WAHS works to make room for cats and dogs

Lisa Snyder, Western Arizona Humane Society Operators Manager, pictured Tuesday with some of the dogs from RUFFF now housed at WAHS.  Animals are still available for adoption through RUFFF and WAHS.

Photo by JC Amberlyn.

Lisa Snyder, Western Arizona Humane Society Operators Manager, pictured Tuesday with some of the dogs from RUFFF now housed at WAHS. Animals are still available for adoption through RUFFF and WAHS.

KINGMAN – Contrary to popular belief, the animals at Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation are not slated for mass execution anytime soon.

Lisa Snyder, Operations Manager at Western Arizona Humane Society has been working with her staff and other sanctuaries and animal rescues in the area to make room for the animals they’ve gotten and an unknown number of dogs and cats that remain at RUFFF in Golden Valley.

“There was never and still is not a euthanasia plan in place,” Snyder said.

The Mohave County Department of Public Health revoked RUFFF’s permit last week for health and zoning violations. Snyder wasn’t sure what the fate of the sanctuary would be when the county cracked down on the sanctuary Dec. 8, but was working with RUFFF owner Hillarie Allison and county officials to ensure WAHS was ready to handle an influx of animals.

“We didn’t know for sure but we put in an action plan just in case,” she said.

She didn’t sugar coat the situation either. 16 dogs and four cats were taken from Allison’s home at the Golden Valley location. Another 24 dogs and 21 cats were voluntarily surrendered to Mohave County Animal Control by Allison and her attorney Friday. Many of the animals have “severe medical conditions.” Neither Allison nor her attorney could be reached for comment.

Lack of record keeping is one of the violations that led to RUFFF’s closure, which will make finding the animals new homes difficult. Each animal has to be screened for disease and monitored for temperament. Snyder said Valley Fever – a fungal infection spread through the lungs – is alive and well in Golden Valley and if the animals aren’t properly vetted, could infect others.

“We’ve had to medically evaluate them so we’re not spreading what they already have,” Snyder said.

She said at least two animals have been euthanized, “not for space, but because they were ill.”

She also described some of the conditions the animals are in. Most of them have major dental problems due to poor diet and from chewing on the chain link fences of the outside kennels they were kept in. The dogs inside Allison’s home were infested with ticks.

Each animal will be treated for ticks and fleas, vaccinated and dewormed. At least four rescue groups are on standby to take the animals, including American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, groups in Las Vegas and Phoenix. The animals will be going to no-kill rescues and sanctuaries, each of which Snyder has professional relationships with.

“I have visited and know each of the facilities,” she said.

WAHS already shelters nearly 200 dogs and cats. Rescue groups will take both evaluated RUFFF animals and WAHS animals to make room for any others who show up in the next few days. She said the weekend social media frenzy stirred up fears that the animals would be euthanized.

“There was never anything saying those animals were going to be put down,” she said.

Snyder has been working with Kingman Animal Hospital to continue the medical evaluations. There are 13 animals in the medical treatment ward at WAHS Lake Havasu City Shelter. Most of them should be adoptable in the near future, but some will have to be euthanized for severe illnesses and violent temperaments.

According to Snyder, Allison is no longer at the sanctuary, but there is someone on site to care for the remaining animals.


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AZGuy 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I think the humane society does some very good work, BUT, keep an eye out for what happens to these dogs. Soon, WAHS will be saying that almost all of these dogs have Valley Fever. Although it is definitely curable and NOT contagious, it provides a solution in euthanasia to ward off the expense. It will also deem these dogs unadoptable because the humane society will say they're not healthy. WAHS may not want to pay for antifungal medications for a large group of dogs. Please, don't be discouraged. They are still adoptable. However, the statement "not slated for mass execution anytime soon" could well be proven wrong.


danniesjoy 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I read on Kingman Pet Connection, there are still several donation containers for RUFFF around town. Hopefully someone designated by WAHS/Kingman or KAH will be delegated the responsibility of picking up these containers and getting them to the proper people to help with vetting, housing, food and supplies for these furbabies. My prayers to those adopting, caring, treating, fostering and loving each of these sweet angels.


AZGuy 2 weeks, 3 days ago

PLEASE --- This statement in the article is simply not correct --- "Snyder said Valley Fever – a fungal infection spread through the lungs – is alive and well in Golden Valley and if the animals aren’t properly vetted, could infect others." Valley Fever is NOT contagious. Below is a statement from one of many sites that point out this fact. Google -- is Valley Fever contagious in animals. --

Transmission of Canine Valley Fever Canine valley fever is not at all contagious and can’t be transmitted from one dog to another or from one species to another.


jbajat 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Correction about Valley Fever- it is not transmittable from one dog to another as the article implies (or from one human to another). It is a fungal disease (coccidioidomycosis) that lies dormant in the soil in certain dry, desert regions and is inhaled into the lungs. Most cases are mild and the body is able to fight it off, while more serious cases must be treated by anti-fungal medications. Humans often have it only in the lungs, dogs often have the "disseminated" type where it goes to other areas- joints especially. It can be a serious disease and require long-term treatment, but is treatable.

*that said, the dogs at RUFFF would be susceptible to Valley Fever (and other diseases) due to stress, poor diet and immunocompromised physical conditions.

Thank you to the WAHS organizations for taking in these dogs and cats and getting them needed veterinary care. Also thank you to local and state-wide efforts to adopt and place as many animals as possible to offset the already overcrowded situation at our county shelter.


flypiper 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Valley Fever is NOT contagious! It is curable! Hopefully, those animals with the disease will be treated!


Azupsguy 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I own and operate Mangy Mutt Rescue out of Phoenix. Non profit and private rescues from the valley have taken more than 50 animals from RUFFF over the last week. I left with 5 total. I'm a not for profit private rescue trying to help where I can. Transporting dogs to Phoenix for myself and two other rescues. MMR applauds the tireless efforts of Terry, Jeri and David , who have done miracles finding rescues and homes for these animals. NOTE to locals: it doesn't make sense to threaten and dispense firearms at these individual doing exactly what you wanted; moving the dogs and closing it down. I hope Golden Valley police's it's own and supports the efforts of these 3 trying to help. Local help in fixing Jeri and David's 4 wheel drive so they can expedite this process would be greatly appreciated. Please ask for them during daylight hours at the property. A hot meal and bottled water to these 3 from a local restaurant would curb the tension as well. None of these 3 hero's are affiliated with Allison in any way. Please show Golden Valley support by asking how to help or delivering a meal or even some know-how to get their vehicle up and running.


sunnee 2 weeks, 3 days ago

When stated that room had been made for the RUFF dogs.... What happened to the dogs that were in those kennels originally ? Available space was always an issue in the past. This is not meant as criticism just wondering .


webdawg 2 weeks, 2 days ago

WAHS had a great staff and reputation ion the early 2000's, but as usual they screw things up and change staff, who cared deeply about these homeless pets.


Carmen 2 weeks, 2 days ago

if concerned about whether or not there is anti fungal medications available then I recommend donations AZGuy