Cracker Box Palace is a registered non-profit farm haven in Alton, NY. It is a unique place in Wayne County where farm animals of every kind come to recover from illness, neglect or abuse. Some of our residents come here due to family deaths, or because their owners can no longer give them the care they need. All animals are taught that they still have friends and all people are not bad. Families are assured that their beloved pets will not become someone’s dinner. Once the animals are given necessary adjustment time and veterinary care, they become available for new people to love through adoption or a unique foster care program.
A lot of hard work by Our Volunteers, Staff, and Board of Directors, in addition to Our Sponsors and the funds, services & items that are donated, is what keeps the farm alive and well. We also raise money for the animals by sponsoring different events during the year.
How we started
One day in the early 1990’s, Walt Roloson, a lifelong lover and trainer of horses was called on to help a group of Saddlebred horses. At that time, Walt had been working with green and troubled horses for about 50 years. These horses had fallen into neglect, shut into a barn from which some had never come out. They actually had to be taught to leave their stalls. Walt brought with him a few helping hands for the task. Among them were his daughter, Cheri, and Burt Madison.
Among the horses they taught to accept and lead on a halter that day, was a young colt. He had the kind of personality that makes some horses simply unforgettable. He was tall and gangly, deep copper red with a white stripe down his face, a “Can’t Touch This” attitude (even in his poor condition) and funny curved-in ears. This colt (later to become “Melvin”) was so weak that Walt had to trim his hooves while he was lying down. Melvin, and several other horses ended up going home with Walt that day.
It took Cheri three years to recover Mel to what he should have been, and the day finally came that Walt decided it was time for him to go to a new home. Suffice this chapter in Melvin’s life to read: Cheri cried, Walt caved, Cheri prevailed and Melvin wins. Cheri and Melvin will be together evermore.
The experience of these horses and a farm animal abuse case in Huron involving 30 starved cows, a horse and an array of other barnyard animals showed Cheri that there was a need in Wayne County for help for these animals, when their people could no longer care for them.
Melvin’s arrival marked the beginning of Cracker Box Palace, a one-time 50-acre migrant camp. Burt and Cheri found the process so rewarding of working with Melvin and a few of his relatives, they decided to make a lifelong commitment of it. In the spring of 2001 the Palace opened officially. The list of residents has expanded from horses alone to include geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, and several breeds of pigs. Many animals have enjoyed brief stays at the Palace, making new friends and receiving veterinary care before going on to their new homes. Others remain eligible for adoption, meanwhile staying comfortable and happy in the safety and care of the workers of CBP.
The Palace has received state and federal tax-exempt status and is governed by a Board of Directors with expertise in many different areas of interest. We have an excellent working relationship with area veterinarians, and law enforcement agencies, always working for the fair treatment of all animals. As we enter our 5th year, we look forward to rejuvenation our new home at the historic Alasa Farms in Alton, NY. We keep focused on providing a fun and educational atmosphere dedicated to rescue, rehabilitation, carefully chosen adoptions and sanctuary for farm animals in need.