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Retired teacher rescues animals in need

By Jeff Murray, Elmira Star-Gazette

2279 days ago   Article ID# 49458
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Second Chance Ranch

ELMIRA, NEW YORK (Elmira Star-Gazette) - The retired New York City school teacher, who also ran an animal rescue operation on Long Island for 13 years, brought that passion to her new home when she bought some property outside Wellsburg in the fall of 2006 and established A Voice for All Animals/Second Chance Ranch.

Since then, she has been able to make some contacts and get occasional help, but Reichel remains a one-woman band.

That's why she holds frequent fundraisers to allow her to properly care for all of the horses, cows, chickens, cats and other animals in her menagerie.

Reichel hopes her latest idea - a dance for people who have pets or just love animals - will take off in a big way.

The dance is planned for Aug. 29 at the Starlite Room on Lake Road in Elmira, and all proceeds will help with farm maintenance and animal care at the ranch.

"Actually, we were going to do this for Valentine's Day, but February weather was so unpredictable, we put this on the back-burner," Reichel said.

"I finally said, summer is going to be going by and we're not going to have this party. I love to dance. I love parties. I want this to be something people can come to and have a night out and have a good time.

"I'm concerned about getting ready for winter. Last winter was very difficult," she said.

"The purpose of this fundraiser is to prepare for winter maintenance and get the animals ready, get their vaccinations and veterinary care before winter starts."

Reichel came to the Southern Tier with modest goals. She didn't want to create the next Farm Sanctuary, which has a facility in Watkins Glen and one in California.

She just wanted to try to make a difference in the lives of animals that were abused or neglected.

Since starting A Voice for All Animals/Second Chance Ranch, Reichel has been able to get donations and volunteer help from various sources, but doesn't feel she has been able to fit into the animal care network as well as she did on Long Island.

Running a program that cares for castoff farm animals and pets is both physically demanding and financially draining, she said.

"I'm on my own. It's not easy doing this," Reichel said.

"People will respond and send donations, and then they forget. Am I happy up here? I have mixed feelings. I do feel like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. It's very hard to fit in. You're never good enough.

"It costs quite a bit to run this," she said. "The animals are well-cared for. Sometimes, I have to pull in my own belt. Then you have to say, 'You can't save the world. You have to save what you have.' But it bothers me."

A big part of Reichel's mission is educating people about the proper care of animals, and she is a big proponent of vaccination and spay/neuter programs.

There is a lot of ignorance about animals, especially among people who live in big cities, she said, and a recent visit by a friend from New York City illustrated that point.

"I had a friend from Brooklyn. He looked at (dairy cow) Dolly, and his comment was 'So this is hamburger?' People from the city don't realize. They come up here and they are learning," Reichel said.

"Dolly was infertile. She was useless to the dairy farmer," she said. "When I play with her, I say 'She's not useless to me.'"

Copyright 2015 Elmira Star-Gazette   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 2279 days ago   Article ID# 49458

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