Photo by JC Amberlyn.
KINGMAN – It’s been nearly a week since Mohave County officials put the clamp down on the Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation animal sanctuary in Golden Valley.
RUFFF founder Hillarie Allison is out of the hospital and periodically back on the site to tend to about 175 dogs (including her personal animals) and 90 cats. She wanted to set the record straight.
“The sanctuary is up and running,” she said.
Her home is condemned and will be demolished due to uninhabitable conditions. She’s not living on the property until she can get an appropriate dwelling. She’s been trying to make improvements for years, but has had to divert what little money she has towards caring for the animals.
Twenty dogs and three cats have been adopted as of Tuesday. She has a small team of volunteers who help care for the animals, mainly the physical labor she can’t perform. Between finding money and trustworthy help, keeping the sanctuary alive has been a difficult challenge.
“I’ve been begging for help but the help just doesn’t come,” she said. “I’ve brought in caretakers who robbed me and destroyed property.”
Process to Adopt
With the possibility of the sanctuary being shut down, Allison is looking to find homes for as many animals as possible. She’s only considering private adopters right now and hasn’t reached out other shelters and sanctuaries just yet.
“If we feel the situation with the county won’t work out, we’ll reach out to them,” she said.
Potential parties can contact Allison, who will conduct a phone interview and make an appointment to see a pet.
A post on the Kingman Pet Connection Facebook page lists a $25 adoption fee, a misconception. That fee is not for adoption, but rather an adoption hold for those who can’t take an animal from the shelter right away.
“It shows you’re committed to the animal,” she said.
She will not permit an adoption without written permission from a landlord for renters. She’s had too many incidents of pets being returned following tenant/landlord disagreements. She’s asking for donations ($35-$50 for a cat and $75-$150 for a dog), but there’s no set adoption fee. Those donations will go towards caring for the animals and bringing the sanctuary up to code. RUFFF has regular donors, but not enough.
“If the money doesn’t come in, we can’t do the upgrades and we’re done,” she said. “We have to raise funds to help care for the animals.”
Sanctuary expenses include a mortgage, pet food, and water - both to drink and for sanitation.
“The water bill runs between $300 and $500 a month,” she said.
All the dogs have been spayed and neutered (except one, who is too big for her to transport).
“They always have been,” Allison said. “It’s one of the first things I do.”
They also all have their rabies shots. The earliest rabies shot will expire in April 2017, and the cats have tested negative for the feline leukemia virus.
Working with the County
Allison said the county wants her to adhere to new ordinances (which weren’t specified by her). She insists the animals have plenty of food and water and the kennels are cleaned daily. She said animal control has done welfare checks in the past and she insists the animals are well taken care of. She’s working to come into compliance with the new standards and has until Dec. 30 to do so.
“Right now, all the animals are safe,” she said. “Anywhere else they’d be destroyed.”
Allison has been running the no-kill sanctuary for 19 years. Many of the animals are those that nobody else wants. Allison has a board of veterinarians who examine the animals, and if they feel it’s in the best interest to euthanize a sick animal, they do.
“If people would spay and neuter (their pets), there wouldn’t be a need for people like me,” she said.
Gasping for Air
Allison currently has four volunteers at her side. She’s always looking for dedicated volunteers to feed and socialize with the animals, clean dog kennels and cat litter boxes, transport them to the vet and groomers and assist in the adoption process.
“It’ doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, just a commitment,” she said.
She needs all the help she can get, be it funding, food or county code improvements. If she doesn’t get it soon, it really might mean lights out for RUFFF. She has a legal team poking into the ordinances.
“It’s now or never,” she said. “This has always been about the animals.”
She would have to reach out to rescuers all over the country to help if RUFFF is shut down.
“I pray that it doesn’t come to that,” she said.
For info on volunteering, donations and adoption, contact Allison at 928-656-2275 or 928-279-6409.