Our story starts, as all good adventures do, with a chance encounter…
It was the spring of 2010, when founder, Kurt Andernach. was at his local coffee shop waiting patiently for the double Espresso to slowly drip into a tiny cup, when he casually mentioned that he’d been dreaming for years of waking up to the sound of a crowing rooster. Suddenly, a big smile broke out on the owner’s face. “You can have free Espressos for the rest of your life,” he proclaimed, on one condition. “You need to give a home to a beloved rooster, I know. He is in danger of being killed by angry neighbors who want his crows silenced forever.”
Three days later, Henry and his lovebird Henrietta were nestling safe and sound in the little coop Kurt had quickly built for them inside his woodshed.
Little did he know at the time, not only had the lives of these 2 Birds changed forever, his had too. For without planning it, he had started what was to become And-Hof Animals, Sanctuary for Farm Animals + Permaculture.
Not long after Henry and Henrietta had arrived, at the same coffee shop again, enjoying free Espresso, the owner asked Kurt jokingly if he was ready to rescue 3 Goat kids. He dryly replied that he had no experience with Goats. “Easier to keep than Dogs…”, were the words that changed Fleck, Liesel and Moritz’ destiny from the butcher’s knife to a life of exploring the cliffs and ravines in the woods.
Being that the cradle of the Sanctuary stood in a coffee shop, word got out quickly and within no time, more and more people approached Kurt with heartbreaking animal stories. There were Gertrude and Gottlieb, once the family’s cute little gooselings, now more synonymous with attack Dogs. Chasing everything and everybody, attempting to enter the yard. Sylvia, Snickers and Sophia, 3 Ducks that were left to their own devices after the owners just moved way. A frantic early morning call from a compassionate farmhand, who begged Kurt to come and pick up 15 Leghorns the farmer had just kicked out of the coop, mumbling “they are Fox food…” Just to mention a few out of countless stories how animal after animal found their way into Kurt’s (former) woodshed…
In the Fall of 2013, as Kurt was scrolling through the newsfeed of a social media site late one evening, he learned about the culling of the wild hybrid Turkeys on Staten Island.
After endless talks with the Department of Environmental Conservation and only because of the incredible negotiation skills of the Director of the NYS Chapter of the Humane Society of America, was Kurt able to convince the authorities to pursue a humane solution to the Turkey problem on Staten Island and release the Birds into his care.
The DEC’s consent was conditioned on Kurt agreeing to assume responsibility for all costs related to the construction of DEC-compliant habitats, including all caregiving and maintenance expenses. Since the sanctuary was self-funded, he was concerned about the consequences, but not concerned enough to stop the project. The Turkeys’ welfare won out.
However, after investing well over $100,000 of Kurt’s life savings into the Staten Island wild Turkey Rescue project, he recognized that funding the Sanctuary solely through his well established architectural design practice was no longer sustainable.
This became even more so painfully clear in the Winter of 2016/17 when he gave home to over 100 Chickens rescued from the Kaporos rituals in Brooklyn, NY and was also fostering an additional 130 Chickens until permanent homes could be found for them.
After a large number of the Chickens fell ill and died, necropsies revealed that they were infected with 2 different strands of E. coli as well as very contagious and Infectious Coryza. Around the clock veterinary care and additional experienced caregiving staff finally contained the epidemic and And-Hof was able to save a number of the infected Chickens.