Rifugio Isola Del Sole

Our mission is to help animal rights, welfare, and education flourish through a connection with culture and nature at our stunningly beautiful animal sanctuary, dedicated to the memory of my son Blaise.

Sicily’s rich, storied culture has a long history and many cultural influences. However, the island falls behind in animal welfare. Many people come to visit Sicily for its beauty, to spend time along its beautiful shores, and taste its legendary food. But few know about the large stray animal problem there. According to 2016 Commission data, there were 75,000 stray dogs in Sicily and by 2018 that population had grown to 90,000. In fact, Sicily is home to three-quarters of all the stray dogs found in Europe.

In the countryside and surrounding areas around major Sicilian cities, it is not uncommon to find abandoned dogs and cats near dumpsters or among garbage piles along provincial roads. These abandoned animals not only live in harsh conditions but since they are usually not sterilized, they reproduce, causing exponential growth among the canine and feline population.

Lack of sterilization causes huge amounts of overpopulation, and often the owners don’t know or can’t afford to do the right thing. Unfortunately, there are also many examples of animal cruelty in existence here seen in the frequent poisoning of animals and in their exploitation as many  are sold to laboratories for experimentation.

We bring education to the locals and provide free vaccinations and sterilizations to low-income owners, in the hopes of hoping replicating the progress of The Netherlands, where they solve the issues of stray animals at the source. We hope to end the needless suffering of animals by helping the people of Sicily implement 21st-century solutions.

Rifugio Isola Del Sole is also a cultural and sports association based on bringing the world together through a cultural exchange that spreads animal welfare awareness through the exploration of the arts and crafts of the past. We offer educational courses aimed at teaching children values such as cooperation and compassion through close contact with animals and providing courses for adults in ancient crafts as well as the rich artistic and culinary traditions of the region. We also offer guided activities, such as visits to our educational farm, tours on horseback, and visits to our petting zoo. A portion of the proceeds goes toward free local vaccinations and sterilizations.