The Living Free property has a rich and fascinating history

The first known documented use of the land was by the Cahuilla Indians, and it served as their healing grounds as well as a place of respite in the summer months from the heat of the desert. It is also reported that no hunting of wildlife was allowed by the Indians in this area as animals were considered protected on this land. Evidence of the Indians and their habitation has been preserved and can be seen throughout the sanctuary. An individual purchased the land in 1882 from the U.S. Government, and the historical events leading up to our current times began.
In 1910, a motion picture and camping resort was established and known through the years as "Keen Camp" and "Tahquitz Lodge". Many movies were filmed in the area featuring actors John Wayne, Gene Autry, William Boyd, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Gabby Hayes, Harry Carey, Mary Pickford, George Montgomery, Katharine Hepburn and many others. In 1944, the YWCA purchased the property for use as a camp.
On an Autumn day in 1980, Emily Jo Beard saw this land for the first time and immediately recognized that her vision of giving life to as many orphaned animals as possible could begin here. She privately purchased the land and donated it to the cause. Living Free Animal Sanctuary began on this land with 5 cats and 10 dogs and one woman. Today Emily's vision is kept alive with cats and dogs saved from imminent shelter euthanasia.
Emily Jo Beard
Emily Jo Beard
(1923-1989) believed that justice was meant not for human-kind alone, but also for animal-kind. Emily believed in freedom and reverence for all life. Dominion over the animals, to Emily, meant guardianship, not power and tyranny; and courage to stand up for the rights of animals meant not physical courage, but moral courage.
Living Free's mission continues today. © 2013