Mystery Place: Sharon sanctuary has been saving big cats since 1973

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Ginny Hall | July 1, 2016

The Valley of the Kings Sanctuary is pretty well hidden from view, located on the east end of Town Hall Road in the town of Sharon.

This facility is not open to the public; it is not a zoo. It is a  haven for rescued large animals. They may be retired circus animals or abused and/or abandoned exotic animals.

Sanctuary founder Jill Carnegie began this operation in October 1973 on her family's farm. She wanted to save cougars that were being shot out West. She found her first cat through a newspaper ad. The sanctuary specializes in cats but it does have other animals. At one time it housed as many as 50 big cats.

They feed about 1,500 pounds of food each day to the animals,  accepting road kill and other dead animals. One time they were given live horses. However, they found proper homes for them in the area. The sanctuary has vendors in a 15-county area that help provide dead animals.

You can see these animals either by becoming a volunteer at the facility or a member.  Memberships help pay the bills, and as you can imagine, the food bill is very high.

In addition to food costs there always is the cost of new buildings and maintaining the existing ones. Volunteers to help with materials and construction are always welcome.

Memberships — single, family or seniors — are available. These must be obtained before a visit; they cannot be purchased at the gate. Members can visit on Saturdays and Sundays.

Valley of the Kings is a nonprofit educational organization.  It is a state and federally licensed operation. More information about memberships and volunteering can be found at

Ginny Hall, a Delavan historian, is author of the “Walking around ...” and “Meandering ... ” books, which highlight the history of Walworth County communities.


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