Central California, Coastal

The Foundation operates two animal sanctuaries in Central California near Cayucos and Paso Robles; refuges for domestic animals, as well as a wild forest canopy and a multitude of native species. The domestic sanctuaries provide a haven for rescued equines and bovines, as well as some pigs, dogs, cats, a goat, and a multitude of wild migratory birds. The staff focuses on the care of the many animals, and of habitat management and restoration.

Donkeys in a Field

It was the vision long ago of the founder, Sue Stiles, that these animals be loved and that their independence and free spirits honored. In that respect, the domestic sanctuaries are also symbolic of the whole “sanctuary movement” worldwide. Millions of other animals will never enjoy a safe refuge from the turmoil and hazards of this world and their exploitation by humankind. The underlying philosophy guiding DSF’s efforts is the restoration of healthy lives for the animals in our charge, but also that of the vulnerable supporting ecosystems. The reality of finite carrying capacity at the DSF preserves has mandated a Foundation policy of maintaining a sustainable population of various animal groups, which precludes taking on additional residents.

The DSF wild refuge, home to a substantial population of burros, is also an oasis for native California oak forests and the suite of flora and fauna inherent to this type of Central California biome. California as a whole has twenty known oak species, Genus Quercus, two of which are found in abundance within the refuge regions.

The DSF Sanctuary team comprise managers, caregivers, and maintenance staff.

In all, there are approximately 1,000 acres of California refuge lands owned by the Foundation. Neither refuge is open to the public. They provide “sanctuary” solely for the benefit, solace, peace and quiet of the resident species.