The Casa's San Luis Valley Animal Outreach

When Susan and I moved to San Luis to begin creating the non-denominational Casa de Santa Maria, we were struck by the San Luis Valley area's isolation and poverty. Sadly we were also quickly exposed to the overwhelming number of abandoned animals left all alone to fend for themselves. (Faced with dealing with the severe Colorado winter weather.)

We began by making regular trips (Meals On Wheels) through the streets, seeking out strays, feeding them and giving them some love and affection. We soon found animals being drawn to our home—lining up for morning and evening meals. Currently Susan and I have three live-in rescued cats and three live-in rescued dogs.

Molly Tucker Smokey
Molly Tucker Smokey
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O.J. Tootsie Zoey

Our 2012 Animal Outreach Projects

Casa de Santa Maria and the San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society (SLVWS) are teaming up to seek grants to help bring a Mobile Spay and Neuter Clinic to the town of San Luis to help deal with animal overpopulation.

Every week the San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society (SLVAWS) has to turn away many homeless animals that will end up being killed or dying difficult deaths because they unable to shelter them until the dogs can adopt out.


The SLVAWS is located 7 miles from San Luis nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Frank and Aileen Peek morgaged their home to purchase an old gold mine site to house the many homeless animals of the San Luis Valley.

Costilla County is the poorest county in Colorado with 27% of its population living below the poverty line and is among the 60 poorest counties in the entire U.S.

The SLVWS shelter is near the city of San Luis, CO, which has a per capita income of $8,878 and ranks 350th in income out of 354 places in Colorado which is a state with an average per capita personal income of $34,283.

Because of this poverty this area has no animal control officer or regulations. Many of the homeless animals starve to death, die of disease or injury, or are shot by local farmers or police.

Because of the poverty not many animals are spayed/neutered and litters of kittens and puppies are constantly being born with no homes to go to or folks to look after them.

Over the past few years Susan and Milt have personally rescued 13 animals and found them homes. Because of donations by Casa supporters they are able to feed countless others that find their way to their front door. The Sanderford's have personally donated time and monies to see these animals have been spayed or neutered, and drive 90 miles round-trip to take injured animals to seek medical help.

Thanks to Casa supporters who have funded these efforts we have been able to continue to support a portion of neglected animals of San Luis! In 2012 we hope to be able to take our animal care fund to the next level to also help out the San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Shelter. Please DONATE if you are able and feel led to help.