The Crooked Leg Ranch is a local animal rescue society that grew from a passion to work with animals and a keen desire to give aid wherever and whenever needed.
In the mid 70’s, Robert and Christa Eyford moved from the territories to the Cariboo through an RCMP transfer. They settled on 160 acres, built a log house and put up a few corrals for their horses. What a great place to live – close to town, lots of open space, frequent wildlife encounters and room for pets.
The 4 young girls, Fauna, Karla, Robin and Willow, seemed to attract lost and hurt animals and their friends soon understood that strays would be welcomed to the Eyford home. They had their own pets as well, including horses, cats and even shepherds from Germany trained to work as accelerant detection dogs. Fauna and Willow really took to dog training from an early age and both went on to take formal instruction. Robin tended towards caring for horses and Karla helped with it all. The whole family shared the care of whatever critter came their way. Soon the flow of animals required them to transform basic snake fencing into post and rails. As the number of rescues increased so did the size of the creatures and inevitably, more horses were welcomed. For years, they did everything by hand, building shelters, hauling water during winter and rolling round bales by hand. Did you know that an old satellite dish makes a great roof? They had to be resourceful.
As the need increased, improvements had to be made. Now there is a proper water system to every corral, making winter feeding much easier. The fencing system continued to allow segregation of critters when required. The pressure to rescue increased so much that they were unable to keep up with the demand and cost; so it was decided to create the society of The Crooked Leg Ranch. The name came from a long standing joke on the farm. It seemed that the animals that stayed to become family were the ones that others did not want; they had bow legs, one eye, limps or pieces missing. All of them were fine animals but not quite perfect, thus the name, Crooked Leg.
The establishment of a society allows for fundraising opportunities and professional help. Several times year they host a Pub Night and Dinner. Bottles are donated, sorted and recycled. Pet food stores graciously donate food and recently a local mill held a silent auction and donated the funds to the ranch. A foster fee is charged for adoptions and sometimes cash donations are received. ALL of the monies are accounted for. Now the ranch is afloat and most of the expenses are covered.
They will have ongoing needs, however; and could use more help. Fencing will continue to be a project so if you have time please bring a hammer to the spring work bee. Bottles always need to be sorted and taken to the depot. They rely on volunteers to transfer animals and provide foster homes. Right now the large animals have small shelters and the hay is in the open so the dream is to have a BARN. If you have the knowledge or ability, please contact the ranch and donate your time. All efforts are and will be greatly appreciated.
Article by Liz-Anne Eyford and was first published in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer.