Published: TOMBSTONE TUMBLEWEED, September 1, 1993

Animals to Have New Home

Two fund raising activities are currently underway to build a new home for  Tombstone’s homeless animals.

The City Council at its July meeting decided to dedicate one acre of land in Landin Park, east of the city, for the purpose of constructing a small animal shelter.

The next step, according to Emma Zupic, treasurer of the Tombstone Small Animal Shelter organization, is to raise enough money to construct the building.

“The original plan called for a small building with runs at a cost of $10,000,” said Zupic.  “We have raised almost that much money already, but would like more so we can also have a larger place for the animals to exercise.”

The private organization also relies on donations to pay for insurance and to pay someone to clean up, feed and exercise the animals every day, according to Zupic.

Several groups and individuals have banded together to put on a bake sale this Saturday at the city’s Community Room, located  south of the Visitors Center and the Main Street Program office in the “Old Bank Building” at Fourth and Allen.  Proceeds from the bake sale will go to the shelter fund.

The second fund raiser planned for the animal Shelter is a drawing for a set of steer horns.  The horns were donated by Gilbert Perry and are on display at the Visitors’ Center.   Tickets for the drawing are available at Nora’s Ice Cream Parlor, Vogan’s Alley Bar, and Lucky Cuss Treasures for a donation of $1.00 each, according to Zupic.

The drawing will be held during Emmett Kelly Days in November, according to Zupic. “You need not be present to win, said Zupic. “We will pay to ship the horns anywhere in the United States.  If someone from another country wins it, they will be responsible for the shipping,” she said.

Zupic said many organizations have donated money for the new shelter.  The Wild Bunch recently gave $300.  She also noted that there are donations canisters around town for anyone who would like to contribute.

While funds are being assembled for the new shelter, the population at the current site is growing, according to Zupic.  Currently she lists nine dogs, 13 cats and 10 kittens.

The shelter takes care of adoptable animals that have been picked up by the city after their time has run out in city care. They also accept small pets from individuals. “If someone has an animal they don’t want, we encourage them to bring it to us rather then dump it out in the desert or along the side of the road,” Zupic said.

Zupic urges anyone who would like a nice pet to give her a call at 457-3565.  There is no fee, she said, for the animals that have already been neutered.  If the animal has not been neutered, you must pay a $10 deposit for a dog or $5 for a cat, and you get your deposit back when you bring proof that the animal has been neutered.

Hopefully ground will be broken for the new shelter in about four to six months, according to Zupic. “The sooner the better,” she said, “because the place we have now is miserable.”

Published: THE TOMBSTONE EPITAPH, September 23, 1994

                                          Animal lovers raise stink over need for new shelter

Historical Newspaper Sept 1994


















By Eric Roller

The Tombstone Epitaph

Foundation troubles continue to hold up construction of a new animal shelter in Tombstone, much to the dismay of its backers.

Once more, Geraldine E. Cross, president of the Tombstone Humane Society, said political hurdles have gotten in the way of the needed facility.

The new facility is being built because of criticism surrounding the old one, located about 30 feet from Tombstone’s sewage treatment plant.

The city and humane society agreed to share in the expense of building the shelter because both will use it to house stray animals.

The agreement states that once the humane society acquires land from the Bureau of Land Management in Landin Park, the city would use its equipment to level the one acre plot for the shelter’s foundation.

The city agreed to hook up the property’s septic and water systems if the humane society agreed to pay for  building the foundation with part of the $10,000 it raised through donations.

Although the city leveled the Landin Park property more then two months ago, the plumbing is still inoperable.

“This is what we’re waiting for,” Cross said.  “The septic system is under the foundation…once we get hooked up, then we can get somebody to build the foundation.”

But Mayor Alex H. Gradillas said the building’s foundation must be poured before the plumbing can be finished.

“It’s not our fault,” he said. “The city realizes the need for the shelter, but now they’re supposed to pour the slab,” Gradillas said, referring to the cement foundation.

Marshal Robert D. Gerencser said he is willing to work with both sides in order to get the project completed.

“They’ve been talking about this shelter for five years,” he said.”I’m getting involved to get the thing started.”

Gerencser said the foundation could start by the end of this month. “I think we all agree that we need better facilities as soon as possible.”

The current shelter received criticisms in the past for its location and design, Cross said.

Representatives from Cochise County Animal Control were unable to comment on the shelter because they were unaware of its existence.

The building has three walls with a fenced opening that faces the sewage plant.  The roof of the shelter is metal.

“The only way the animals can get air is through the front entrance,” Cross said. “It stinks out there.”

The design of the building causes improper air circulation and lighting, adding to the suffering of the animals, Cross said.

“It’s not a healthy place for anything. It’s cruel,” she said. “They really need this new shelter here.”

Plans for the new facility include an outside run, air conditioning and a drainage system so the cages can be cleaned with water.  The current shelter has none of these.

The new facility will have larger cages in order to house more stray animals.

Gerencser said there is a problem of people leaving their animals in Tombstone.

“We pick up about one stray per week,” he said. “Some people simply don’t want their dogs any more.”

The strays are sometimes housed in the current facility for weeks at a time.

Some are adopted while others are sent to Huachuca City Animal Shelter to be destroyed.

Gerencser added that he would like to see the new shelter completed as soon as possible so the animals can be housed in better surroundings.

“I care about animals,” he said. “I think they should be better taken care of.”


Published: TOMBSTONE TUMBLEWEED, October 26, 1994

                                                 $11,000 Goes To The Dogs

For years, the City of Tombstone has struggled with a less-than-adequate dog pound with poor conditions.

The Small Animal Association was formed to raise money to help care for the animals and to build a new shelter.

People donated money for the cause.

A place was found for the new shelter in Landin Park, south of the city.

Word went out that volunteer help was needed to pour a concrete slab for the new structure.

People volunteered to  help.

Last Monday, October 17, an item on the agenda of the City Council meeting read, “Discussion/Decision Regarding the Proposed Animal Shelter Pound.”

People were happy.  They thought the decision had to do with putting in the concrete slab and plumbing.

Happiness turned to shock when, at the council meeting, the council decided to spend an un-budgeted $10,900 for a top-of-the-line, customized kennel requested by Marshal Bobby Gerencser.

The cost of the kennel, as proposed by Gerencser, is $20,900.  The Small Animal Association will provide the additional $10,000.

Even council member James Dotson, who usually holds the line on extravagant spending, went along with Mayor Gradillas and Council members Perotti and Freiheit.

“It’s not that we’re against animals,” said one audience member who asked not to be identified. “Of course, everyone is all for a new dog pound.  But to spend $11,000 that wasn’t budgeted, when the Council hasn’t had a financial report for months, has no idea where the City stands financially, and is already facing heavy fines for overspending; when the City can’t afford to spend money on employee raises, or to fix the floor in the fire station that is caving in, that’s outrageous.”

Some suggested the expenditure was a “pork barrel” item, designed to garner votes for Mayor Gradillas in the upcoming election.

Gradillas denied the charge.

According to the Tombstone City Code, “whenever any contemplated purchase or contract for services is for the sum of two thousand dollars ($2,000) or more.” the City must publish a request for bids for the purchase or service.

When this fact was pointed out to City Attorney Biagio Gingo, he said, “I asked [Tombstone Marshal] Gerenscer about that.  he said there was no limitation.”  Both Gingo and Gradillas said Gerenscer claimed he had asked around, and nobody else could provide the required kennel.

Gingo said he does not have a copy of Tombstone’s Code.


Published: TOMBSTONE TUMBLEWEED, June 28, 1995, By Pat Koester

                                                             Pricey Pooch Palace Needs Money

Stan's Fence Installation

Stan’s Fence Installation

The new Tombstone Animal Shelter came one step closer to completion this week.  Stan’s Fence of Sierra Vista installed the perimeter fence and two of the interior runs.

According to Small Animal Shelter Association President Gerry Cross, the fence cost $2,700 and two runs cost $500.  She said an addition 8 or 10 runs need to be installed before any animals can be moved into the shelter.  She said a fund-raiser held last weekend raised enough for one run, but the association does not have enough money to complete the remainder of the runs and to purchase other necessary materials.

The purchase of the shelter was proposed by Marshal Bobby Gerencser and approved by the former Giradillas administration last October, shortly before the election in what many people considered an effort to garner votes for Gradillas’ failed reelection.

Gerencser quoted the city a total cost of $20,900 for the approximately 430-square-foot shell, plus a concrete foundation, plus a perimeter fence.  Then-Mayor Alex Gradillas and council, without hesitation, voted to spend an un-budgeted $10,900 for the project.  Gerencser assured the council the Small Animal Shelter Association had the remaining $10,000 to complete the job.

Gerencser’s $20,900 price tag neglected to include any internal partitions or cages or animal runs or anything except the bare shell.

So the shell, which was erected several months ago, has been sitting empty in Landin Park, waiting for the ladies of the association to raise the money needed to complete the project.

Cross said the association hopes to have more fund-raisers in the future, but none are planned at the moment.  Donations are also welcome.

“It looks like we won’t be able to move the animals from the old shelter until at least the end of the summer.” said Cross.



Tombstone pride in animal shelter

To the Editor;

The Tombstone Tumbleweed never seems to stop whining about the purchase of a new animal shelter/pound for Tombstone.  They say it was a political ploy by the last administration when in fact it was not.  It was perseverance for one and a half years by the then president of the Tombstone Small Animal Shelter (TSAS) and its members, prompted by the many complaints from people in and out of town about the deplorable conditions at the pound now in use.  The Tumbleweed complains of the new building costing $20,900.

The City of Tombstone is obligated to provide humane quarters for its animals which at present it is not doing.  The building did not cost $20,900.  The cost was $16,900 and what could have been built for less with today’s prices the way they are?  It is well insulated and is not just a shell as the Tumbleweed claims.  It has two separate rooms and is designed especially for animals. This same type building is used by breeders and veterinarians across the country.  Again to correct the Tumbleweed, the $20,900 price quote by them does include the foundation and perimeter fence and so far two complete sets of inside cages and runs and more to come.  The TSAS members were very relieved when the past administration approved the proposal made by Marshal Gerencser for the new facility.  Members have been 18 years trying to get this shelter.  It’s something tombstone can be proud of.

Jerry Cross

Tombstone Small Animal Shelter


Published: TOMBSTONE TUMBLEWEED, September 27, 1995, By Emma Zupic

                                               Small Animal Shelter Ready For Dedication

The new Tombstone Small Animal Shelter at Landin Park will be dedicated by Father Bill Parenteau at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 4.  The public is invited to attend.  Hot dogs and soda pop will be served.

The City of Tombstone and the Tombstone Small Animal Shelter, Inc., (Tombstone’s humane society) have shared expenses of building the new shelter on land donated by the BLM to the city for this purpose.  The present shelter is located on land that is not designated for that purpose and has proved inadequate.

The officers and members of the Tombstone Small Animal Shelter, Inc., greatly appreciate the donations which have enabled them to share in the expenses of the new shelter.  One of the objectives set forth in the Articles of Incorporation  in 1977 was to provide a shelter for animals.

In the 1980’s a donation of $5,000 was received from Agnes Keeline (not a Tombstone resident).  Half of that money went into a building account.  The donors are too numerous to list. The Wild Bunch  and Hell’s Belles have made contributions for a number of years, and their most recent donation of $1,000 enabled us to purchase the rest of the runs needed for the shelter.

The total cost of the runs was $3,224.08.  Stan’s Fencing gave a discount.  Otherwise, the runs would have cost more.  Other individuals who made donations for the runs wanted to remain anonymous.

Organizations which contributed toward the building, fences, foundation and other costs were: Tombstone Women’s Club, Tombstone Vigilettes, and Tombstone Lions Club.  Tombstone Ace Hardware and others donated some of the material.  Robert Cross donated many hours of labor.


Published: TOMBSTONE TUMBLEWEED, October 11, 1995, By: Emma Zupic

                                        Tombstone Animal Shelter Dedicated

The new animal shelter was dedicated October 4 at 11:00 a.m.  Attendance was good, and all seemed to be pleased with the new facility.  Mayor Joseph D. Perotti read the proclamation. Tombstone Small Animal Shelter immediate past president Jo Ann Morelock cut the ribbon. Father Bill Parenteau blessed the new shelter and the animals in it, as well as pets brought in by their owners.

Among those present were Marshal Bob Gerencser, Deputy and Animal Control Officer (ACO) Dawn Stanley, Councilman Joseph A. Perotti, City Clerk Charlotte Gilbert, five past presidents, several members of Hell’s Belle’s and the Wild Bunch, and many others from Tombstone and the surrounding area.  Former residents Walter and Phyllis Leonard were also at the ceremony.  He is a past President and she was on the Tombstone City Council.

After the ceremonies and inspection of the premises, hot dogs, potato chips, pop and cookies were enjoyed by all.  President Jeri Cross was in charge of refreshments, and Bob Cross and Maury and Charlotte Gilbert helping.