Bluff Animal Rescue Committee Up and Running

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Recent rescue in Bluff. Photo by Paul Martini.

By Dudley Beck

Greg and Ginny Burns began coming to Bluff in 2014. Greg had recently retired from the Office of Comparative Medicine and the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Utah, and Ginny finished her positions as an RN, care manager, and diabetes educator with Intermountain Healthcare. They passed through Bluff on semiannual trips to the Navajo Nation with the Adopt a Native Elder program. After staying at Recapture Lodge and in their travel trailer in Bluff for a couple of years, the Bluff spell was cast and they purchased a small home. It was clear from their trips to the Navajo Nation and seeing the long distances people drove for veterinary care, that a low-cost, small animal clinic in Bluff would be a valuable contribution to the community and the welfare of the animals.

In the summer of 2017, Greg and Ginny had a mobile office building brought to Bluff and set it up adjacent to their home. With some remodeling and generous donations of equipment, supplies, and money from some of their colleagues and friends, the clinic opened in the fall of 2017. Business has been steady and there seems to be increased interest in animal care as word spreads that the clinic is here. The clinic is open 2-3 weeks each month. Ginny and Greg are pleased and humbled by the generous response and kindnesses from the people of Bluff. Dusty Paws Small Animal Clinic, as it is called, is pleased to participate in the Bluff Animal Rescue Committee (BARC) project.

A stray mother dog and seven puppies were found in Bluff in February 2018. Tonya Helgerson, her husband Steve, and their two kids, Dillon and Amber, provided foster care to mom and puppies until the puppies were old enough for vaccinations. Mom was vaccinated and spayed and adopted by a family in Salt Lake City. Homes were found for the puppies through the Cortez Animal Shelter. In response to this event, Greg and Ginny invited some interested people to their home to discuss management of stray animals found in Bluff, a longstanding recurrent problem. Ideas and suggestions were entertained. BARC was formed.

1) All strays (cats and dogs) will be provided care by a member of BARC, whoever is available and willing at the time. Foster care will be provided until such time that Greg can vaccinate and spay or neuter older animals. Vaccinations generally are given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks. Neutering is usually done at 12 weeks, 8 weeks at earliest.

2) Donations will be solicited to pay for needed supplies (bowls, food, kennels, transport cages, and veterinary supplies).

3) Animals will be kept for at least two weeks to observe for diseases prior to looking for permanent homes. Rescue groups are known to be available in Moab, Cortez, and Durango.

Our initial fundraising brought in over $500. Our thanks to generous contributions from Lynell Schalk, Ann Leppanen, Bill Crowder, Carol and Westley Shook, Ceil McDermott, Kathleen Pakish, Dudley Beck and Glen Renner, Al Gerecke and Kathy Smith, Bill Davis and Debbie Westfall, Hoyt Hoagland and Rina Flanagan, and Tonya and Steve Helgerson.

Ann Leppanen and Bill Crowder have opened a portion of their shed for storage of cages, food, kitty litter, water dishes and temporary housing. Tonya’s kids, Amber and Dillon, have offered to provide temporary care at $15/hr until animals find a new home or move to other shelters such as Cortez.

A focus of our efforts involves live-trapping of feral cats. The cats are vaccinated, neutered or spayed, ear marked (tip of right ear) and returned to the wild or to an identified owner. Ear tipping is the accepted practice for feral animals to identify sterilized animals. It is done under general anesthesia at the time of spay or neuter. Costs for these services are provided for by BARC. Only one severely ill cat has been euthanized so far.

As of today, April 8, 2019, we have cared for 20 female cats, 13 male cats, and 6 kittens. We have also cared for 2 female dogs, 4 male dogs, and 8 puppies.
If you would like to attend any of our impromptu meetings or would like to contribute money, or provide temporary foster care to dogs or cats, contact one of our members:

  • Dudley Beck (President) —; 435-979-2079
  • Steve Helgerson and Tonya Helgerson (Treasurer)
  • Joyce Martini and Paul Martini (Secretary)
  • Ann Leppanen and Bill Crowder
  • Lynell Schalk
  • Jackie Warren
  • Ed Dobson and Nancy Verling
  • Greg and Ginny Burns

We received notice that we have received 501(c)(3) status as of February 21, 2019.

We need dog and cat food, collars, carrier cages, a concrete pad for a dog run, fencing for a dog run, dog beds, a printer, an X-ray machine, a chip reader, and money for vaccinations, spaying and neutering.

Donations are welcome. Make checks payable to BARC and mail to Tonya Helgerson at PO Box 470, Bluff, Utah, 84512.

See a stray? Call BARC at 435-979-2079.

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