Public Profile


Josh C Costner

Josh C Costner's activity stream

  • published QCFF - Raffle 2017-09-19 14:30:18 -0400

    QCFF Raffle


    Queen City Fall Fest Raffle

    Cotton Branch Animal Sanctuary is starting a new tradition! DamFest at Lake Wylie is becoming Queen City Fall Fest! Our biggest fundraiser of the year is moving to Extravaganza Depot in Charlotte October 29th and we hope you’ll join us. We’ll have live music and entertainment, along with great food and an open beer and wine bar – all with a view of the beautiful uptown skyline.

    Our lineup includes:

    Laura Theodore - the Jazzy Vegetarian
    David in the South - folk musician and vocalist
    The Lonely Jones - alternative rock
    Satarrah - belly dancers, fire performances, aerial performers

    A cooking demo by Matthew Martin - executive chef at Fern and Flavors from the Garden

    An appearance by Erin Fergus - Plant based physique competitor, educator and trainer

    Food by Fern, Flavors from the Garden, Nourish, Craft Cakes, Lady Go-Go, and Move that Dough.

    You can also take in a display of local artists, get a Tarot card reading, and place a bid in our silent auction. Or you can just mix and mingle with a lot of good people doing a lot of good for the animals of Cotton Branch.

    Raffle Entries:

    1 entry = $5
    5 entries = $15
    10 entries = $25
    25 entries = $50

    Winner Receives 2 tickets BEFORE they go on sale! Plus, you'll get a signed copy of Laura Theodore's (The Jazzy Vegetarian) vegan cook book!

    Starts 09/19. 
    Ends 09/23 at 11AM EST
    Winner announced at Noon EST
  • donated 2017-03-27 18:52:31 -0400

    One Dollar Difference

    $2,240.00 raised
    GOAL: $10,000.00

    One Dollar:

    It means a lot to us and the residents at Cotton Branch!

    We are a volunteer lead team at Cotton Branch, and every single donation goes to the care and well being of our residents.

    Please join us, and show everyone the power in numbers of people who care, and donate one dollar today! Then SHARE and TAG friends and family so they can see the difference one dollar can make.

    Let’s start a movement, change hearts and minds, and show that compassion is action!


  • published givethanks 2016-11-08 10:44:42 -0500
  • published Charlotte ThanksLiving 2016-11-07 10:16:31 -0500
  • published Hurricane Fund 2016-10-06 12:39:46 -0400

    Hurricane Fund

    Please help us help out our sanctuary friends impacted by Hurricane Matthew. 

    This fund will be distributed, as needed, to sanctuaries needing help with vet care, repairs, rebuilding, supplies, food, and medication as a result of the storm. 


  • wants to volunteer 2016-10-06 12:31:45 -0400

    Hurricane Relief

    Right now we do not know who will need help repairing and rebuilding, but are pretty certain our sanctuary friends in Florida will need us! Our current plan would be to spend at least one day at a location needing help, and we could spend more time at one location depending on the need. 

    We will plan on carpooling to each location, so planning will be precise once we know the details. 

    Please sign up up here if you are able to help and we will contact you, and update here, as we know more.
    Become a volunteer
  • donated 2016-10-02 08:23:39 -0400

    Georgia 6

    $3,261.00 raised
    GOAL: $3,000.00


    The Georgia 6 were rescued when the state confiscated them from a horrible situation. They were with a breeder who ran a mobile petting zoo; the breeder was charged with animal cruelty and ordered not to breed or sell animals. She violated that order repeatedly, and was taken back to court in July, and ordered to surrender all the animals to Animal Control.



    They are now safe in a temporary foster home, and we are working to help find them all forever homes, and to get them all the necessary vet care. The mother is emaciated and in very poor health due to neglect and cruelty. Her 5 babies are doing better, but also need additional vet care.


    We are asking our caring supporters to please help us help these precious souls who have endured horrible situations their entire lives. Please donate anything you are able to help us get them all the care they need and deserve as we work to find forever homes for them. Every single dollar makes a difference for these sweet pigs! Thank you all for being loyal and compassionate supporters of Cotton Branch and our mission to save as many as we can!


  • published The Microsanctuary Dilemma in The Branch 2016-08-13 17:16:29 -0400

    The Microsanctuary Dilemma

    The "microsanctuary" movement has gained attention and momentum over the last few years, and this has many of us in farm animal rescue concerned. To understand the multiple layers of concerns, we must look at the positives and the negatives.

    The only real positive is the possibility of animals being saved, that said, the overall cost and impact on animal rescue could end up causing more harm and LESS animals saved. Read on to see how.

    Here's the number one issue: when a microsanctuary incorporates as a non-profit and actively seeks donations to care for the few animals they are able to take in, this takes away funding from larger, more experienced sanctuaries and forces them to not take more animals in due to funding. Even if the larger sanctuary has room, the funding must be there to cover each animal taken in so the level of care remains the same for the existing residents at said sanctuary. And many of these microsanctuaries actively market themselves, are social network and internet savvy, and, since they have so few animals, have plenty of time to fundraise. This literally prevents sanctuaries who could save many more animals from doing so.

    Sufficient room for farm animals is another concern. We work so hard as animal activists to get major companies to give their animals more space, and room to roam; it seems unfair that even though some animals are saved from confinement, they don't have large pastures to spend their lives in and enjoy.

    Transport vehicles large enough to carry large animals is also a frequent issue. I've seen well funded microsanctuaries whose only vehicle was a subcompact car. They are unable to assist in transporting animals; and even have several animals who they could not transport to a vet, or evacuate in case of emergency.

    Hoarding is a real issue too. There is a fine line between hoarding cases and microsanctuaries. Most of these cases involve people who are not soliciting enough funding, but are continuing to take in more animals than they have room for, or can handle and afford. This leads to unhealthy conditions, as well as sick and unhappy animals. The larger sanctuaries must step up and take in any animals not euthanized when seized by state and local animal controls.

    Even when some microsanctuaries are well funded, and keep their resident population to a bare minimum, it causes a problem for the rest of us. When they are contacted by someone asking them to save an animal in need, some say they will help, and then contact a larger sanctuary. I have seen them rely on the larger sanctuary, or rescue group, to fundraise for vet bills, to transport, to foster and find permanent placement, and to even take on the lifetime care of these animals the microsanctuary “rescues.” Of course then the microsanctuary usually makes sure to spread the word to all of their followers and donors that they are the ones responsible for saving this animal in need.

    Another issue that arises is the failure, and subsequent closure, of these microsanctuaries and the need for those of us with larger sanctuaries to "pick up the pieces" and save the animals for whom they can no longer provide care. We have seen some completely abandoned, with even the animals left to starve.

    All this said, I applaud anyone who wishes to help and rescue animals in need. Two of our friends live in our city and have 11 chickens, 3 pot belly pigs, 4 dogs, 15 cats, a Russian Tortoise, and a Bearded Dragon. They have their lot laid out perfectly to give proper space to the chickens and pigs. The cats have 24/7 access to their own play room attached to the side of their house. The dogs live indoors too, but have a lovely yard in which to play. Their tortoise has an amazing outdoor area to play in and snack. With all these animals, they literally exceed the population of animals at many microsanctuaries, but the big difference is that they consider them their rescues and their responsibilities. They ask for no donations from anyone,and they've not applied for a non profit status; on the contrary, one actually serves on the board of a larger sanctuary and volunteers regularly there, as well as helping with transport and donations to multiple others.

    If someone has 2 or 3 or 4 acres, or even less, and wants to save animals, please do so! But if you do, please provide adequate pastures for farm animals; please be ready to be personally and financially responsible, and not cut into the funding and ability of larger sanctuaries to save many more animals; please make sure you have proper vehicles for transporting larger animals; make sure you have a large animal vet who can care for them and make mobile house calls.

    There are many large sanctuaries out there who just need additional fencing, additional barns and housing, and a little more funding to be able to take in more animals. They have the room, they just need the funding. Anyone taking funding away from these larger sanctuaries with room to expand, is doing a great disservice to farm animals in need.

  • published DamFest 2016 Tickets 2016-07-22 10:08:57 -0400
  • published Rhyan's Birthday Wish 2016-05-18 20:06:30 -0400

    Rhyan's Birthday Wish


    Rhyan is turning 8 on June 23rd and if you don’t know Rhyan, you should know that she adores animals. Her wish for her birthday this year is to raise money and items to help her animal friends at Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary.

    If you would like to help Rhyan with her birthday wish and help the amazing animals at Cotton Branch you can donate using the info below. Any amount would mean so much to a little girl who is trying to help change the world and the way animals are treated.

    We are going to be visiting Cotton Branch for her birthday so if you would like to send Rhyan a birthday card along with a donation, you can send it to: 507 Cotton Branch Rd. Leesville, SC 29070.

  • pledged support 2016-05-02 12:05:29 -0400

    Cotton Branch Meat Free Pledge

    100 votes


    Join us to help decrease the number of animals slaughtered each year, reduce our environmental footprint, and feel better eating healthy foods just one day per week!

    if you're thinking transitioning to a plant based lifestyle, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions!

    Here are some great resources for recipes to help get you started:



    Pledge your vote
  • commented on So, You Want a Teacup Pig... 2016-03-15 09:25:38 -0400
    The main purpose of this article was not to delve deeply into proper diet, but to show the amount of time and dedication needed to care for a pig; and to give examples of how your life will change with a pig as an animal companion. I did want to touch on proper feeding and care so people knew what to expect.

    Pigs are natural foragers which is why I covered the need for lots of time in the yard to root. The pig chows recommended are a completely different blend than the normal farm pig chow, and are specially designed with the appropriate amount of vitamins, minerals, and protein for pot belly pigs. They also help control urinary tract infections and help keep their skin nourished. They were researched and formulated over years of study to give potbellied pigs all the needed nutrients, and help keep them at healthy weights. Pigs are not natural meat eaters, or dairy eaters for that matter, and our opinion is that those items should not be introduced into their diets. I also recommended in the blog that they be fed lots of fruits and vegetables, this is an important piece. Our pig companions will actually toss all of their fruit and veggies out of their bowl to eat all the pig chow first, so I have to assume they do not find it bland. Our taste buds are quite different from animals, and we have been trained to like food that is not “bland,” but filled with sweeteners and salt.

    I follow the recommendations of the North American Potbellied Pig Association (NAPPA), as they have researched and studied the best options for pigs. I also follow what is done with the pigs at Cotton Branch, as we have residents up to 23 years old who are still active and definitely not overweight. Many other respected sanctuaries and pig “gurus” recommend this same diet. Had it not been for NAPPA, our first pig, Oliver, would have been grossly under fed if we followed breeder instructions. When Oliver came to live with us, we learned of the need for rescuing pigs, and the need for proper education on their size and care. By following these guidelines, we have seen our rescued overweight pig, Samson, lose 50 pounds in the last year and maintain his healthy new weight; we have seen our malnourished rescue, Hampton, gain 30 pounds over the last six months, and fill out to be a healthy, happy pig. Our other two, Oliver and Winston, have maintained their proper weights for five and four years respectively and always are praised by our vet, a potbelly specialist, for being so fit.

    One thing I did miss was the addition of coconut oil into their diet. We do give ours one tablespoon per day. This helps immensely with their skin. We also give them treats of shredded wheat, as this has no sugar or salt; and oats (we generally cook those for them in the winter as a nice, warm, addition to their normal meal).

    I am vegan, and have been for 12 years, so we do not feed any of our personal animal companions (dogs and pigs) meat or dairy products. There are wonderful options for dog food, formulated with all their daily needs, plus homemade meals for them too. Our dogs are 11 and 16 now. Our healthy diet, influenced our animal companions’ diets, and then influenced ours again to have more fresh fruit and veggies in our diet.

    As for them being “lean,” yes feral pigs have a leaner and more muscular build, potbellies however, are called that for a reason. They are not meant to be overweight, but they are not meant to be lean. Both can be extremely harmful to the pig. It is for these reasons, I clarified that some eat more and some eat less to stay at a healthy weight. There is a great chart on that gives examples of how to tell if your pig is under or overweight.

    Thanks so much for reading the article, and for responding.
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