Temecula animal sanctuary seeks public's help as lease expires

TEMECULA, Calif. (KABC) -- An animal sanctuary in Temecula is asking for the public's help in finding temporary homes for more than 200 animals as they facilitate their move to a new property in San Diego County.

The owners of Villa Chardonnay Equine and Animal Sanctuary, one of the largest non-profit animal rescue groups in Southern California, had planned to relocate from their 10-acre site in early November to a property in San Diego County.

After numerous failed attempts to purchase the Temecula property, Villa Chardonnay went into escrow on a 40-acre property in San Diego County, with a closing date of Oct. 30. Villa Chardonnay's lease ran out in September, but co-founder and CFO Louise Gardner said the property owner has refused an extension, bringing the moving deadline to Tuesday.

The non-profit has taken in stray and homeless animals for the past seven years. Their cage-free facility also provides a permanent home for animals that were destined for slaughterhouses and others that have special medical needs.

The sanctuary's owners are now working to relocate more than 200 animals, including "over 100 horses, several donkeys, 12 dogs, dozens of cats, goats, and three turkeys," officials said.

Villa Chardonnay is requesting donations to aid with the moving efforts, as well as basic needs and veterinary care.

For more information, visit the sanctuary's website at www.villachardonnay.org.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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