South Jersey 'Funny Farm' Needs Help

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A rescue farm and sanctuary for every type of animal needs the community’s help so it can continue its mission of giving every animal a chance.

“Everybody here would have been either euthanized, [or] some of them would be slaughtered,” said Laurie Zaleski, owner of Funny Farm Rescue and Sanctuary in the Mizpah section of Hamilton Township. “But everybody has a story. A lot of them have disabilities that nobody else would want to take on.”

Chuck, a German Sheppard has megaesophagus, which means he has trouble keeping food down when he eats like a regular dog. Thanks to the folks at Funny Farm, however, the pup has a special seat and food to keep him well fed.

Zaleski knows each and every animal that roams her farm and takes care of every problem that arises.

“It’s kind of [like] your kids,” said Zaleski. “So if you have a child, you know them. Even if you have a lot of them, you know what [their] stories are.”

Originally from Washington Township, Zaleski bought the Atlantic County farm with intentions to give her animal-loving mother a place to live as she got older. Unfortunately, her mother passed away from cancer only two weeks before settlement.

“I cried, standing on my porch, saying, ‘What am I going to do?’” said Zaleski. “I never, ever thought I’d own a farm.”


Fast-forward 17 years, and the Funny Farm is a free place for animal lovers to come meet and feed the hundreds of quirky personalities — from baby ducklings to pigs, to peacocks, animals of every shape and size roam free.

I never, ever thought I’d own a farm.

“I think it teaches the children, you know, we don’t bully here, everybody gets along,” said Zaleski.

And if you want to cross “holding a skunk” or “petting a pig” off of your bucket list, there’s something for every animal lover, including life lessons.

“It’s about family,” said Zaleski. “They’re all family here. They don’t care if they have hooves or paws or fur or feathers, it doesn’t matter. No matter how different we are, if we have disabilities, we all should just get along.”

The Funny Farm is open on Tuesdays and Sundays year round.

Currently, the farm is in need of volunteers and Zaleski is looking for donations to keep the farm open every day of the week.

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