, and look for a pet with the emblem.

The website blog at has wonderful stories of how these pet adoptions enrich the lives of veterans and the animals.

Please share this story and the link to Living Free so that we might find more homes for pets in need and enrich thf cats or dogs. Pets that meet the criteria for the benefits of Pets for Patriots will have their emblem on the photo.e life of a veteran with the help of Pets for Patriots.

Libby’s Second Chance

Libby was born on the range in the Oregon badlands.  When she was a yearling, she was rounded up with her band by the BLM, separated from them, and shunted from one BLM gulag to another until she was finally sold at auction.


Liberty Belle (“Libby”), our first rescued wild mustang.


Libby’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) freezemark brand.

Soon after she was sold, Libby’s owner sent her to a foster.  When her foster could no longer keep her, she was at great risk of being returned to the BLM, and eventually sent to slaughter.  Despite federal laws protecting wild equines, loopholes are often exploited, and when wild horses are returned they can be deemed “unadoptable” and sold to kill dealers, who truck them outside the country to slaughter.

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Wild mustangs in BLM holding pens.

Although our mustang rescue and equine program is still in the planning stage, we decided to take a chance on Libby, and give her safe haven at our Sanctuary – fulfilling an original vision of our Founder, Emily Jo Beard.

Under the patient guidance of Ray Barmore, a lifelong horseman and trainer, Libby took to the groundwork and is gaining trust every day.  She has bonded with our three rescued BLM burros, and Ray’s mares, and is settling in very well in the tranquility of the Sanctuary.

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Ray Barmore, Facilities Manager and horse trainer working with Libby.

Nothing can replace the free range, but with sufficient support, Living Free can one day offer some semblance of the freedom wild horses once enjoyed.

Libby roams the “Front Forty” section of the property.
No sentient being can thrive when deprived of freedom.  That’s why at Living Free, we provide all rescued animals – cats, dogs and equines – as much space and freedom as possible, while keeping them safe.

In the long term we plan to build a mustang rescue program that will be unique to the region – an expansive, natural sanctuary where horses roam free, and children of all ages can hike into the wilderness and study wild equines in a natural habitat.  We also have plans for an equine therapy program, as well as a humane education center.

Also, our program will help raise awareness of the plight of the mustangs, help stop the roundups, and ensure that wild horses are humanely and rationally managed on our public lands, where they have thrived for many generations.


Montgomery Pass wild mustang – June 2015. (c. RH – LFAS 2015 )

The Mustang Initiative is a major undertaking, but we believe that preserving a national treasure and symbol of our spirit – not to mention saving the lives of beautiful animals like Libby – is well worth it.

Howl & Yowl Musical Benefit for the Animals

Welcome to Honey County!

A great reason to join us at the 2015 Howl & Yowl – Honey County!

Danni, Devon and Leeann are taking over the pop country scene with undeniable harmonies, melodic hooks and songs that speak the truth.  Within six months of playing together their music caught ears across the country when they were picked as semi-finalists on VH1’s “Make A Band Famous”.  In August 2014, their first single “Blood From A Stone” gained popularity with a feature on HBO’s TRUE BLOOD, and began spinning on the fan-favorite Los Angeles indie radio station, KCRW, and iHeartRadio’s  2014 CMA Award winning station, WPOC 93.1 in Baltimore, MD.  Following the success of the first single, the group went on to record their self titled debut EP in Los Angeles, CA with award winning producer Ryan Williams (Kelly Clarkson, Train, P!nk, Adam Lambert) at Pulse Recording and released it with a feature on CBS Los Angeles morning news show July 21, 2015.  Two days following the release of the EP, the single and music video, ’99 Bottles’ was selected as one of seven finalists picked for Southern California’s GO COUNTRY 105 Country Showdown, simultaneously, ’99 Bottles’ was also picked as a top five finalist in a contest to support country  music star Brett Eldredge.  The band plans to announce a tour in the fall of 2015.

You can buy tickets now at Eventbrite or at Living Free the day of the event. Adults, $15, children under 12 are free. Can’t join us on the day but want to be a part of this very important benefit? Donate the ticket price through our website! All proceeds help dogs and cats rescued from local kill shelters.

Howl & Yowl ~ Benefit for the Animals ~ October 24th 2015

H&Y Event-Square copyLiving Free Animal Sanctuary’s 2nd Annual Howl & Yowl Benefit for the Animals is coming up this October 24th! Perfect for the entire family, the event includes a full day of music, demonstrations, dog training, and of course, features adoptable cats and dogs. This year we’ve expanded to include other animal rescue groups for adoptions – you’re sure to find your next furry BFF! Also on site, Alpacas of Anza, Beau-Peep Baby Doll Sheep, and Artisan  & Crafts Booths.

The music will be outstanding again this year! We’re pleased to present world-class jazz, country and rock from Honey County featuring Devon Eisenbarger, Don Reed & Black Swan, and Jason Power and the People.

Stay tuned for more details on demonstrations, vendors, and entertainment!

Tickets are $15 for adults, kids 12 and under are free. Purchase through Eventbrite or at the door on the day. All proceeds help save dogs and cats whose time has run out at local kill shelters.

Everyday Heroes

“I am Cheryl Winfrey. I retired to Hemet in 2005 with Sam, Charlie & Sara, rescued stray cats from my backyard. In 2009, I lost Sara to cancer and needed to integrate another female as Sam and Charlie were fighting. I found the Living Free Animal Sanctuary website and December 13, 2009, I went to the cattery for the first time. I met with Matt Worthington, Cattery Supervisor, and told him I needed a female who would not want to be in charge but would not let Sam bully her. He immediately said “Felicity.”   I adopted her that day and she has been a wonderful companion. At Living Free they know the personalities of their cats and can steer you to making a good match.

I wasn’t able to adopt Felicity’s sister Butterscotch and so I resolved to visit once a month and bring gifts from Felicity. (Butterscotch was adopted by a couple from Palm Springs in 2012.)

Felicity always sends paper towels and paper plates and sometimes tuna for cats from Trader Joe’s. She sends collars, Kit N Kaboodle (as treats), cat beds, cat trees, water fountains, blankets and toys when I find them at a good price. The cats always appreciate Felicity’s gifts and so do the staff.  (Once in a while I bring things for the dogs but I never let Felicity know.)”


From all of us at Living Free, thank you, Cheryl, Felicity, Sam and Charlie!


“This short film is our gift to all living creatures on the planet and we hope you will like it, and it will make an impact. Then it was worth it.”

Ez a kisfilm az ajándékunk minden Földön élő számára, reméljük tetszik és hatást gyakorol. Akkor már megérte.

Red – Bernáth Júlia

Father – Bernáth Dénes

Mother – Berki Szofi
Blond girl – Helmeczi Emma
Dog – FAPF Heather
Director – Zsemberi Zsófia
DoP – Horváth András
Idea, Script – Görögh Attila, Zsemberi Zsófia
Editor – Zsemberi Zsófi, Szigethy Márton
Post-production- Horváth András, Szigethy Márton, Fazakas Fanni
Make-up – Horváth Enikő, Szathmári SzilviaMusic Rachael Dadd – Wake It (Eastaste)
Stray Dogg – Almost (Eastaste)Sponsored by Zoetis Hungary Kft.

Nagy Leia Tímea, Mártai Mariann – Zuii Organic Hungary, Bíró Csaba – Dévai Szent Ferenc alapítvány, Jostein Skare Thygesen, Zsebe Zsolt, Szigethy Márton, Fazakas Fanni


In Memory of Joan Fagan


In September of this year, Living Free lost a cherished member of its family. Joan Fagan had served as volunteer Executive Director from 2000 to 2007, and steered the Sanctuary through its most difficult times. Emily Jo Beard’s son, Chris Watts, stated recently, “Joan saved this place.”

Joan was an unwavering advocate for animals and staunch supporter of Emily’s ideals and the Sanctuary’s mission. After her departure in 2007, Joan remained on the Board until 2012, and served as an advisor until the time of her death. After her retirement and move to Paradise, California, Joan continued to do whatever she could for the animals, volunteering at a local rescue there. Most recently, she called our attention to the plight of a herd of wild mustangs known as the Sheldon Warhorses, and the Sanctuary is now developing an initiative to provide refuge for some of these animals as a result.

She tirelessly volunteered her services throughout her tenure, and her legacy will live on with the establishment of the Joan Fagan Volunteer of the Year Award. This award will be based on peer selection, and go to the volunteer who best exemplifies Joan’s dedication to the animals and support of the Sanctuary’s mission.

Joan Fagan will always remain a part of Living Free. She is greatly missed, but never forgotten.


“Happy Tails” – Peanut & Champagne

Our “Happy Tails” story started on March 1st, when we adopted sisters Champagne and Peanut. Our Happy Tails should be called a “Fairy Tail”, because we couldn’t be happier with our new kitties.

We previously owned cats but when our last one passed away, we just couldn’t bear to expose our hearts again to such loss. We have talked about adopting but always found an excuse.

We have enjoyed visiting Living Free over the years and it has remained a favorite place to bring friends and family. We are so proud of the work that they do. We’ve always said the animals that live there are so well cared for and loved. That would help to ease our guilt each time we left without bringing home a new friend.

Then we had an epiphany…

While attending a Living Free-sponsored event in Palm Desert, we heard that one of the dogs, Coffee, had found a new home. Later that day, we went up to Living Free. While checking in at the office we told one of the volunteers of Coffee’s good fortune. The enthusiastic response and joy that the volunteer expressed was so genuine. It made us realize that the adoption is really what it’s all about. Placing these loving animals in a home, not just caring for them in a continuous state of waiting.

We looked at each other and at that moment decided it was time to open our home and our hearts. We went over to the Cattery and was immediately greeted by Champagne and Peanut. Beautiful, affectionate cats. We had remembered seeing them over the years, their coloring is striking and the personalities are unforgettable. After our visit, all we could do is talk about these two and imagine them in our lives. Well, two days later we went back and made it official.

Our house is now a home. Our only regret is that we waited as long as we did. We could have enjoyed these wonderful cats years ago. We would like to encourage anyone considering adoption to act on it. Animals add so much to our lives and we can add so much to theirs. Our cats are older, but we are getting older too. We will just enjoy any time we have together. We all deserve to receive love and with our girls, we are definitely the benefactors.

Thank you to Living Free, the staff and volunteers for the wonderful work they do. They are changing the lives of the animals and the people that are fortunate enough to experience the love of Living Free. You can say our “Happy Tails” has ended with happily ever after.

Dennis & Wendy

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