Christine Villa, an abandoned mansion located near Danga Bay in Malaysia, had the reputation of being one of the scariest places in the country. Reportedly left uninhabited for more than 70 years, the mansion has become the center of local urban legends.
But while it was long believed to be haunted, the 75,000 square foot property now serves as a safe sanctuary for hundreds of rescued stray dogs.
The transformation of the mansion began after its Singaporean owner initially asked a local to be its caretaker about 10 months ago, The Star reports. The “local” turned out to be Joseph Chia, founder and chairman of animal rescue non-profit group Companion Animal Rescue Effort Society (CARES). He initially housed three or four dogs there to help keep trespassers out.
“But since I was coming here daily to feed the dogs, I asked the owner’s permission to put the place to better use, as a shelter for strays, and he agreed,” Chia was quoted as saying.
According to Chia, CARES has a shelter at Lima Kedai in Gelang Patah with some 200 dogs. The group has been providing shelter for the homeless canines for about 13 years now.
The problem about the old shelter was its location since the place was not easy to reach. Potential adopters of the stray dogs have had difficulty in finding it.
“Christine Villa is more convenient because it is in the heart of town,” he said.
Haunted or not, the mansion has become a paradise for the dogs which now have better opportunities in finding their future homes.