Rescue community loses an angel

Starly Pupke killed


The animal rescue community in the Willamette Valley and surrounding were rocked last month when news that fellow rescue rock star, Starly Susan Pupke, lost her life after exiting her van in traffic near Lane Community College in Eugene and being struck by two cars.

“I think she saw an injured cat or dog on the other side of the road,” says fellow animal advocate Cathy Bill, “and rushed to save it. That was our Starly.”

An article in the Eugene Register Guard referred to 57-year-old Pupke as “Eugene’s patron saint of homeless cats.”

Bill, who worked with Starly for 12 years as part of the Feral Cat Coalition, estimates that she saved more than a thousand cats from suffering, death and an endless life of having kittens and fighting for their territory. Some say Starly was “the best cat trapper in Lane County.”

Starly kept many cats on her five-acre property off Bailey Hill Rd. in Eugene. Immediately following news of her death, Facebook and chatrooms lit up with people willing to help the animals who had lost their loving caregiver.

Many acknowledge that Starly was quite poor, but those who knew her well know that while she lived simply, she had a huge heart and spirit, and a “very rich personality.” And, while some say she lived on the edge financially, she never hesitated to extend a helping hand to animals, or people who needed help with their animals.

Named after a student her mother, Sim, had taught, Starly grew up with four siblings on a farm outside Cottage Grove.

Donations in Starly’s name may be sent to: Blue Star Rescue, Food Industries Credit Union, 3030 Gateway Loop, Springfield, OR 97477.