The Ceremony was a wonderful time to greet old and new friends to the shelter. It was a beautiful Saturday in May. About 40+ people attended including many volunteers. Volunteers of the shelter took this time to not only celebrate the opening of the new kitten room but to honor long time volunteers, Tonyia Hallen and Chris & Paulette Townsend for their dedication to the shelter and all their hard work.. All three started in 1997.
Tonyia Hallen moved to Tombstone in 1996 after her husband Rodger retired from the Foreign Service. She started volunteering at the shelter in 1997, two years after the current building was built. At that time there were no accommodations for cats. Until 2014 Tonyia held several positions on the Board of Directors the last one being Secretary. Tonyia was passionate about seeing to the welfare of the animals and helped find good loving, forever homes for hundreds of abandoned pets. Her volunteer years included doing just about anything that needed doing at the shelter. She currently lives in Sidney, Australia.
Chris and Paulette Townsend made Tombstone their home in 1997 after retirement. Like Tonyia both Chris and Paulette have held different positions on the Board of Directors over the years. Chris is currently the Vice President.
In 1997 Chris and Rodger Hallen built six cat kennels in the main room of the shelter. Three upper and three lower. Due to water leakage and dampness the three lower ones were removed about a year later.
About 2007 the large cat room, on the East side of the building, with four cat kennels was built. Money for all projects, including building the shelter, was raised by donations. Many, many bake sales were held over the years and Paulette, along with other volunteers baked dozens of goodies for the sales.
In 2011 Tonyia over saw the installation of windows put into the four cat kennels in the “cat room”. This room also housed the washing machine, hot water tank, toilet and utility sink. It currently does double duty as the rest room.
Tombstone Small Animal Shelter is a successful shelter due to the many dedicated volunteers like Tonyia, Chris and Paulette and generous donors and supporters.
Volunteers do everything from taking care of the cats and dogs, transporting to veterinarians, taking pets to off-site adoptions, writing grants, doing laundry, walking dogs, cleaning up the yards and pulling weeds, picking up the mail and entering everything into an online data base. Posting on Social Media and many adoption sites. Sitting at donation tables at all Special Week-end Events in Tombstone, once a month at Tombstone at Twilight and at Staples in Sierra Vista.
Over the years the shelter has seen many changes. A new laundry building was built in 2014 and the washing machine was removed from the existing cat room. This allowed the use of two washers and two dryers. In 2015, 2/3 of the dog kennels were re-framed thanks to a Grant received from the Ryan Miele Endowment for Animal Welfare. Over the years large play yards have been divided and more added. Currently there are 8 large yards and two smaller enclosed puppy yards. Most of the funds for this has come from Grants received over the years from the Ryan Miele Endowment For Animal Welfare.
This new addition will allow better organization and storage in the main room of the shelter and a safer environment for the cats/kittens that will be housed in the new room. It also will be easier/safer for the volunteers working with these cats/kittens. This project was accomplished by a Grant from the Ryan Miele Endowment For Animal Welfare and distributed by the Arizona Community Foundation of Cochise.
The shelter was also able to work with the City of Tombstone to upgrade the electrical to the site, allowing for better heating and cooling and the use of two dryers simultaneously. Construction on both projects was done by Bob Radcliff and his crew at Eco Strada Construction.
The shelter currently has seven cat kennels and ten dog kennels plus two dog kennels kept available for the Tombstone Marshall’s when they bring in dogs.
Tombstone Small Animal Shelter is a 501c3 non-profit, no-kill animal shelter run by volunteers and supported by donations with the added support of grants received.