A devastating fire destroyed an animal sanctuary barn in Newcastle and killed every animal inside in a destivating fire Sunday that started about 3:30 a.m. Melyssa Descovich, the owner of The Enchanted Forest-Exotic Animal Sanctuary, said on Facebook that the whole barn is lost, and every animal inside fell victim to the flames. Geese, ducks, and tortoises were among the animals that could not escape. Descovich built a place that took in animals in crisis, and created peace for them. Forty animals were lost. For 14 years, Descovich ran a tortoise rescue. Back in March, realizing a need to help other types of animals, Descovich took a friend up on the offer of the use of some land in Newcastle. She then started taking in and eventually rehoming other creatures that came to her when they couldn’t be cared for by their owners for one reason or another.
“These animals have come to us through a crisis like a fire or death in the family,” said Descovich. “On a quiet week we’ll get five animals. On a busy week we’ll get 30 or more.”
She and her husband recently opened the sanctuary to the public so families could experience up-close encounters with various animals. The two have plans to eventually open a sanctuary on their own land in Colfax. For the moment their focus is caring for the 25 animals that survived the fire.
They are heartened by the ways their community is stepping up to help.
“We had just bought $900 worth of food the day before and it was all stored in the barn and it’s all gone,” Descovich said. “We’ve been very blessed to have people volunteer and bring food for the animals.”