A mysterious fire. Brutalized animals. Extortion. Rickety Ranch isn’t the haven its owners dreamed of.

A small farm in Hollis, N.H., has evolved into a place to rescue animals — as well as a place of local intrigue. –Jim Davis/Globe Staff

HOLLIS, N.H. — When they took over the 2.6-acre plot of land on Nartoff Road a decade and a half ago, Gary and Diana Bergeron had no intention of turning it into an animal rescue farm; things just sort of worked out that way.

Here came Julianna, a horse that had been injured in a tractor-trailer accident. Here came a pair of mini donkeys — Jack and Tex — from a woman who was going through a divorce and no longer had a place to keep them. Here came chickens and alpacas and Chance the piglet, a runt who had been headed toward euthanization before the Bergerons stepped in.


As the years passed, their little farm would swell to include dozens of animals, maintained with a dedicated collection of helpers — middle- and high-school-aged kids from the area who made daily trips to the property to assist with feeding and cleaning.