Bullwhackers benefits a beloved local charity

Presentation of the check at Bullwhackers. L to right: Tricia Kleuskens, Kerrie Hull, Donna Gee with Checkers, Steve Lambert – general manager of Bullwhackers, Sue LeBarron – manager of Charlie’s Place, with Parker, Laurie Siegrist, Katherine Brothers, Oun Phouthavong, Judie Hoggatt, Geoff Duncan, and Al Baker.

By Linda Jones

Bullwhackers again gave a generous gift to the local nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter named Charlie’s Place. Gilpin and Clear Creek counties support and operate Charlie’s Place for homeless and adoptable dogs and cats. On a recent October morning, Bullwhackers’ personnel proudly gathered to present a check for $944 to the manager of Charlie’s Place, Sue LeBarron.

LeBarron and the President of Friends of Charlie’s Place Donna Gee brought two of Charlie’s current residents, Checkers and Parker. Charlie’s Place, as a no-kill shelter, occasionally receives animals from other shelters in the country; Checkers came from Kansas and Parker from New Mexico, and both were scheduled to be euthanized.

The shelter’s mission is to find loving, appropriate homes for adoptable animals. It can house 14 dogs and 25 cats at any one time. The two counties’ animal control officers pick up many of the shelter’s residents and 90 percent of the dogs are reclaimed by their human companions. Unfortunately, only 5 percent of the cats are reclaimed. Adoption costs are competitive with metro shelter costs, $75 for dogs and $60 for cats, with all vaccination and spay/neuter costs included other than rabies.

The Bullwhackers donation was partially funded from the proceeds of its three artisan fairs this summer, according to Kerrie Hull. Artists paid $20 to rent space for one day in the parking lot. The check also represents cash donations from Bullwhackers’ employees and customers.

The two counties jointly, but not equally, support the many services of Charlie’s Place. Because Clear Creek County is much larger and Charlie’s services are more in demand from Clear Creek residents, that county pays 80 percent of the expenses with Gilpin paying 20 percent.. This year the City of Black Hawk also donated $6,000.

Lebarron, who has managed the shelter from its inception five years ago, said the Bullwhackers donation would go toward their popular spay/neuter voucher program. The shelter makes vouchers which cover 50 percent of the cost of spaying or neutering available to residents of both counties on a continuing basis, but this year they were also able to give more than 200 free spay/neuter surgeries in four months. In addition to surrender and adoption services and spay/neuter services, Charlie’s hosts vaccination clinics on the first Sunday of each month and also perform micro-chipping. Crystal Flores, owner of a mobile veterinary service out of Evergreen named Waggin’ Wheels, is the shelter veterinarian.

A 501(c)3 nonprofit, the Friends of Charlie’s Place, was established early on and the Friends solicit grants for the shelter and sponsor fundraisers, such as the annual Slacker Race from Georgetown to Idaho Springs. Volunteers walk and play with the resident dogs and donate food and clothing. Donna Gee urges residents of the two counties to call her at 303-668-0924 for 50 percent-off vouchers for spay/neuter services.

The unusual name comes with a story.  Land for the shelter was donated by an Evergreen woman, Helen Buck, now 96 years old, because she and her husband loved and raised German shepherds. Their favorite shepherd was “Charlie”. Charlie’s Place is located at 400 W. Dumont Road. For more information, call 303-679-2477 or visit www.charliesplaceshelter.org. The shelter is open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

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