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Save A Stray Update

Despite 2020 being such a difficult year for us all because of the Pandemic, animal rescue never takes a day off! We had some major challenges as did all rescues with not being able to spay cats like we normally would have so it seems this spring we are really feeling it with so many kittens being born and it’s been a pretty busy year for us so far! We continue to foster, vet and transport those that come into our rescue when we have space and funds available. We continue to focus on actively spaying and neutering with our monthly clinics thanks to the overwhelming support from Dr Katy and the entire Sage Country Vet Team! If you believe in and support our efforts we would be most grateful for a donation in any amount. We are feeding a lot of cats and kittens right now, and helping with the cost of the spay and neuter clinics. So far this year over 100 local cats have been fixed and several dogs!! These efforts will stop so much suffering of unwanted kittens and puppies from being born. If you prefer to support us by donating cat food we could certainly use that as well. Any friskies dry or pate canned is what we use the most. One of our generous donors (thank you Sally!)has set up a monthly order from chewy delivered right to us and we appreciate that alot! Our address for delivery is 132 South Buena Vista in Burns. We also have an account with Sage Country Vet and at U S Bank. Our mailing address is P O Box 403 in Burns. PayPal is also set up if you click on our website address here on our FB page and look for the “Donate” button. Thank you!

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Here we are again almost to the end of another year! 2019 started out with a very difficult cat rescue in January where we rescued over 35 cats and kittens that were living in deplorable conditions from a local residence, most were sick and under socialized. Things really haven’t slowed down since. All of us small rescues and the shelters we work with have seen one of the worst kitten seasons in many years, so many born we can’t keep up. The only solution is to spay and neuter your pets and please don’t abandon them either!!
This year to date we have rescued and re-homed over 150 cats and dogs. All were transported to shelters and rescues to find their forever homes.
A huge thanks to Dr. Katy and the Sage Country Vet Team for caring for our rescued animals and donating their services once a month for our spay/neuter clinic, this clinic has made a huge impact and we appreciate it so much! This year through November over 100 cats and dogs have been spayed and neutered! Please call or text me if you would like to know more about this program. 541-589-1104.
We would also like to thank Dr. Macie and the rest of the team at Harney County Vet Clinic for housing the stray dogs..this year it’s been a real challenge with limited city and county funds available to do so. It’s so nice to know they have a safe place to go until claimed by owners or we bail them out.
We want to thank all of you that support our efforts, have donated, fostered, adopted and helped transport. Animal rescue is a roller coaster of emotions because most of the time we are dealing with the sick, neglected, abandoned and abused animals. But when we see their adoption pictures we know its all worth it and it gives us the strength to keep going.
During this season of giving and throughout the new year please remember your small all volunteer rescue. We have donation cans at Figaro’s and Thriftway, we have an account at U S Bank, you could donate to our account at Sage Country Vet, our Facebook Page and our mailing address is P O Box 403 Burns.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

Melanie (Tiller) Epping and Angie Tiller
H C Save A Stray Rescue

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10 Year Save A Stray Anniversary!

2018 marks 10 years for Save A Stray! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since the fall of 2008 when we walked into the Harney County Vet Clinic and asked if there were any unclaimed impounds… who knew how rescuing 2 black labs that day would change our lives and the lives of so many cats and dogs to follow. In 2018 we have rescued, re-homed, fed,doctored, transported and aided 115 cats/kittens and 47 dogs, plus 172 feral cats. With the help and support of Sage Country Vet hosting our monthly low cost clinics, 76 more owned cats and dogs have been spayed and neutered. We appreciate the few dedicated volunteers working hard to stop the suffering of feral cats and kittens by trapping and getting them fixed and vaccinated, also know as TNVR (trap, neuter, vaccinate, release) This year to date the 172 feral cats in Harney County that have been done, a lot of them with the help of their caretakers is a huge win for all concerned. Now many unwanted kittens won’t be born into a life of suffering. Most of these colonies are a result of heartless people dumping cats out of town or abandoning their cats when they move, which is not only illegal but cruel and inhumane. We will always try our best to help with strays and unwanted litters but kitten season can really become overwhelming so please contact us to get your cats spayed and neutered! Text or call 541-589-1104

We want to take this time to thank everyone that supports Save A Stray by fostering, transporting, donating, caring, and speaking out when they see abuse and neglect.

If you haven’t already please like our fairly new Facebook Page Harney County Save A Stray Rescue!

Your continued support is needed to be able to keep our rescue going. We have our donation cans out at Figaro’s and Thriftway. A huge thank-you to both locations for allowing us to keep our cans there over the years! Donations of cat and dog food can be dropped off at 132 South Buena Vista for our fosters and food bank, we have an account at U S Bank, an account at Sage Country Vet, you can donate through our Facebook page, or you can mail a check to P O Box 403 Burns, Or. Every penny goes directly to the care of the animals. We are an all volunteer 501-C3 non profit animal rescue. Our tax ID number is 27-1114475.

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Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from Save A Stray


_Here we are at the end of another year! It’s been over 9 years now that Save A Stray has been helping our local community with rescuing, rehoming, transporting, fostering, providing medical care, and spaying and neutering our local cats and dogs. We recently took in two stray cats both have been badly injured. We have already incurred 350.00 in vet bills and would appreciate donations towards their care. “Popeye” had to have his eye removed after he was found with it hanging out, and our newest arrival as you can see has been attacked by a predator and is emaciated..  Both of these boys are a sweet as can be. Please remember us during this season of giving with a year end donation. We want to thank all those that support our efforts and everyone that has donated and helped us out this year! Our foster homes and transport help is greatly appreciated!

This year to date we have rescued 80 cats and kittens and 40 dogs. These cats and dogs were transferred to no-kill shelters and have gone on to find loving homes.

Save A Stray also continues our Trap, Neuter, Release program of many feral cats in our community who were once someone’s pet and now have become community cats trying to survive. Please do not abandon your cat/s when you move! We had several calls for help this year when mama cats and their babies were left behind when owners moved. This is the way whole colonies get started and the suffering begins when these once house pets end up struggling to find food and start multiplying. We do our very best to answer every call with our help and support. We always need more foster homes!

We continue to have our monthly,low cost, spay and neuter clinics here locally with Dr. Katy and the Sage County Vet Team, we sure appreciate Dr. Katy’s help with this we couldn’t offer this service without her generosity! This year 24 dogs and 87 cats were spayed and neutered at our monthly clinics. I encourage owners to contact me if you are low income and need your dogs or cats fixed. Help us by doing your part with the pet overpopulation! Call or text 541-589-1104

All these services provided by Save A Stray cost money and we would appreciate donations of any amount so that we can continue our work here in Harney County. We have an account set up at US Bank or mail to our P O Box 403 in Burns or at our website We are a 501 C-3 Non Profit, our tax ID # is 27-1114475. Donations of cat and dog food can be dropped off at 132 South Buena Vista in Burns. Thank -You!!

Category: Everything

Another year gone by!

As another year comes to a close we want to give you an update on all that your local, all volunteer rescue group has been doing. Save A Stray receives many calls for help on a daily basis, here are just a few of the reasons – when strays cats are found, owners pass away and their animals are now homeless, kittens have been abandoned because their mama has been killed or they have been dumped, impounded dogs need to be bailed out so they won’t get euthanized, owners can no longer keep their pets for various reasons and owners that are needing help with cat or dog food. We gladly help as many as we can with the resources we have which are most of the time very limited. This past year to date we have rescued 140 cats and kittens and 33 dogs. These cats and dogs were transferred to no-kill shelters and gone on to find loving homes. We desperately need more foster homes for cats and kittens, Angie and I just can’t keep up with the need when kitten season is in full swing, please call or text us if you can help, we provide all the supplies for fostering. Save A Stray also continues our Trap, Neuter, Release program of many feral cats in our community who were once someone’s pet, 121 feral cats were fixed this year! A huge thanks to Sissy Mills and Gayle Macky that are a big part of our TNR program, many cats have better lives because of all their hard work! We also have monthly,low cost, spay and neuter clinics here locally with Dr. Katy and the Sage County Vet Team, we appreciate them so much! This year 22 owned dogs and 80 owned cats were spayed and neutered. I encourage owners to contact me if you need your dogs or cats fixed. There simply are not enough good homes for them all, especially the cats, they are the ones that suffer the greatest because of it! You can text or call us at 541-589-1104. All these services provided by Save A Stray cost money and we would appreciate donations of any amount so that we can continue our work here in Harney County. We have an account set up at US Bank or mail to our P O Box 403 in Burns or at our website We are a 501 C-3 Non Profit, our tax ID # is 27-1114475. Donations of cat and dog food can be dropped off at 132 South Buena Vista in Burns.

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What We Do & How You Can Help

Sure most of you would agree that there are certain situations that you cannot turn your back on, for instance, the plight of unwanted, abandoned, and homeless animals. You are receiving this e-mail because we believe you have concern and compassion for our helpless furry friends.

A handful of dedicated people in Burns contribute countless of volunteer hours, and their own money, to help our animal friends in their town because there is no animal shelter; they run the non-profit called Save a Stray .

We are hosting this annual spring fundraiser to help Save A Stray help animals, and to provide you animal lovers with the opportunity to help also by choosing to donate to this shoestring animal rescue.


SAS is located in a economically depressed rural area – has lots of homeless animals and few resources;

SAS bails out unclaimed impounded dogs from a local vet clinic so they don’t get euthanized; cats stay with owners or are fostered until they can be relocated;

SAS receives several calls a week to take in unwanted animals;

99% of rescued animals are taken by volunteer drivers to shelters and rescues outside of Harney County where they are altered, and have a greater chance of finding forever homes;

TNR – trap, neuter, and return of feral cats is done almost monthly. After being trapped, the cats are driven to Bend to be fixed at Bend Spay and Neuter, and then are driven back to Burns;

SAS financially supports regularly scheduled local low cost spay & neuter clinics (Sage Country Vet).

Success since 2008
*Number of impounded animals is declining
**Close to 962 dogs, and 905 cats rescued
***1334 cats and dogs spayed & neutered!

IT’S EASY TO DONATE…simply click the DONATE button on the Save A Stray website (above). When you write a check you can send directly to the Harney County Save A Stray Rescue account at US Bank or Save A Stray P O Box 403 Burns, OR 97720. Your donation is tax deductable. At your request we will send you a receipt, please let us know the $ amount of your donation. Thank you.

Yes, every little bit does help! The desperately needed additional $$ will fund the low cost spay & neuter clinics, provide gas money to transport animals, and buy medicine and animal food.

Heading out to Burns? For those of you who like a “hands on” approach, you can drop off donations of cat food; 16lb bags of dry cat food are preferred (they go through one bag a day). Please leave your donation at Sissy’s house – inside the storm door, at 163 W. C St. Burns, OR (just north of Safeway). Again, if you want a tax deductable receipt for your donation, just let us know. Thank you so much!

***If you would like to honor someone with your donation, please provide your loved one’s name and SAS will list the name on the Save A Stray website.***

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A Look Back At 2015

This past year Save A Stray has re-homed 51 dogs and 184 cats and kittens. We transport 99 percent of these animals to other shelters where they are put up for adoption and have a chance at a new life. We have trapped over 100 feral cats and gotten them spayed and neutered as well as helped owners with an option of discounted spaying and neutering of their pets. This year with financial help from the County and a grant we received from the Petco Foundation we were able to accomplish some of our goals. We still have a lot of work to do as the rescue of stray, unwanted and abandoned animals in Harney County never takes a break. We are an all volunteer non profit rescue that when our funds run out we often have to pay out of our own pockets rather than let an animal suffer without medical care, food, and the cost of transporting the animals to no kill shelters and rescues. We appreciate all our supporters and those that encourage us to keep going. It this time of the year we ask you to remember Save A Stray when considering your year end donations. We are 501 C-3 non profit and all donations are tax deductible. We have an account at US Bank and our Address is P O Box 403 Burns, Or. There is also a paypal option here on our website.

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Paws on the ground: ‘Save A Stray’ nearing six years of success

PDF  Grab & Go pdf  |  Read on the Burns Times-Herald

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

Onyx (laying down) was impounded in 2012 and has since found a new home in Central Oregon. Harney County Save A Stray has saved hundreds of pets over the past six years by transporting them to no-kill shelters in Oregon and Washington.

Onyx (laying down) was impounded in 2012 and has since found a new home in Central Oregon. Harney County Save A Stray has saved hundreds of pets over the past six years by transporting them to no-kill shelters in Oregon and Washington.

It all started with two black Labrador retrievers.

Melanie Epping was visiting family in the area when she and her sister, Angie Tiller, had to make a trip to Harney County Veterinary Clinic (HCVC). While there, they noticed two dogs that had been impounded. Upon inquiring about them, they discovered that the clinic was only able to hold impounded dogs for a certain amount of time before it was forced to euthanize them.

“It’s always hard once you look at them,” said Epping. She ended up taking the dogs to a shelter in Bend. But it didn’t stop there.

“I thought, ‘How can I not save the others?’” she said.

A native of Harney County, Epping currently resides in Long Beach, Wash. But the distance didn’t deter her from tackling the problem of stray dogs and cats in Harney County.

Harney County Save A Stray (HCSAS), a 501(c)3, all volunteer-run nonprofit, was founded in the fall of 2008. Its mission is “to re-home pets in need and reduce pet over-population through the promotion of humane spay/neuter practices.”

HCSAS has a system in place for rescuing unwanted animals in the area. In cooperation with HCVC, impounded dogs  are held for five to seven days at the clinic, at which point volunteer Michele Hamilton “bails” them out and takes them to a holding facility at her private residence outside of Burns, where they stay for about a month, on average. Cats, which HCVC is not able to impound, are taken to Tiller’s home, or another foster home. Both dogs and cats are held until they are able to be transported to a no-kill shelter.

Although HCSAS has held some adoption events, Epping says about 95 percent of the animals they rescue are transported out of the area. Epping and Tiller coordinate the relocation of these animals to either Redmond (Brightside Animal Shelter), Portland (Oregon Humane Society), or Epping’s local shelter, South Pacific County Humane Society (SPCHS) in Long Beach. Where the animals are taken depends on availability of space at each shelter. Tiller or Hamilton often meet Epping in Detroit, (the halfway point for them) and transfer the animals to her to take to Portland or Long Beach.

Because of the many miles of travel, fuel is a major cost for the organization. HCSAS funds go toward this, pet food, and veterinary services.

A major veterinary service that is vital to the mission of the organization is spaying and neutering. HCSAS has held several spay and neuter events. In the beginning, carloads of dogs and cats were taken to Bend for the procedure. In recent years, veterinarians from Bend have traveled to Harney County to help, and now Dr. Katy Wallace of Sage Country Veterinary Service does all of the spay/neuter clinics.

“She [Dr. Wallace] has been so good to us,” said Epping.

A portion of the cost is paid by the owner, and a portion comes from HCSAS. In a one-day event in 2012, 70 cats were spayed and neutered. An event is usually held in the spring when there is an abundance of kittens and puppies being born. It wasn’t held this year due to a lack of funds, but HCSAS is hoping to put on an event in the fall, pending receipt of grant or donated funds.

Hundreds of dogs and cats have been rescued through HCSAS. In fact, no adoptable dog has been euthanized in more than five years. Epping says that, even when the going gets tough, it’s worth it, knowing that so many pets are finding good homes.

“I get to see the happy tails when they get adopted,” said Epping.

She stresses that it’s not the animals’ fault – they have been abandoned or neglected, and deserve to find a “forever home.”

In its first year of existence, HCSAS assisted with three pet hoarding cases in the county. More than 200 dogs were rescued in those incidents.

“We learned a lot in a hurry,” explained Epping.

When asked why there is not a Humane Society or similar shelter facility in the county, Epping explains that because of the remote location and the high expense associated with such a shelter, it’s not a practical option at this point. Working with her local shelter, Epping knows well the level of commitment and endless fundraising that is required to maintain it.

Epping would, however, like to see more foster homes for cats. Currently, there are only two. This would strengthen the system already in place, allowing HCSAS more flexibility to hold animals longer when shelters are full.

If you need to report stray pets, have kittens or puppies that you cannot keep, or if you need help with getting your pet spayed or neutered, you can contact HCSAS. Urgent calls can be difficult to handle, so when possible, advance notice is appreciated.

There are many ways to help. Monetary donations can be made to the HCSAS account at US Bank, or checks can be sent to: Save A Stray, P.O. Box 403, Burns, OR 97720. Additionally, pet food may be dropped off at 132 S. Buena Vista in Burns.

For more information, contact Epping at 541-589-1104, or visit for more contact information.

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It’s time to Spay and Neuter!

With the beginning of spring brings many, many unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. We all need to do our part to keep the focus on spaying and neutering not only domestic cats and dogs but the stray and community cats also. Right now Save A Stray is trying to put together a special clinic just for this purpose!
We need your help with donations of any amount toward our efforts to keep the pet population down in our community. By spaying and neutering the community or “feral” cats it will decrease the stray kittens that wander out of the colonies that become peoples pets and most of the time never get fixed thus adding to the already staggering amount of cats needing homes right now.
Did you know that one female cat and her kittens can lead to the births of 370,000 cats in 7 years?? In the US alone , animal shelters take in 6-8 million animals a year and 3-4 million are euthanized because there aren’t enough homes!! If more people spayed and neutered these poor animals wouldn’t be dying in shelters.
Will you join in and help us today? Donations can be made via Paypal right here on our website, or by mail at P O Box 403 Burns, Or. or by stopping in at a US Bank. Together we can make a difference!

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A Look Back At 2013

Well where do I begin?  Another year has gone by and we are still doing our best to help the people and animals of Harney County.  As of today 84 dogs and puppies and 125 cats and kittens have been rescued by Save A Stray.  We continue to help the low income people with low cost spaying and neutering to control to pet overpopulation and want to thank Dr. Katy Wallace of Sage Country Vet for her help in this area.  We could not do it with out her and her team, they have helped us in so many ways this past year!  We want to also thank the Harney County Vet Clinic for housing all the stray dogs and keeping them safe until their owners or Save A Stray bails them out.  No adoptable dog has been euthanized in over 5 years now! We continue to ask for your support, most if not all of the animals rescued by Save A Stray are transported to other shelters and rescues. Donations to help with gas are needed as well as for food while they are in foster care waiting to be transported.  Any amount is appreciated and goes directly to the animals care.  Our P O Box in Burns is 403 and we also have an account at US Bank.

We are also so excited about the new House Bill regarding anti chaining of dogs for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This law goes into effect on January 1st 2014 and we know now that several dogs living this way in Harney County will finally have a voice.  If you know of anyone that continually chains their dog or dogs please notify the sheriffs department at 573-6028 or the Burns Police department at 573-6781.  Or you can call Save A Stray at 541-589-1104.  We all need to be a voice for these poor dogs living their lives at the end of chains.  Can you even imagine just one day living that way..?  Most of the time their water has been tipped over by the chain, do they even get fed on a regular basis?  Do they have adequate shelter? Is their environment clean?  Can they even get away from their own waste? Do they EVER get off the chain or get ANY attention?  Save A Stray can help and wants to help but if we don’t know about them, we can’t.  We need YOUR help!

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