Supervisors give new RUFF president 2 weeks to comply

Troubled Golden Valley rescue gets slight reprieve

Christine Anderson, center, new president of RUFF, talks with one of her supporters during Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The animal rescue sanctuary was given until Dec. 30 to comply with health and building codes.

Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.

Christine Anderson, center, new president of RUFF, talks with one of her supporters during Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The animal rescue sanctuary was given until Dec. 30 to comply with health and building codes.

KINGMAN – The lives of some 130 dogs and 70 cats remaining at the condemned animal rescue shelter in Golden Valley were spared for another couple of weeks by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Buster Johnson wanted to immediately revoke the kennel license of Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation, or RUFF, which has been the subject of formal complaints and violations almost since its inception in 2002, he said.

The board heard a report Monday from Public Health Director Patty Mead on horrible conditions at RUFF and listened to testimony from several citizens before voting 4-1 (Johnson opposed) to table the item until its Jan. 3 meeting.

RUFF was given until Dec. 30 to rectify health and building code violations at the 40-acre property on Laguna Road in Golden Valley.

Mead said public health officials visited the property on Dec. 8 and noted a number of violations, including no handwashing sink with hot water and soap, plumbing fixtures that were not properly connected, no bedding sand in the kennels, open bags of animal excrete and no record book on the animals.

Violations were not corrected upon a return visit the next day, so the home was “red-tagged” as unsafe for human habitation, and the animal rescue operation was shut down.

“We’re allowing them time to improve sanitation,” Mead said. “All we can do is enforce sanitation issues on the property.”

Johnson said RUFF has been a “thorn in our side” since 2002, and the county has spent tens of thousands of dollars investigating the place. He blamed the courts for the letting the facility go because everyone loves animals, despite the list of violations.

Property owner and RUFF founder Hillary Allison was in the hospital when Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Officers condemned her home at the rescue sanctuary on Dec. 8.

Christine Anderson said she’s taken over as president of RUFF as health problems have prevented Allison from caring for the animals.

“The animals are being taken care of and we’re no longer taking in any more animals,” Anderson told the board.

About 40 dogs have been adopted and 10 more are awaiting adoption by people from out of the area, she said. Livestock such as pigs and goats have been removed from the property and will not be returning until it’s brought up to code, she assured.

Johnson asked about the nonprofit status of RUFF, and Anderson answered that the organization is no longer a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Anderson said the trash bill has been paid and the bags of animal waste have since been removed from the property. She asked for an extension on the Dec. 30 deadline in order to raise funds needed for work to bring the home into code compliance, but was denied.

Anderson had difficulty answering supervisors’ questions about RUFF’s budget and revenues. She said monthly bills vary from $5,000 to $8,000, including $500 for water and $2,000 to $3,000 for food, plus maintenance and vet bills. Revenue is around $800 a month, she added.

“So you’re taking care of 200 animals on $800 a month?” Supervisor Gary Watson asked.

Supervisor Jean Bishop said she received numerous emails and phone calls from people who want to see RUFF’s license revoked. However, she went out to the property last week and saw no “atrocities.” Animals had food and water, though they needed grooming.

In her three minutes of public comment, Dawn Sloat of Golden Valley said the first rule of running a rescue is knowing your limit.

“That concept has been forgotten here,” she said. “This has gone on for years. The can is always kicked down the road. If more chances are given, we’re going to be addressing this again. I would ask that you revoke the license so this doesn’t continue.”

County attorney Bill Ekstrom said the health department has given RUFF until Dec. 30, and noted that Allison has hired an attorney, so it would be better to wait before taking action.


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AZGuy 1 month ago

This whole thing is NOT about either side winning. Nobody will. Big changes have to be made. There is not enough time for this facility to get into compliance. (If they think they can, they'd better work 24/7 through the holidays.) There is a large percentage of these dogs that are simply NOT adoptable. RUFFF is the only life they are going to have. Take them out of there and they will be euthanized almost immediately. Anybody have a solution? Other rescues are filled up. The Kingman shelter is mediocre at best. The destiny of most of these dogs is a lonely, sad demise. Merry Christmas!


Carolyn 4 weeks, 1 day ago

I wish that these agents would come down as hard and as swift as they did on this good lady trying to do something that these good ole boys who run this city refuse to do..... How about doing something about shutting down some of the meth houses in our town !How about that Mr watson!


billy 1 month ago

Is Buster Johnson the only one with an education. CLOSE the DUMP down. Charge the owners with abuse


Carolyn 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Billy you don't have a clue as to what is really going on here!Buster is part of the problem as to this happening here.refusing to grant money for a proper animal shelter.What we have now is nothing but a slaughter house!


hornett 1 month ago

Sounds like there is not a solution other than euthanization . sometimes that is the only answer...


lynn22 4 weeks, 1 day ago

The animal population problem will not go away.It's my opinion the place needs to be closed.I don't have the answers but will state that we've not heard a good word about that place.The animals should be given away since they are 'fixed'.Not all of us can afford a high adoption fee.Or one at all.Some things you simply cannot recoup.To ready for an animal adoption (we are) you have to have funds for the pet's needs.She simply has made it impossible for some TO adopt.Albeit well-intended (MAYBE), animals will perish because of her.Let's turn the attention to pet OWNERS who don't spay or neuter.Dogs and cats will DO ANYTHING-BREAK OUT, DIG UNDER mate.I recall a news article where some genious came up with the idea of capturing about 20-30 feral cats by the courthouse.They had them 'fixed' and returned them to control the pidgeons.I have never seen a cat scale the side of a building to get to a bird.Animal control is sadly lacking and some of us expect better.Been too damn long coming.


RoundFace 4 weeks, 1 day ago

I don't know Billy, Perhaps we should revisit your comments on the flag article. The one where you talk about people that " steel" the flag.


Gunguy45 4 weeks, 1 day ago

billy, still haven't learned have you? Maybe check a few facts before spouting off.


LaJuana 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Hillary has saved at least 10,000 animals. For that she deserves some credit. For those of us who believe the animals have souls, this is a great thing. She may have been foolish by taking in so many animals, but if not her, who? It should be obvious that she was not spending her money or the money given to her on herself since what the country condemed was HER home, not the home of the animals. There is no way that this property will brought up to code by the 30th of December, so the animals who live there will be killed. I hope that makes the country feel really good about themselves.