We recently appeared before Danville City Council and Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors to speak about the E. Stuart James Grant Adoption Center. Appearing before a body of elected officials is always a little intimidating, I must admit. We reminded council members that, in February of 2004, we came before them body several times to defend our adoption policies. We paid $15,000 to the Humane Society of the United States to conduct a comprehensive review of all of our policies, procedures, and operations. Their conclusion was that our adoption policies were responsible, reasonable ones. A lot has happened since that time, and we updated them on what we have been doing since 2004.
In 2007, at a cost of $250,000, we expanded the city animal shelter by building an additional 28 dog runs. That money came from donations and from the E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust. In 2008, we returned to Council to assist in updating city ordinances pertaining to animals. In 2009, we worked to pass anti-tethering legislation in Danville. This legislation has been used as a model or example throughout the United States.
From February 2004 – 2011, we have received 26,514 cats, 15,175 dogs, 26 livestock, 696 other companion animals, and 205 poultry for a total number of animals served: 42,616.
During that same time, we spent $274,000 on spay/neuter programs for residents of Danville and Pittsylvania County. Again, that money came from the E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust.
We have expanded our volunteer program, and now have a solid core of faithful volunteers who help enrich the lives of the shelter animals.
Since February of 2004, we have never spent one minute that we have not been on call for the animals. We have conducted or assisted in neglect and cruelty investigations, have helped in many rescues of animals, have given humane presentations, have written articles and columns about animal issues, have gone to Richmond several times to testify either for or against legislation, and helped form and organize an alliance of open-access shelters in Virginia.
We have expanded our transfer program to rescue groups and high-adoption shelters. I am pleased to tell you that, during the first quarter of 2012, we have adopted or transferred more dogs than we euthanized.
During the Board of Supervisors and City Council meetings, we gave the residents of this area a gift of the new adoption center. We will remain open admission – we will never turn away an animal. Animals that are healthy and do not have behavioral problems can be transferred into this E. Stuart James Grant Adoption Center. They will remain there until they are adopted.
The Center cost us $450,000 to build and furnish. $250,000 came from the E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust, and the rest came from donations and fundraisers. As we neared completion of the center, we realized we needed more money to purchase cages, bowls, equipment, beds, toys, and to pay for additional construction costs that came about when problems were uncovered. At that time, we unexpectedly received a $60,000 gift from a woman, Marguerite Mitchell, who helped form the humane society. She died about three years ago, and left her estate to a few charities.
We have been busy over the past eight years, but we believe our work to help the animals is a blessing in each of our lives. Actually, since we organized in 1975 and then took over operation of the shelter in 1984, we have had very few un-busy moments!