Friday, September 28, 2007

Week of 9/23/07 Humane Happenings

The Birthday of St. Francis, patron Saint of all animals, will be celebrated on Saturday, October 6, at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s no-kill domestic animal sanctuary. At 11 AM, a Blessing of the Animals ceremony will take place at Rainbow Bridge Pet Cemetery. It will be officiated by Father Peter Cacoperdo, Pastor of the Episcopal Church in T or C. All interested community residents accompanied by their companion animals are invited to attend. During that time, Desert Haven volunteer staff members will be on hand for anyone interested in visiting dogs and cats available for adoption. For more information, contact DHAR Facilities manager - Linda Estavillo – at 505-740-2775.

The president of the Sierra County Humane Society, Eliana Aubin, recently attended the Court proceedings involving the James Belis case. Belis pleaded guilty to dangling a live cat by its tail over a pit bull and a boxer in their pen - an act of extreme cruelty routinely used in the savage blood sport of Dogfighting to train certain breeds of dogs to fight. Animal loving folks in our area owe a big thank-you to District Attorney Clint Welborn and his dedicated office staff for giving Sierra County Humane Society representatives the opportunity to speak on behalf of the animal victims at any proceedings involving animal cruelty. His decision is giving animals a voice in Sierra County Courts - a huge step forward to protect innocent non-human victims of abuse and cruelty who can’t speak for themselves. Times are changing indeed.

At his Court appearance, Belis was facing up to 182 days for cruelty to animals - a misdemeanor. It has been reduced from Extreme Cruelty to Animals - a fourth degree felony - when a plea-bargaining deal was made out-of-Court that also involved domestic abuse offenses. Consecutive to his other sentence, Judge Matthew Reynolds gave Belis 177 days of jail time and then probation for the remaining five days of the maximum 182 days that he was facing in regard to the animal abuse case.

The Sierra County Humane Society is determined to help put an end to animal cruelty in this area. Mr. Eloy Martinez of the District Attorney’s office has assured the SCHS President that any animal abuse case brought by our organization to the District Attorney’s office attention will be taken seriously and handled accordingly. Anyone knowing of dogs being trained to fight should contact the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) at 202-452-1100. The caller’s anonymity will be protected. In addition, please contact The Sierra County Humane Society at 505-894-1694.

For information on how to support our animal welfare organization, contact us at 505-894-2778 or 894-1694. You can also check-us out at

Friday, September 21, 2007

Week of 9/16/07 Humane Happenings

The Cash for Clubs program, generously offered each year by Bullocks Grocery, is on again. We urge our animal-loving readers to consider saving all their Bullocks receipts for the Sierra County Humane Society & Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary. Bullocks allows local non-profit organizations to receive 1% per $1,000 of the sales reflecting on their receipts, between the months of Sept and July. Long-time SCHS member Josephine Varnum kindly continues to tally all the receipts dropped off at Paws & Claws thrift shop, Desert Haven Animal Refuge, the TorC public library and Williamsburg Post office. The money collected helps keep our organization’s Spay-Neuter program alive. We rebate $30 for male dogs or cats, and $40 for females, to pet owners needing an extra incentive to get their companion animal sterilized. Applications are available at the TorC Police station, El Rancho Poodles, Hot Springs Animal Clinic, Paws & Claws thrift shop, and also on line at
http://www. We are convinced that our comprehensive Spay-Neuter program is instrumental in curbing the dog and cat overpopulation throughout Sierra County.

Note: Eliana Aubin wishes to thank all the folks who made it a point to contact her personally to find out why there was no Humane Happenings article in the Sierra County Sentinel last week. In fact, it was quite a surprise to find out how many interested folks called over the weekend. A sincere thank-you goes to the management of the Sentinel newspaper who took the time out of their busy schedule to contact Eliana personally regarding their quickly approaching deadline that week. Good business spirit! A home-based non-profit business computer crashing at the worse time, then the necessary purchase & subsequent installation of another computer created huge setbacks that hopefully now are being corrected. It was a good feeling, though, to witness the obvious local interest generated by the SCHS’s weekly Humane Happenings.

Put meaning in your life: become a volunteer. If you love animals or just want to be part of a progressive community-oriented organization, consider volunteering with us: We need your help!

Volunteer at Paws & Claws thrift shop at 109 East First Street, or if you prefer working on projects on Tuesdays, or helping with animal care and dog walking any day of the week of your choosing, contact us at 505-894-2778 for more information.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Week of 9/02/07 Humane Happenings

Maxwell, overseeing his domain

Welcome back, Deb Peters! After a five-week trip back East where she celebrated an important Birthday and visited family and friends, Desert Haven Animal Refuge’s “Tool Time Deb” is back. Indeed, Welcome Back, Deb!

This week, a special thank-you goes to Al Wilkinson and Bootz, two local folks who have shown on numerous occasions that their love for animals and their belief in what the sanctuary represents are for real. When Deb left in July, we needed extra hands to replace her during her absence. Al, Desert Haven’s Dog Trainer, and Bootz, a long-term local volunteer, made it a point to help out in any way they could. Thanks a million, guys!

This summer, Dog Town has been home to a full-house of canines of all sizes, ages and temperaments. From Pierrot, the spirited Chihuahua, to Maxwell, the proud Shepherd, we have it all. It is amazing how much Livia, the small Benjy-look-alike cutie, has improved in the past few weeks since the DHAR volunteers rescued her. The old saying “Love conquers all” comes to our mind when we look at her. From the terrified little canine rag-doll, ready to snap at anyone that she felt was coming too close for comfort, Livia is quickly becoming the want-to-be lap dog of Dog Town. Saving Livia did not change the world, but it made a difference in the life of that one little dog, and it certainly made a difference in the life of each and everyone of us, who had anything to do with saving her and getting her back to a normal life.

Because of a crew that cared enough this summer, the canines of Desert Haven are now able to enjoy to the fullest a completely fenced one-acre area, full of vegetation and interesting things to investigate, from a dog’s point of view, that is. Fencing The Old West section of Desert Haven has truly enhanced the daily life of the canines of Dog Town. Each morning and evening, the crew assigned to animal care on that day brings all the dogs to the now-fenced Old West area, in small groups. It is a dog’s paradise. When they finally get back to their respective play yards after their run, they are welcomed with abundant fresh water and their individual bowl of mixed canned and dry food. While they are out, each yard is cleaned by the “Poop Patrol” on duty. What a dog’s life! No wonder some of our visitors have often commented that if they were a dog, they would love to wake up each morning at Desert Haven! For more information on how to volunteer or support our organization in some ways, contact us at 894-2778. You can also check-us out at