Friends and farmers rally to find homes for ailing man's many animals
Chickens, geese, cats and a horse in Kent County suddenly needed new places to stay
Some Kent County friends and farmers pulled together to find new homes for more than 35 farm animals after a Saint-Norbert hobby farmer's dire health left him unable to look after them.
Within days, people scrambled to relocate geese, chickens, a horse and more than 20 cats.
"We started spreading the word," said Helene Maillet, a friend who agreed to take care of Eric Uzycki's black Labrador and border collie, while new homes were sought for the other animals.
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"That word got out."
Requests for homes quickly spread by word of mouth and on social media.
Maillet reached out to a farm in Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, where animal lover Andrea Aulds agreed to take all 15 of the farm birds and Uzycki's horse.
"I agreed, because who in this cold weather, could say no to the animals?" said Aulds who already owns a horse, along with sheep, parrots, cats, dogs, chickens and a large, overly friendly Angora goat named Iggy.
After years of taking in other creatures in need, Aulds said, she didn't give this decision much thought, and within five days and the animals were at her farm.
"We had the hay, we had the barn, and we had a horse that was by itself, so we said we'd do it," she said.
While all the livestock has been relocated, the large cat population at the Uzycki farm, estimated at between 20 and 30 animals, sill has to be moved.
"I have two of his dogs," said Helene Maillet, a friend of the Uzycki's. "But my husband goes to their house and he feeds the cats and takes very good care of them."
"Through the grapevine, there's actually a farmer that wants them for his barns," said Maillet, who was working with the cat rescue agency CARMA to find the best option for the barn cats.
Maillet said the community's rallying to help one of its own comes with living in a small, rural area.
"That's something that you won't find in big cities," Maillet said. "That's the country mentality. We all help each other."
Getting so many animals to new homes in such a short time was a relief to Eric Uzycki.
"Those people are amazing," Uzycki said. "They don't give up. I think they know what friendship is. It's not always to be there every day, but it's to be there when it counts."