Unique Animal Sanctuary On Greenbrier River
Beard, West Virginia – A unique sanctuary – Point Of View Farm – sits on the east bank of the Greenbrier River below Denmar. According to farm owner Joel Rosenthal, it’s the only facility in West Virginia that can rescue any type of wildlife.
“To the best of my knowledge, I’m the only person in West Virginia who can do anything,” he said. “If somebody brings me a bear cub, I’ll take care of it. If somebody brings me a skunk, I’ll take care of it. If somebody brings me an injured hawk, I’ll take care of it.”
Rosenthal started rescuing injured animals when he was a youngster.
“I’ve always been an animal person, even when we lived in a little apartment in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “I remember my dad building me a couple little cages. If there was an injured or orphaned little bird or something, that somebody found, I would try to take care of it. It’s just been a direction and avocation of my life ever since I can remember.”
Following a career as a biologist with the National Institutes of Health, Rosenthal retired to a small property in Maryland, where he rescued birds, goats, deer and other animals.
“Actually, I’ve done animal rehabilitation long before I came here,” he said. “For a couple of decades, prior to coming here, I did animal rehabilitation back in Maryland and just extended it, once I came here.”
A reporter with The Gazette, a Maryland newspaper, wrote, “Entering Rosenthal’s domain is like stepping into another world – or maybe even walking right into the biblical Noah’s ark.”
Twelve years ago, Rosenthal’s dream of owning a farm came true, when he bought the farm in Pocahontas County. He obtained a state business license to operate an animal sanctuary and began caring for injured animals.
After rescuing a fawn in 2005, the Department of Natural Resources had Rosenthal arrested and charged with illegal possession of wildlife. Despite then county prosecutor Walt Weiford’s reluctance to prosecute the case, Rosenthal insisted on pursuing the matter in the courts.
“I needed an academic exercise and, despite the fact I knew nothing about criminal law, that I would represent myself and that, one way or the other, no matter how long it took, no matter what it took, I was going to demonstrate that what I did was legal.”
Rosenthal represented himself in a protracted legal battle which proceeded through the West Virginia Supreme Court and U.S. District Court in Elkins. Rosenthal won a complete victory over the DNR legal team and established his right to rescue any injured wild animal in West Virginia.
“I now have a document, which is an agreement with the State Of West Virginia, which is, in essence a contract with the State of West Virginia, that states that I can take care of any animal that is found in West Virginia, right here at Point Of View Farm,” he said.
Rosenthal says people who discover injured wild animals should contact him, not state officials.
“The reality is – anyone finding an injured or orphaned animal in West Virginia, who would really like it taken care of, should never, ever, ever contact the DNR,” he said. “They will kill the animal. If they contact me and they bring it to me, not only will the animal get the best treatment that I can provide for it, but that particular individual will also be protected from the document, from the contract I have with the State of West Virginia, from any kind of legal implications by their handling the animal.”
An important mission of Point Of View Farm is public outreach.
“I’ve taken animals to schools and to camps,” he said. But, in addition to that, I’ve had hundreds of people from all over the world come to visit here.”
For more information on Point of View farm or to schedule an educational visit, call Joel Rosenthal at 304-653-4766.