Area exotic pet sanctuary seeks funds for new facility

Staff Report

GERMAN VALLEY, Ill. — Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary in German Valley, Ill., is home to more than 350 small, abandoned, abused and otherwise homeless exotic and unusual small pets of 30 different types.

In operation for more than nine years, this unique rescue takes in most of their animals from shelters where they were to be euthanized because of advanced age, chronic illness, aggression or excessive fearfulness.

The animals come from all across the country, from as far away as New York and Texas, to live out their lives in this only one of its kind safe haven.

Some of these pets were found in trash bins and trash cans, some confiscated because of abuse. A few of the more exotic pets, like fennec foxes, come specifically to Critter Camp from loving owners who have had financial or health issues because of Critter Camp’s national reputation for stellar care.

Tourists come from all over the world to visit the animals at Critter Camp. Up to 1,000 people a year tour the sanctuary, coming from as far away as England, Canada and even Ethiopia. Critter Camp also gives educational presentations to area schools, libraries and other groups.

Currently operated out of the director’s home, Critter Camp is above capacity and ready to move to a new, larger facility to give more animals a caring, safe place to live out their lives. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization recently purchased 3 acres on Smokey Hollow Road just east of Freeport, Ill., with funds won in the Pepsi Refresh Everything contest. This land is already zoned and ready to build on.

This new building will utilize solar and wind power, composting, a greenhouse and garden, among other eco-friendly operations. The facility will draw an estimated 10,000 visitors per year to the area, thus greatly increasing tourism traffic in the northwest corridor.

The facility will eventually have several paid positions, adding jobs to the area economy as well.

To fund construction of the building, Critter Camp is kicking off their capital campaign by selling engraved porcelain tiles. All tiles will be ash gray with black infill and will be strategically placed on the interior walls as you enter the new facility and on the information desk base for maximum exposure. Interior tiles were chosen over bricks so they will be visible year round, never obstructed by snow cover.

The following sizes will be available:

• 4 inches by 8 inches, with up to three lines of text — $100;

• 8 inches by 8 inches, with up to six lines of text — $200;

• 8 inches by 8 inches, with business or organization logo and two lines of text — $500; and

• 12 inches by 12 inches, with business or organization logo and two lines of text — $750.

This purchase will be a one-time cost. There are no annual fees, and tiles will be there for many years to come. Tiles are being ordered from

Critter Camp is taking orders now. Set aside a bit of your tax refund to honor your family, a pet, a relative or friend. Give your business exposure to thousands of animal-loving visitors, tourists and local residents. A donor tile makes a great gift, too.

Tile purchases will be acknowledged on the Critter Camp website and progress will be posted. Businesses purchasing any size tile will receive a free live link on the Building Benefactor Page, a mention on the Facebook page as well as a link in Critter Camp’s weekly free e-mail newsletter going out to thousands of subscribers. As funds are raised, work will begin. First, the utilities will be connected, then site preparation, etc.

Contact Beth at Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary for more information or to place an order: (815) 266-1342 or Find Critter Camp on Facebook for daily updates and visit their website to learn more, see photos or order tiles online

From the March 6-12, 2013, issue

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