'Cause for the Paws' benefit raises funds for stray animals

Chain Saw Bears and BlackHat Humane Society help critical cause

The Chainsaw Bears (left to right): Micki Killoran, Tammy Metz, Cindy Yurth and Eric Swanson, play at a benefit dinner/concert for Blackhat Humane Society Sept. 27 at Iggy’s restaurant in St. Johns.

The Chainsaw Bears (left to right): Micki Killoran, Tammy Metz, Cindy Yurth and Eric Swanson, play at a benefit dinner/concert for Blackhat Humane Society Sept. 27 at Iggy’s restaurant in St. Johns.

ST. JOHNS, Ariz. - What started out as wanting to help a single stray "rez" dog that was suffering from six broken bones has now turned into a full-time pet adoption service, with a little spay and neuter action on the side.

Tamara Martin, founder of the BlackHat Humane Society and several of her friends - including award winning Navajo Times reporter Cindy Yurth - banded together with musician-teacher supporters from Chinle High School to form a band called the "Chain Saw Bears," who recently held a benefit bluegrass concert-dinner at Iggy's Restaurant to raise funds just for cleaning up, vaccinating, spaying-neutering local stray cats and dogs that end with socially acceptable, adoptable, healthy pets.

The event, which featured reporter Yurth on cello and her fellow band members, Micki Killoran, Tammy Metz and Eric Swanson followed a spaghetti dinner that was sponsored by Iggy's Restaurant owner, Karin Hansen.

Tickets were $25 for dinner and entertainment. Making the deal even sweeter was having the bartender at Iggy's throw in all her evening's tips to help out BlackHat Humane Society.

The group had been brainstorming ways to raise money for providing veterinary services since all the animal surgeries, inoculation services and assorted pet-related costs were starting to take a toll on their own personal finances.

The group also didn't want their pet fundraising efforts to start infringing on other communities with their own established humane society organizations so the St. John's restaurant seemed like the perfect venue.

A total of $1,360 dollars was raised at the dinner-concert which Martin says, "will pay for an entire free spay and neuter clinic to be held on the reservation."

Martin is now the owner of her own massage therapy office, Blue Moon Massage, but she was formerly a nurse at Sage Hospital in Ganado with her husband, James, who was an attending physician also at the same hospital. They lived in Ohio in the remote Appalachian area before coming to the Navajo reservation, so they were both quite familiar with small town activity and some of the social problems associated with so many stray animals left unattended.

Since the 2001 founding of BlackHat Humane Society, Martin, her husband and friends have found homes for over 300 reservation area stray cats and dogs.

To adopt one of the cats or dogs that have been fostered by the BlackHat Humane Society, go to their Web site at

Rezdog.petfinder.com for animal bios and photos.

If you want to make a contribution or become a foster-pet home provider, contact Martin at (928) 337-2828.

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