Growing up with many animals in her house, Laurie Zaleski’s mother rented a home for 28 years while working for an animal control service. After her mother’s passing, she founded Funny Farm Rescue in her honor, serving as its CEO since 2000. The longest-running animal rescue in the northeastern U.S., the animal sanctuary has created a home for unwanted farm animals, domesticated animals and animals with created a home for unwanted farm animals, domesticated animals and animals with special needs to live out their natural lives. Another part of their mission is to prevent the cruelty to animals by increasing the awareness of animal abuse through education. Their knowledge, expertise and facilities make them truly unique in southern New Jersey and the surrounding area. They are often the last hope for many abused and abandoned animals.
Ms. Zaleski has relationships with several local and statewide organizations that continually request the services of Funny Farm Rescue Animal Sanctuary for animal shelter and care. They take in animals from the SPCA, the Pig Placement Network, the Atlantic City Police, the Atlantic County Wildlife Aid and the Humane Society, as well as the public. By starting a nonprofit, the help from donations, they can pay for food, veterinary expenses and improve facilities, aiding in the quality of life for the animals.
In addition to this role, Ms. Zaleski founded and is the principal graphic designer and illustrator of Artz Graphics since 1996, and has previously worked with Campbell Soup Company. She also enjoys spending time as a private pilot. A caregiver to over 600 animals, Ms. Zaleski feels blessed that she gets to do all her passions, whether it be the farm, art or piloting. Prior to beginning her career, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design, illustration and photography from Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, in 1991.
Active in her local community, Ms. Zaleski teaches anti-bullying in schools on Fridays using four of the sanctuary’s dogs and a chicken to show how they interact with each other. Likewise, she has written two books on anti-bullying and people with special needs. Another one of Ms. Zaleski’s projects involves a film about her dog, who has to eat sitting upright in a chair. She will be taking the film to the Sundance Film Festival and now sells it on DVD.
In recent years, Ms. Zaleski maintains involvement with Photo District News (PDN), the Airshow Photographers and the Experimental Aircraft Association. She was given the Girl Power Award by the Top Five Women Entrepreneurs and her business was named among Best Places to Visit with Your Family in New Jersey. Notably, she was bestowed with the Hero Award by the New Jersey Veterinarians Medical Association in 2019.