Our Animals rely on your support in order for us to provide food and vetting to help them to be ready for their forever home.

Who We Are

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
~Lao Tzu

In October of 1989, a handful of dedicated  individuals gathered in the meeting room of the TorC Public Library to discuss organizing a humane group to establish protection – and sanctuary as needed – for the companion animals of Sierra County. The goal was also to introduce Humane Education in elementary classrooms interested in participating in this new endeavor. 

The TorC Shelter at that time was an antiquated, horrendous, taxpayers-funded building where unwanted and abandoned dogs and cats were literally dumped before the great majority – when not all – were euthanized in the most barbaric ways, in this area’s “Wild West” mentality of earlier times.  It took determination and hard-work, also a strong vision of how things could become, for a handful of determined animal loving folks to take a stand and persevere amidst tremendous hurdles along the way, until they were able to get a local humane group off-the ground and growing.  A few months later, the Sierra County Humane Society (SCHS) was formed. Thanks to SCHS newly-elected Treasurer Jerry Aubin, with the pro-bono professional advice of CPA Steve Janos, the SCHS – Sierra County’s first and only Humane Society – was incorporated. It subsequently received it’s 501-c-3 non-profit status.

Ten years later – May 1999 – the land on which Desert Haven Animal Refuge would be built was purchased by the then-Board of Directors on behalf of the organization. Most of the down-payment to purchase the 5 acre-property was donated by the SCHS founder & President. The remainder was contributed by several Charter and Board Members.  A local bank held the mortgage on the land.  The balance on the mortgage would come from the revenues generated by the small Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe that had just recently opened in Truth or Consequences, NM, to benefit the organization.  Josephine and Eliana agreed to take charge, together,  of the new business and to help ensure its success over the years.    

Years have passed and the SCHS has had to be resourceful in raising much needed funds, then and now. For many years, the SCHS Annual Have-a-Heart Dinners were held at the local Civic Center and then they developed into dinner-dances that always filled the local Moose Lodge dining hall to capacity. These days, together with keeping the SCHS Paws&Claws business open five days a week, we also collect and redeem aluminum cans and Bullocks receipts. Contributions from our members and supporters from all over are absolutely crucial to our success. We could not continue to provide our important Spay-Neuter and Spay-a-Stray assistance without on-going donations from our animal loving friends. 

While our small campgroung is reserved for work-campers who share their time, skills and energy helping out at the sanctuary in exchange for a full-hook-up RV space,  we keep a couple of RV spaces available for travelers as well. All the revenues generated by the daily, weekly or monthly rent of the spaces go towards the operation of the small sanctuary, including pet food, veterinary care, utilities,  maintenance , etc.  We also depend on the generosity of our members and friends as we provide emergency financial assistance to our area’s companion animals in need of life-saving veterinary care.  Desert Haven would not be able to rescue and give abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats “a new leash on life”  without the financial support provided by our animal loving friends everywhere.  

Red chihuahua dog with post envelope and icon e-male isolated


PO Box 638
Williamsburg, NM 87942


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