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Local animal rescue nonprofits reiterate need for resources and funding

A blind Great Dane was left behind after a man died around Christmas. (Floss Blackburn/Courtesy photo)
Despite low funding, animal rescue organizations and officers are continuing to do what they can in the community

Pet rescue organizations Denkai Animal Sanctuary and For Pets’ Sake Humane Society of Cortez continue to provide services despite limited resources, volunteers and funding.

“It’s an open faucet,” said Floss Blackburn, director of Denkai Animal Sanctuary. “And it’s not just springtime; it is year-round.”

Blackburn told The Journal that the number of pet surrenders has increased substantially in Cortez and across the nation.

“People who have animals that just keep breeding and reproducing, and they don’t have the money or resources for spay and neuter or vets won’t see them if they’re not already a customer,” said Blackburn, adding that fewer people are adopting animals.

“The burden is increasing, and the demand is increasing for help, and the funding is decreasing to help them,” Blackburn said.

NPR recently reported that shelters across the country were full with surrendered or rescued animals.

Blackburn expressed her gratitude for the LOR Foundation’s support of Denkai and other animal rescues in the area.

One of two cats that was looking for a new home after a Montezuma County man died around Christmas and left 23 senior animals behind. Courtesy photo

“How do you shift your nonprofit to keep your doors open and keep helping people and bring in funding? I’m really hoping things start to get better. Thank God for the LOR Foundation, who are funding a lot of efforts in this community right now,” Blackburn said.

Denkai is working to open a new clinic, sheltering surrendered animals, dealing with puppy mills, and trying to help pet owners acquire vaccinations and spay and neuter services. Denkai welcomes donations, volunteers and foster parents.

Blackburn is working to apply for a grant that would allow a local resident to train as a vet technician, as long as they work at Denkai for two years. They also hope to find or train someone to help train animals with behavioral issues.

Lynn Dyer, president of For Pets’ Sake, said the nonprofit has been busy with spay and neuter calls and calls for their feral cat program.

“I would say per week we get about 10 calls regarding people needing help for spay and neuter,” Dyer said. “And we do have a program where we pay 50% of that procedure for dogs and cats. The biggest problem, of course, in the area is the availability of vets.”

For Pets’ Sake was started 40 years ago to help provide spay and neuter services in Southwest Colorado.

Now, the humane society traps feral cats, spays and neuters them and gives them rabies vaccines before returning them to their colonies.

“We have just passed the 6,000 mark on the number of cats we have spayed and neutered in Montezuma and Dolores counties,” Dyer said. “The waiting list is so long right now.”

Dyer said For Pets’ Sake needs people to join their board and financial assistance for their spay, neuter and feral cat programs. Foster families also are needed to help keep up with the number of the surrender calls they receive.

“There’s need for people to help us in fundraisers that we hold, whether that be a bake sale or yard sale or whatever,” Dyer said.

“For Pets’ Sake is totally volunteer and we have no paid staff. All of our money goes to the animals,” Dyer said.

After the woman living down from Sandra Mathis moved away and abandoned their seven cats, Mathis said local pet organizations helped her take care of the animals.

At first, she was taking the time to walk down to the home and feed the cats each day.

“Seven cats were born in that house, and the girl who they belonged to just took off and abandoned them. And this has been going on for years,” Mathis said. “So, I befriended the kittens. I mean, I’m their mother now because I feed them.”

“I have a dog and a cat myself. And it made me think, if something happened to me, I wish somebody would feed my animals and take care of them,” Mathis said.

Mathis, a 77-year-old widow, said she fed the cats until about three weeks ago, when she decided she would need help to take care of them.

Mathis said she contacted Pamela Imm, the new animal control officer at the Cortez Police Department, and Marion Rohman at For Pets’ Sake.

Sandra said Imm and Rohman provided help to some of the cats. A few of the cats went to the Cortez Animal Shelter, and a few were taken to For Pets’ Sake.

“It was wonderful because everyone was willing to work with me,” Mathis said. “I feel good about this because these cats are so tame and so loving, and they deserve someone who’s going to love them and take them in and treat them as their own.”

According to Mathis, two of the cats that had been taken to the animal shelter had found a home, and only one was waiting for a home.

More information about Denkai and For Pets’ Sake can be found at their websites: https://denkaisanctuary.org and https://forpetssakehs.org/.