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Samantha Turner: Keeping People—and Animals—Safe

(Photo - Samantha Turner)If you have four legs, it's the kind of place you can enter with your back covered in gnats and leave with confidence and a fancy coat. Samantha Turner's ranch is a haven for the animal kingdom's derelict, and has been for some time: she has spent the last 30 years rescuing and rehabilitating neglected, abused, and unwanted animals using her own resources.

"It's not about money," said Turner, an Environment, Safety and Health Construction Safety Engineer. "It's about giving back. I think this ranch has something very valuable to give to society."

She rescues beasts of all kinds—currently, she has horses, dogs, cats, wolves, and peacocks—from as far away as Illinois and Kentucky. Turner calls her operation the "Saving Angels Rescue Ranch for All Animals," or SARRAA, after one of her horses.

"Animals have been my passion all my life," said Turner, whose first spoken word was horsy. "I brought a snake home when I was two, and I've been rescuing animals ever since."

Her operation has grown in sophistication since her childhood: under-privileged young people visit daily, cleaning, feeding, and exercising the animals—and growing a lot themselves.

"These kids learn that they have self-worth," she said. "And the animals learn that someone cares about them."

Word of her rescue service has spread, and her animal arsenal is growing. Turner hopes to establish an inter-state consortium that will allow her to expand her operation, allowing for more underprivileged animals and kids to cycle through.

Turner has found that her paid work isn't so unlike her charity: "I've always worked to keep people safe. When I'm not at work, I save animals. I think that's my purpose in life."

Alison Drain, SLAC Today, May 2, 2007

Above image: "If there's one thing these animals teach," Turner said, "it's that all life is precious."