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SWFL animal sanctuary founder hailed ‘hero’ by GoFundMe

Step out into Christopher Vane’s backyard and you’ll quickly learn that the Punta Gorda man has a whole lot of pets.

“We have over 150 farm animals, 74 pigs … these animals have come from hoarding, situations, neglect, abuse,” Vane said.

He rescues the animals and brings them to his non-profit, “Little Bear Sanctuary.”

“In honor of my mom Ursula, which is ‘Little Bear’ in Latin, she passed away in 2016 … she loved animals.”

Now, Vane honors his mother through his 30-acre safe haven, verified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

“It’s a great honor. They verify true sanctuaries where animals are not kept in cages, where they can be in their natural environment,” he said.

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Vane is now earning the national spotlight. Kelsea Little, manager of the GoFundMe Hero program, said the former Realtor turned animal activist has earned the title “GoFundMe Hero” for August.

“We kind of blast that out to our community and say look at this amazing hero. We look at thousands of stories every day and look for people who are really going above and beyond to use the GoFundMe platform to make a difference in their communities and in the world,” Little said. “Chris’ story really stood out. We don’t see a lot of causes that are specifically for helping rescued farm animals and the fact that he created it in honor of his late mother.”

“I really wanted to make a difference in the world,” Vane said.

Thanks to the community’s support, Vane plans to open an animal clinic on site by September. A community garden and tiny houses for people visiting the sanctuary are also in the works.

For more information about the Little Bear Sanctuary, click here.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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