Ice & Snow Collapsed The Barn onto A Herd of Alpacas, Insurance Company Walked Away Leaving Animals Cold and In The Dark

Crochet Crowd

Nancy Hutchinson. 1st Stop Alpaca Farm

On December 26, 2013, 1st Stop Alpaca Farm in Ontario Canada came home to a devasting site. The barn that housed their herd of Alpacas and other loveable farm creatures collapsed under the duress of the ice and snow from the week before.

One baby alpaca, named Rosie, was pinned under the fallen support beams and died. Upon insurance being called in, it turned out that there was a clause within the policy that ice and snow damages are not covered. This caught Nancy and Garth Hutchinson by surprise. With insurance walking away and a barn that has collapsed leaving the entire farm animals out in the cold, Nancy and Garth are at a loss. Nancy and Garth are friends of Daniel and I.

They have helped us with Live Shows at Creativ Festival and we have been to this farm before. In fact, here’s a video called, It’s So Cute featuring Daniel feeding one of the baby alpacas. Though insurance has walked away leaving these creatures cold and in the dark, strangers are stepping up to provide muscle power and financial assistance to Raise the Barn. Right now, the struggle is to find warm shelter for all of these creatures in the dead of the cold Canadian winter.

See this Interview at The Farm featured by CityNews, a National Canadian News Channel, that visited the farm and asking for people to help. We are asking our fans to help us raise money to “Raise The Barn”. Though the insurance company has walked away, this is about being humanitarian and helping others when it’s most needed. Helping these loveable creatures find shelter and for Nancy and Garth to get a solid footing once again.

There is a donation button on the bottom right of the Crochet Crowd Website, scroll down. If you have $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 or more to donate, your help is greatly needed. By using our donate button, 100% of the money raised between Dec 29th, 2013 – January 15th, 2014 will be given directly to Nancy and Garth to get their barn back up as fast as possible. I am asking for you to stand up with us and provide support.

I will keep a chart of donations on The Crochet Crowd Home Page to be fully transparent with our operation. Help us to help this farm.

If you would like to send Nancy and Garth a message, please use our Comments Area below!


About Mikey, The Crochet Crowd

I am Mikey, owner of The Crochet Crowd Blog. I'm a 'hooker' at heart with the passion to crochet. I am from Ontario Canada and teach how to crochet online through YouTube Video Tutorials. From a simple idea and being at the right place and time in my life back in 2008, the concept of The Crochet Crowd was developed. I'm here to hook and share. Come follow my crochet journey and share yours with comments here and you are most welcome to share your creativity within our Facebook page.
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71 Responses to Ice & Snow Collapsed The Barn onto A Herd of Alpacas, Insurance Company Walked Away Leaving Animals Cold and In The Dark

  1. Ann says: Insurance: Homeowners and Farmers and all the variables. Be up front with your agent, ask questions, ask questions, ask questions and be sure you understand the answers…and your coverage.

  2. Mancy Pants says:

    In reading some of the comments, I am very taken back here, how judgemental people can be, You do not know Nancy and her family , you took at this through such a narrow window . This makes me sad. The cancer comment is very low , I am so sorry Nancy that you have read some of these comments. I’ve followed this since Mikey made us aware,. What I donated was a small amount I only wish it was more. Please take care and keep us posted. I can not wait too see the photo’s when you raise your new barn!

  3. thealpacalady says:

    Thank you everyone for your kindness. Walk in my shoes for a while before judging me. Judging someone does not define who they are, it defines who you are! xoxo Nancy

    • Ann says:

      Noting repeatedly the err of those who were so quick to throw the insurance company/agency under the bus and put them out of business is not being judgmental of you. Neither, I, Carol or Cindi have judged you.
      You and your husband made an error in judgment when you put up a weak structure for the winter weather climate you live in, didn’t read your policy and stopped short of clearing ice and snow from the structure…and therefore should have (now you know better) prevented any animals or people from entering the structure until it was safe.
      Where did Michael get the idea that the insurance was to blame? Did he make it up? Did you believe the insurance company was to blame? If not, did you not think it untoward to allow anyone else to blame the insurance company/agency?

      • Gia says:

        I’ve been watching the back and forth on this incident for nearly a month now. I think it has more than run its course and it’s about time for everyone to get over it. Yes, this was an unfortunate accident. Yes, mistakes were made — isn’t it the bane of humanity to make mistakes? And, yes, some folks went overboard in calling for the heads of the insurance company. Everyone tends to view things through their own lens of experience. If you grew up on a farm, you accept a certain level of loss and tend not to view animals as pets. If you’ve only had pets all your life you’re more likely to be heartbroken over something like this. Neither view is more right or wrong than the other. What causes a problem is people pulling out the judgment card and with no clear knowledge of the circumstances, chastises others for their reactions. How about we treat this as a live and learn experience — a very serious one — and knowing that all of us have and will make mistakes ourselves, let them rebuild in peace.

  4. jann says:

    I want to jump on a plane from Chicago, straight up to you to help keep those beautiful fur babies warm. I would make them warm by crocheting with all that lovely yarn they give to us. My prayers to all of you, God speed to you


  5. Alma Resendiz says:

    It had to be the Insurance again.
    Poor baby llama I feel sorry for your loss.
    For those of us who are just now reading this is there any way we can help?
    It would be nice if there was a neaby farm that would take them for a few days and lend a warm environment until things got settled.

    • Ann says:

      It wasn’t the insurance company or agency fault. The owners did not read their policy to understand that it was not covered for snow and ice damage for their tent structure.
      One animal was lost when the tent roof collapsed when the owners decided to take advantage of after Xmas sales (they stopped working to remove the snow and ice) to go to town to buy a television for his father.
      Farmers lose animals for many reasons, injury, illness, stillborn, predatory animal. It is not the end of the world. They don’t throw up their hands and contemplate getting out of the business.
      Buildings are damaged and cannot be used. Again, not the end of the world. Why the damage to the tent is promoted as potentially necessary to stop farming makes no sense.
      Neighbors rallied (50 in total) came to help make temporary repairs to the tent structure so it could be used until a better structure was eventually constructed.
      Again, neighbors heard of their dilemma and started a fund to raise money immediately….and had raised $3000 quickly. With neighbors to help again, the structure would be a no brainer to put up….and less costly than with a paid construction crew. Just altogether too much drama for one lost animal…and thankfully it wasn’t one of them or a child alone in the structure when it collapsed.

  6. Ann says:

    And if the rally for support had not faulted the insurance company, leaving the responsibility on the owners, I too might have compassion for their negligence. Everyone does make mistakes. Throw in the cancer card, instead of just simply saying, their funds have been depleted due to illness in the family; and they have no way to get a loan to cover this and the story is complete. Otherwise it is a sob story and those who call them out is fair.

    • Heather says:

      You sure are a happy, kind little soul aren’t you! I know them personally and live down the road, and many, many farms around here use these structures. I hope you aren’t treated the way you treat others from the anonymity of the internet in real life.

      • Ann says:

        Sure, if you say so, then I’ll probably be the one with no attendance at my funeral. And will I care? No. And no I don’t mistreat people and haven’t mistreated anyone here.

        This headline is a mistreatment and maligning of the insurance company/agency. If the insurance company had been at fault for any of this, listing them in the headline would have been accurate. But, none of this loss was the insurance company’s responsibility. The owner of the policy needs to understand what they are buying.

        The comments made to rally support against the insurance company or agency were the hateful attitudes here, rather than ones supporting personal responsibility. And if other farms use these type of structures in areas that receive these snow loads, then I wonder what they are thinking…unless the farmers are diligent to go out after each snowfall and remove the snow before it stacks and then warms/rains and ices up.

        We receive snow and ice in our much more southerly climate than Ontario and no we don’t use these structures to house our animals. We use wood, steel or concrete structures for our farm buildings with metal or fiberglass (on low) roofing that allow the snow to slide off so our barns are not damaged.

        It would seem that the neighbors and community had already rallied around this family to take in animals, provide meals, and collect donations of at least $3000 before this posting was made….and without mention that the insurance company was at fault, unless Nancy’s original posting on her farm website blamed the insurance when she believed and then posted they may need to sell the herd as the collapse of the shelter and loss of the infant alpaca was just too much for them to cope with.

        I have no doubt that labor to build the new structure would have been a day or two project with all volunteer labor from their neighbors and friends. That’s several thousand dollars of contract labor already covered. Three thousand would put up a very nice structure to replace the damaged tent area.

        Even then, I don’t understand the drama. Just dismantle the damaged section. Continue on until funds improve to begin building a better structure starting at the bad section.

        I understand farming communities rallying to support each other during unfortunate times, but I still stand that this was not the insurance company’s fault and to use that headline here and to repeatedly harp on it in the posting for support is just not right. Period. And to leave it unchanged when you should all know better is not right…and to call anyone who doesn’t agree that the insurance company was not at fault is also pointing the finger at the wrong person/s.

        And yes, the internet affords enough anonymity to allow opinions and facts to be presented regardless of disagreement. A good thing.

  7. Ann says:

    Did anyone who is with compassion go to the owners’ website and read Raising the Barn 2014 where the owner admits she insisted to her husband and father-in-law that instead of continuing to remove the ice from the tent roof, they instead go to town to take advantage of Boxing Day sales to buy a television for his parents’ retirement home? And then have the gall to beg for money to repair this dangerous structure? Really?

    • catmomma2013 says:

      I did. and I also went to the link below and found out she had been battling cancer as well…Perhaps she was distracted from that to read her policy well…According to this article, (but who knows what you can really believe) Alpaca Ontario was soliciting donations…Yea. who does she think she is, surviving cancer, running a farm, and making a horrendous mistake of trying taking a break from running a farm to save a few bucks on a tv for an elderly parent…

      Wait- it gets better- she’s trying to make some money by selling alpacas!!!!

      • Ann says:

        Oh, yes, the cancer card tossed in for more sympathy. Very costly television. And still, get a loan. No begging and no allowing for begging on your behalf. When does elderly make a person indigent? Take a break from imminent failure of a roof with tons of ice on it. Really? And surprise when it did fail?

    • I think this comment is extremely unfair.

      • catmomma2013 says:

        Me too, Crochet Crowd. I go back to my original thought. Irregardless of whose fault, I think it is sad how jaded people are. Gone are the days of empathizing, sympathy, empathy, compassion. Have you ever had a serious, lengthy illness Ann, and experienced what a blessing it may be that people want to do something nice for you whether you need it or not, whether you deserve it or not? I never had cancer, but I was in the hospital for 5 months, 3 of them in ICU. It was nice that people cared, even though my husband was capable of caring for me.

        I hope you have a day, sometime, Ann, when you would just like someone to listen to you, be nice to you, perhaps cut you a little slack when you don’t deserve it, and you get nada…Maybe you’ve had lots of them lately, and that’s why you are so negative

      • Ann says:

        I go back to the original premise for this call for donations, that the insurance company was at fault.

  8. Sally Martin says:

    So nice to see your compassion in action, Cindy. You say you feel for the owners, yet you wrote 4 posts blasting them for their negligence. Have you never made a mistake? In hindsight, I’m sure the owners are taking a hard look at both their insurance and the type of winter housing used in the future. I am on a very limited income, so all that I can offer at this point are prayers. I wish that I could contribute, but I cannot. I would donate, not because I think the insurance company was in error, but because it would be the compassionate thing to do.

    • Ann says:

      Compassion can also be offered in the form of reality check to those who would overlook personal responsibility and blame an insurance company for a policyholder’s irresponsibiity: 1. Tent structure they call a barn, but is nothing like a barn. 2. Inappropriate insurance coverage 3. Blaming the insurance company 4. Allowing blogs to repeatedly blame the insurance company and subsequent comments from people who wish to defame that insurance company 5. Accepting donations instead of selling the herd because they cannot afford to care for their animals.

  9. whitemtnlady says:

    Publish the name of the insurance company so we can help them go out of business as soon as possible. Sorry about the loss of Rosie. A family in our town has 2 llamas and one of them will come to us and take clover or grass out of your hand.

    • Cindy says:

      You are nuts! It was the OWNERS responsibility to provide a permanent structure for their animals by winter. It’s CANADA for freaking sakes! Did they somehow think magical fairies would help support the weight of snow and ice on a fabric/tent roof? Holy schnikes, folks! Do NOT blame the insurance company for this one.. the blame rests with the owners, alone. They are lucky they lost only ONE llama. Publish the name of the insurance company? Are you crazy? You think it was the insurance company’s responsibility to insure a TENT roof? Come on. Go look at the photos of the so-called barn on the Crochet Crowd’s facebook page! It was a glorified TENT!!!

      • Ann says:

        I agree with you Cindy. Lucky people that they or their children didn’t have this snow collapse and smother one of them. The compassion should be that the owners of these animals quit whining about the insurance they didn’t pay for that would never cover such an inadequate structure; and suck it up and pay to farm out their animals to other farmers, or sell the herd to people who would take better care of them. Not whine to the newspapers or online to beg for donations to fund their irresponsibility.

    • catmomma2013 says:

      I admit, people jumped the gun with wanting to put the insurance company out of business. Ann, I don;t recall the owners ‘Whining” to anyone in the articles that I read. This whole hubbub began when a blogger and crafter wanted to do something nice for someone who had something horrible happen. Yes, they didn’t read their policy…Gone are the days where people do something nice for someone for no reason other than compassion. Do you not think the owners aren’t kicking themselves for NOT reading their policy? Do you think they aren’t at least saddened by the loss of one of their alpacas? By your comments, we are supposed to make a blanket assumption that because of this incident, they are careless in the care of their animals all the time…

      So Cindy & Ann, should something happen to either of you that you could have prevented, but somehow didn’t, due to oversight or a massive brain fart, it will be a challenge for me to hurry to your aid.

      • Ann says:

        catmomma2013 I would not expect or accept aid for something that was my responsibility. If the owners were truly remorseful for their actions/inactions, they would not have allowed the publicity and this article or any other to remain that repeatedly puts the blame on the insurance company…and would not be accepting donations from anyone.

      • catmomma2013 says:

        Point taken. I just think it’s a shame that we’re happy to make our arguments, (myself included), but less happy to help people unless they ‘deserve it’…

      • Ann says:

        These alpacas actually don’t need any structure from the weather. They originate from climates that have subzero temperatures in the winter. To have this type of structure, that an animal will naturally enter if their food is place inside, is more dangerous to them than no structure. In the other article the owners question their ability to pay to have these animals in their care and/or farmed out. So sell them, and end this nonsense.

      • catmomma2013 says:

        Or better yet, let’s make sure we have all the proof we need to make a great argument so that we show how intelligent and right we are…screw compassion

  10. Cindy says:

    I think it’s gracious to donate to help them rebuild, and generous to get help for anyone who needs it to rebuild after a storm. But.. it’s NOT the fault of the insurance company simply because the rancher/owner bought insurance that did not cover ice and snow damage. Those exclusions are not hidden, they’re defined in the policy.

    Keep that in your mind when you look over your own insurance policies. I am not an insurance seller, nor have I ever been – but as a person who knows you get what you pay for, and it’s up to the consumer to spend a little more to ensure their livestock , household, ranch or businesses are covered properly. Storm damages affect families, businesses and farm animals as well as pets such as horses and sheep. Blaming the insurance company is just too easy, when errors in judgment are made at the time people buy insurance to cover their needs. I feel for them, for sure. But they likely know that their lack of coverage rests with their decision to under-insure in order to save money. The insurance company is not cheating them out of anything at all, they will cover only what is insured. That’s business folks. Just like any other product you buy. Buyer beware.

    • Cindy says:

      Addendum: I saw the photos of the “barn” which is actually a TENT roofed structure. A FABRIC ROOF IN CANADA? ARE YOU SERIOUS? Did they actually consider this a permanent, safe structure for the assets of their business? I think they’ve likely had a great wake-up call with this one.. and the death of the one baby alpaca rests upon the owners shoulders. For those of you who have a nice little dining tent in your back yard.. is it still up in Dec/Jan?? No. Why? BECAUSE IT’S A TENT! If you did leave it outside, and snow/ice crushed the roof, collapsing the usefulness of the tent, would you file a claim with your insurance? Would you expect THE INSURANCE COMPANY to rescue your animals that slept under your dining tent, and find them a warm, safe spot? NO! This is a ridiculous situation that should never have occurred and it pisses me off to no end. It was THE OWNERS FAULT! The insurance company covers what the owner insured… and everyone else is thanking god and picking up the tab for them by throwing donations their way. SMH in disbelief. Seriously, if anyone comes to judge them, it should be an animal control agency. If that agency approves of tent roofs for animal barns, they need to be held accountable for such a lapse in judgment, as well.

    • Kestrel says:

      I’m sorry if you can’t or don’t want to donate, but compassion costs nothing. Expand your heart a little. It will do you good.

  11. Crochet Dee says:

    Sending a check. Wish I could send through PayPal. It would get there quicker.

  12. Angie Casas says:

    So sorry about Rosie. Its just too heartbreaking for these poor animals being without shelter

  13. Angie Casas says:

    So sorry about Rosie. Its just too heartbreaking for these poor animals being without shelter. Lets help

  14. Reblogged this on inspirationsglass and commented:
    These are local people to me, any and all help is appreciated.

  15. Debbie McNeice says:

    Just saw this. Hope I am not too late. I gave a donation. Couldn’t do much, but in this day and age every penny counts! God Bless you Mikey and Dan and your friends as well!

  16. Vickie Teal says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t donate today but I will soon. My family has a total of 8 dogs, a bearded dragon & a snake. I couldn’t ask my daughter & grandson to give up their babies when they had to move in with us. So we’re one big happy family. We also have 3 lovebirds & 5 parakeets too. Good luck & may the Lord bless you.

  17. Kathleen Jones says:

    Please send this story to “Ellen DeGeneras”. Sure will surely help…she is so thoughtful of animal welfare.

  18. Nan says:

    Figures that the insurance company let them down. They are right there to sell but do not mention the problems wit their policies until we are in need. Please post the name of the insurance company so we will all know who to watch out for. So sorry these people and the animals have to be a pawn in their games.

  19. Norma Sexsmith says:

    My condolences on the loss of Rosie. I do hope that these lovely creatures have found a warm barn to stay in until their new barn is built. And it is wonderful that Mikey and Daniel are helping spread the news to support the fundraising. I will share this on Facebook for my friends to help out.

  20. Just donated! Wish there was more I could do to help out. I hope things get better for you and those beautiful darlings soon!

  21. Jean says:

    What is the name of the insurance company.

  22. Angela Lewis says:

    I need to send a cheque too…

  23. Daniel says:

    Never never assume your insurance will cover anything… cant imagine the possibilities that can occur, from wind fire water and ice but most of it they will NOT cover, flood damage from broken pipes…nope, not unless you have coverage…same with your car, your boat, your garage, your house, even your own kitchen sink so buyer beware, they want to cheat you out of it. Friend of mine was away from home for a weekend trip, came home to their house burned down they had just renovated… Insurance still hadn’t paid three years later because they said it was arson, but… key is, insurance agent gets a kickback if they DONT pass a claim and he passed on a tip to the fire marshal as well….so don’t assume even tho you have coverage that you will get help
    good luck with the precious critters…

    • Liz Lind says:

      Hi Daniel, I asked in comments if I could send a check,but got no reply. Please let me know if i may and to whom and where to send. Thanks, Liz XO

      • You can send a cheque to our studio. The Crochet Crowd Studio, 10 Mullen Drive, PO BOX 473, Walkerton, Ontario Canada, N0G-2V0 Make checks payable to The Crochet Crowd. Thank you for your generousity!

  24. Tenille says:

    Unfortunately I couldn’t donate as much as I would have liked to but sending all my best from the NT, Australia. I hope you raise enough to rebuild quickly.

  25. Bev Moon says:

    This is terrible. I live in TN and we have alpaca farms here but we don’t have the heavy snows that those of you up north have. I’ve been to a few alpaca farms around the US–babies are so cute. I’m a knitter and do use alpaca a lot but this won’t stop me from going to the crochet site and sending a little donation.

  26. mrsmicahmae says:

    Just donated! Can we reblog this?

  27. Debbie Nicholson says:

    So very sorry for your loss! I hope all of our donations together will help you rebuild!

  28. Gia says:

    Having grown up on a farm (with my own over-indulged, spoiled rotten lap lamb) I know how devastating this can be. It’s also my birthday and I’ve started a little tradition — a reverse birthday present. I make a point to support a good cause on the 29th of December and having this show up today was certainly no coincidence. Best of luck — I’m sure things will be better soon.

  29. Look here to donate:
    Button is in bottom right column. Every penny will help.

  30. I am a senior who is so sorry for what has happened to these beautiful animals. I would like to donate #5-00 but I donot know how to do so.pleasesomeone help me .thankyou

  31. evelyn overman says:

    Donation to follow. Keep the faith, I am certain the good things that you have done will be repaid and you will once again be ok. Shame on your insurance company. Many blessings to you.

  32. Zofia P says:

    I can’t find the “Donation” window for the “roof collapse”..

  33. Donation sent. Prayers for warmth, light and shelter for these beautiful animals.

  34. Ruby Stewart says:

    Sorry for your loss. I am sending a donation and keeping you in my prayers. God bless.

  35. Liz Lind says:

    Can I send a check? I so, please send me address and i will send a donation!

  36. Lu Ann says:

    Insurance sucks! I’m so sorry this happened. Sending donation.

  37. Cathy Sioch says:

    Nancy and Garth, we are praying that there will be enough money raised to rebuild your barn and save your alpacas! I’m so sorry about Rosie. Breaks my heart. I live in Maine and we are having a similar winter here. It can be devastating but if we all work together we can get thru it! Hugs from us, try to stay positive!

  38. tnmorgen says:

    Check the “mikeyshelpdesk at hotmail account” for my donation…

  39. Eldonna says:

    This makes my heart hurt.

    • Mine, too, Eldonna. My mom and stepdad have raised sheep for over 30 years, so I know how important having a barn for the critters that we quickly come to love.

      • Cindy says:

        I’ll bet your parents have a solid structure over their animals heads, too! Did you notice that the barn that collapsed was a tent like structure? Bet your parents would have only used a tent roof over their sheep during the spring/summer months, and it would have been temporary. It’s unfortunate, but the owners didn’t think very far when they put up (literally) their barn, and considered it able to support the load of snow and ice that they knew would occur during the winter months. I feel for the animals. They are loved, and a commodity for the family – but they were not protected by the owners. When you cut corners by installing a fabric/metal pole roof over your assets, and then something goes wrong.. and somehow you manage to blame it on the insurance company.. sheesh. Sorry, they are the ones who would have needed to plan a contingency for emergencies such as these. Their animals are their responsibility, and now generous donations by knitters and crocheters who likely are struggling themselves, are footing the bill. They should become part-owners, depending on the amount they’ve contributed.

      • Ann says:

        I agree with Cindi. Like really, Tons of water on top of a tarp…and you don’t clear it off, and then are wonderstruck when it collapses? I notice that other Alpaca, sheep owners use these structures and the wind shreds them. If you cannot afford a proper structure: at minimum a pole building with a metal roof so the snow slides off or can be brushed off…then you need to consider a business that doesn’t put your livelihood at risk. Could have been you or your child trapped and killed.

      • Carol says:

        I’m so sorry about your animals. However, living in Canada, I would have assumed that you know how much snow you get and would have built a stronger building. A metal and fabric roof is no match for several feet of snow. I hope your next barn is a much better building.

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