Yard sale time!

Yard SaleWe’re on the countdown to our HUGE yard sale. It will be this Saturday from 7:30 – 12:00 noon at the Community Market. We have been overwhelmed by your response to our plea for donations. There must be some empty closets and storage rooms in Danville and Pittsylvania County now because our walls are bulging! Volunteers will be at the Community Market this week — Monday through Friday — from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and we will still accept donations of gently used clothes, household goods, toys, seasonal items, electronics, furniture, etc. All of the proceeds will be used to help the shelter animals.


Critter Chat – March 29,2017

In 1996, national animal organizations established seven basic policies for every animal shelter. Over 20 years later, I am not sure what organization led the way, but they were printed in the January-February 1996 Animal Sheltering Magazine of The Humane Society of the United States. Shelters were encouraged to consider these basic essentials of their programs.

They were:

1. Accept every animal brought in.

2. Do not charge a fee for surrendered animals.

3. Maintain a clean, comfortable, safe, and healthy environment for each animal.

4. Hold stray animals for a minimum of five operating days, including a Saturday.

5. Screen prospective adopters using adoption standards.

6. For euthanasia, use sodium pentobarbital administered by well-trained, compassionate individuals.

7. Spay or neuter all animals at time of adoption, or guarantee that all adopted animals are later sterilized.

Things have changed. There are very few true open-admission shelters left. The trend is to decrease the number of animals euthanized by decreasing the number of animals received. The positive side of that is that shelters are working harder to promote spaying and neutering of dogs and cats.

However, there are very negative consequences for the change in policies. It is more common for shelters to have guidelines for the types of animals they accept. Some choose not to accept healthy animals from their owners, not provide pick-up services for cats (unless the cat is apparently ill or injured), and not provide euthanasia services of animals for owners who have been told by a veterinarian that the animal is too ill or injured for treatment. Other shelters have waiting lists to accept animals.

Other shelters decide to charge an admission fee. One recent case in Pennsylvania resulted in the death of a cat when the owner urged his dog to attack and kill a cat he had been keeping in his basement. The animal control officers would have charged him $100 to pick up the cat and he could not afford it.

That case, sadly, is not the only one. When animals are turned away by shelters, the owners may decide there is no other option other than to kill them or abandon them. News reports have been filled with such incidents. We have a file of such reports.

Every single shelter should work hard to decrease the number of animals euthanized, but it should never come by simply turning animals away or making it too expensive for the owners to seek help.


Critter Chat is published bi-weekly by the Chatham Star Tribune. See the original article here.

The Easter Bunny is here!

EasterWe’re ready for the Easter Bunny pictures with pets and/or children! Come to the shelter tomorrow between 11-3 and for $8, receive a 4X6 picture in a holiday frame. Plus, we will e-mail you all the pictures taken during your session. Thanks, Val-Rae, for getting the room ready! (We’re also having an adoption fair and have discounted prices for our brand-new t-shirts.)

Critter Chat – February 15, 2017

The way I look at storm drains has significantly changed over the past 25 years.  More cats and dogs than we ever wanted to know about use these storm drains to safely go from place to place, and to get a little bit of perceived security.  I am not exaggerating when I say that more often than not, I think about animals whenever I see a storm drain.

During the spring and summer, the calls about kittens meowing in these drains increase.  Riverside Drive and Piedmont Drive have a real problem with stray cats using the storm drainage system to navigate traffic.

I cannot remember the first storm drain call I received, but I remember several unique cases.

Late one night, we received a call from the police department. An adult cat had been injured and had jumped into a storm drain. We readily agreed to help, and met the police at the address. Our catchpoles could not reach the cat, and she was so frightened that she kept retreating further into the drain. I believe that was the first time we had the idea of baiting a trap with food and slowly lowering the trap into the drain. It took a couple of hours, but she finally went in!

Another call took us to a business that had a problem with stray kittens in their parking lot drains. We were able to catch a couple with poles, but the majority eluded capture. They were so tiny and could not jump out of the drains. About 2 a.m. the next morning, I woke up to the sounds of heavy rain. The kittens were the only thing I could think about. I called a patient volunteer who helped me realize that it was probably already too late to help those kittens. As soon as we got to work that morning, we went back to the business; sadly, we didn’t hear any sound of kittens meowing.

In another case, an injured cat had been seen jumping in and out of the drains on Riverside Drive. We set a trap and police officers on night duty faithfully checked the trap. Around midnight, she went into the trap and was taken to the shelter. She required veterinary care; the kindhearted police officer that found her in the trap wound up adopting her. She has had a wonderful life of being spoiled for many years now.

A few years ago, we were also called to the location of a storm drain where a large dog had become trapped. We rescued her and she was adopted. In another dog case, three dogs were trapped in the system under Audubon Drive. Public Works employees used a remote-controlled camera to find their location and they were also rescued from the drains.

We still laugh about the time a woman who was walking on Franklin Turnpike heard a small kitten meowing. When we got to the approximate address we had been given, the cell phone rang, so I stayed in the car for a few minutes to answer some questions. April walked over to the sidewalk and got down on her stomach so she could listen to any sounds coming from the storm drain.  She not only heard, but also saw a four week-old kitten beyond arm’s reach. It took several minutes, but by throwing canned food down into the drain and keeping the catchpole in position, April was successful in catching the little one.  When April and I were driving away, we noticed a Pittsylvania County sheriff’s department car with the lights on going slowly down Franklin Turnpike.  We had the same thought at the same time -someone called in a report of a woman lying on her stomach on Franklin Turnpike.  I called the emergency dispatch center and was told that, yes, the officers were looking for a woman who was lying on her stomach.  I told the dispatcher what had happened, and that all had ended well.

In another unique storm drain story, a mother bird was seen hopping around a storm drain in front of a doctor’s office. We discovered one of her little babies had fallen into the drain.

April and I duct-taped wood dowels onto a small goldfish net and were able to capture her baby. The mother had stayed nearby, and there was a happy reunion of mother and baby.

It is amazing how our view of such simple things can change.

I will always think of the animals saved, lost, and in peril when I see storm drains.



Critter Chat is published bi-weekly by the Chatham Star Tribune. See the original article here.

New Spay/Neuter certificates available now

Beginning Wednesday, February 22nd, and going through June 1st, City of Danville residents may pick up $50 spay/neuter certificates for their dogs and cats. Pittsylvania County residents may pick up $25 rebate certificates, which can be combined with the usual County vouchers of $25 (or $40 through February).

The certificates must be picked up at least the day before the animal is taken in for the surgery. The animals must be owned by the resident who picks up the certificate. We do not participate in TNR programs of cats, but if residents have outside cats that they provide care for, we will happily give out the certificates. If the animal has been adopted from any other shelter or rescue group, we cannot help pay for those surgeries since the other groups have their own programs. If the spay/neuter surgery itself costs less than the amount of the certificates (combined with vouchers), the rebate amount may be less.

These funds are made available through the generosity of The E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust, and we remain grateful. Let’s keep veterinary clinics very busy so open-admission shelters won’t have to be! Our office hours are 12-5:30 Monday through Friday and 12-3:30 on Saturday. THE CERTIFICATE MUST BE PICKED UP AT LEAST THE DAY BEFORE THE ANIMAL IS TAKEN TO THE VETERINARY CLINIC, SO PLAN ACCORDINGLY!

The Easter Bunny is coming!

It’s almost time for the Easter Bunny to make an appearance at the shelter! Save the date – April 8th – from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the shelter. For $8, you will receive a 4×6 print in a holiday frame of your pet with the Easter Bunny. We can even e-mail you all the pictures we take of your pet! And let’s not forget your children Easter Bunny– you may bring them for pictures by themselves with the Bunny or with their pet.

Meet Bumblebee!

BumblebeeLate one evening in September we met a woman outside the shelter who had come to drop off an injured animal. With her she had an adolescent pit bull/lab mix puppy who was covered in grease and severely burned. She had seen the dog in her neighborhood being dragged behind a bicycle while two teenage boys jeered at it. She stopped them and asked them about the dog. They didn’t want it. She asked about her injuries and was told, very casually, that they had poured hot chicken grease on her. They knew she needed veterinary attention, but as they didn’t want the dog anymore, they thought they’d just leave it at the shelter, though they would have to wait for a ride since they didn’t have a car.  The woman asked if she could have the dog and they gave it to her. She considered keeping it but, considering the extent of the dog’s injuries, decided she wasn’t up to the amount of care, and the cost of the vet bills. And so she brought it to us. We put the dog in isolation, her tail wagging and her tongue ready to lick anyone who would come close enough. She was that cheerful, despite all she’d suffered. Understandably, her situation tugged at our hearts.

The next day the dog was taken to a local veterinary clinic. Her fur was shaved, her burns were scaled and she was given steroids, antibiotics and burn cream. We were advised, however, that the likelihood of the dog surviving in the stress of a shelter atmosphere with the kind of injuries she had sustained were slim. We were warned she would likely need to be euthanized. Her sunny disposition, however, made us determined to save her.

Bumblebee has been with us for a little over four months now. She has grown into adulthood under our supervision and is still as cheerful as ever. Her burns are healed, but a few long, black scars remain (part of the reason for her name). And, of course, she is as cheerful and happy and busy (the other reason for her name) as ever. She desperately needs a family, however. As much as we love her, a kennel is no home. She’s large and lovable, playful and a little unruly (as the young so often are), but with a little obedience training we are confident she’ll make a wonderful companion dog. She’s hungry for love and a home of her own, and we feel she deserves to know what a happy one looks and feels like. Come by the shelter and say hello to our wonderful Bumblebee. We love her and we know you will too!

Angels of Assisi Spay/Neuter Clinic coming to Danville!

Angels of St. AssisiWe have a new partnership with Angels of Asissi and will have our first spay/neuter transport on March 2nd. For this kick-off event, we are paying for the spay/neuter surgeries! Other services (shots, tests, etc.) will be paid for by the owner. Angels of Asissi will pick up the animals from us early in the morning, take them to their clinic in the Roanoke area, and bring them back later that evening.
We have space for:
6 dog spays (5 dogs must be under 50 pounds)
6 dog neuters (5 dogs must be under 60 pounds)
10 cat spays
10 cat neuters
The animal must be owned by the person bringing them to us. This is for residents of Danville and Pittsylvania County only.
The animal cannot have been adopted by any other shelter or rescue group.
The $60 dog surgeries and $50 cat surgeries are being paid for by a grant received from The E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust.
Call 799-0843 to be put on the schedule.

Critter Chat – February 1, 2017

IMG_6610(Critter Chat is published bi-weekly by the Chatham Star Tribune. See the original article here.)

One Saturday evening recently, I received a call from dispatch informing me that a citizen had found a small dog he thought was a Yorkie. He took the dog to the shelter and put him in our after-hours area. The shelter manager went to the shelter and put him inside with a nice blanket to curl up in. The shelter, of course, is heated, but she put him in the isolation; that is our warmest area.

A couple of hours later, I saw a friend’s post on Facebook about how she was frantically searching for the Chinese crested dog she adopted from us. I texted the shelter manager and asked if the dog was a Yorkie or if he could, in fact, be a Chinese crested. She said that the dog was a crested. The dog was reunited with his owner the next day, after spending a warm night at the shelter.

That same week, another citizen found a small poodle wandering around and brought him to the shelter. A couple of hours later, an owner came to look for her parents’ small poodle that had escaped from the house. The poodle went home.

A couple of days later, a person picked up a stray dog in Danville and took him out of the city to try to find him another home. It was only by chance that I saw a picture of the dog on social media, and then mentioned it to the shelter manager who told me she had taken a lost report on the dog. Because the dog had not been brought to the shelter, that dog that was someone’s beloved pet could have been lost to his family forever.

All releasing agencies (public shelters, private shelters, humane societies, and rescue groups) in Virginia are required by law to post an annual animal record report on the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ website. It is currently undergoing changes, so the most recent information is for 2014.

That year, city and county public shelters and private shelters (including humane societies) received 88,327 stray animals; 25,826 were returned to their owners. Of that number, public shelters received 69,917 of the stray animals and returned 21,622 to the owners. Foster-based rescue groups received 2,457 strays and returned 103 to their owners.

Lost animals have a much greater chance of returning to their homes if they are taken to public shelters. That is where most people know to begin looking for their lost pets.

Virginia Code 3.2-6551 requires any individual who finds a companion animal and retains it to contact the public animal shelter that serves the locality where the companion animal was found. Specific information is required, including the location where the companion animal was found, a description, and contact information. The same requirements are in effect for rescue groups and other releasing agencies. Violation of this may result in a civil penalty.

Individuals and rescue groups do not have the authority to ask people to produce current rabies vaccinations for dogs, nor do they have the authority to make the determination about who is the legal owner and what veterinary treatment is required of the legal owner.

If citizens find an animal and are interested in keeping it, the best thing to do is to take it to the public shelter. The animal will be held the legal stray time, become the property of the shelter, and then the animal can be legally adopted.

In this day of social media and taking strays out of localities, public animal shelters remain the best hope of reuniting with a lost pet.

Making donations to the DAHS just got easier!

We get a lot of questions regarding what items we would like to see donated. So, to help you help us, we’ve started an Amazon Wishlist. We will continue updating and populating this list, but just to start out we’ve included a few items we are constantly in need of. Don’t feel you need to buy these items from Amazon. By them where and how you wish. (If you do buy them from Amazon, consider shopping from smile.amazon.com and selecting Danville Area Humane Society. Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase to us, so it’s a win-win!) We are so grateful for all of our generous donors. Every little bit helps us make a difference in the lives of local animals. Thank you!

Amazon wishlist