Creative Acres Sanctuary founder says owners are giving up 'pandemic pets' as they head back to work

Posted at 6:54 AM, May 10, 2021

BRIGHTON, Colo. -- Have you heard of 'pandemic pets?'

People who were stuck at home, during the pandemic, wanted something to do, or something for their kids to do.

Some apparently decided that farm animals were a good idea.

Maxine Mager, founder of Creative Acres Animal Sanctuary, told Denver7 she's getting calls from some pandemic pet owners who are changing their minds.

"Last week we had over 14 calls for ducks and chickens, and we're getting one in tomorrow," she said.

Maxine Mager

The no-kill sanctuary on Cavanaugh Road, east of Brighton, is home to a mix of geese, swans, ducks, chickens, alpacas, horses, peacocks, dogs, cats, pigs and several other types of animals.


"In this time of Covid, a lot of people are calling us for advice," Mager said. "A lot of people said 'we got the animal because we were home a lot.'"

She said initially they put ducks in their bathtub and the took them out and cleaned up, but now they don't have time because they have to go back to work.

A duck named Cha-ching is an example. Cha-ching has a mangled foot and has trouble walking, but not swimming.


Mager picked up Cha-ching and tossed him into a wading pool, where he swam around with glee.

"Look how happy he is," she said. "He can cruise."

The sanctuary founder said she doesn't get mad at people who are giving up their pets.

"We're a disposable society," she said, "so that doesn't surprise me, because I've been doing this for 36 years."

She said she tries to problem solve.

"I do believe anybody that got a duck or a chicken for a pet has learned their lesson, not to get a duck or a chicken as a pet," she chuckled. "If they've got a dog they want to adopt out, we tell them to put a white t-shirt on, write 'adopt me' on it, have papers ready, and they can call us for things like making sure it's a good home."

In some instances, she'll take an animal in, but doesn't want to jeopardize those already living at the sanctuary.

"Our money is very scarce," she said, "so if anyone wants to donate, that would be awesome."

Contributions can be made at or by mail at Creative Acres, P.O. Box 1143, Brighton, CO 80601, or by phone at 303-659-4792.

One ornery goose, that likes to peck at shoe strings and pant legs of any nearby human, is one of the animals that has a forever home at Creative Acres.

"This is why they got rid of him," Mager chuckled. "He's psychotic. We take the crazy ones."

Mager said Creative Acres is unique in that it has many different species in its behavioral program.

"We've had a chicken and a rabbit live together," she said. "We separate animals on temperament, not on species, and we educate other shelters on how to become quality of life no-kill animal sanctuaries."