Puppy in Plastic Bag

For Immediate Release
February 25, 2013
Contact: Paulette Dean
(434) 799-5306

The Danville Area Humane Society is offering a reward of $1,000 for information that
leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who tied a 4 month-old puppy in a
plastic bag and placed the bag in the dumpster on Oak Street in Danville.

Around 1:30 this afternoon, a young man noticed the bag moving and tore it open. The

puppy immediately came out of the bag.

She is a pit bull mix type dog, and is suffering from hair loss and rashes.


 She is
underweight, and is currently being evaluated and treated at a local veterinary clinic. Indications
are that she has other health issues.

“We are horrified by this; the puppy had no chance of surviving if she had not been
rescued,” said Paulette Dean, the director of the Danville Area Humane Society. “Furthermore,
it is obvious that the person who did this meant for the puppy to die.”

Lynn Shelton, board president and humane investigator, said, “Abandonment is an
ongoing problem in this area. Bringing a puppy with medical problems to the shelter would not
have cost the owner anything.”

Abandonment of animals is ille

gal, but this case could also meet the cruelty standards in
Virginia. Cruelty to animals is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and is punishable by a prison term of up
to twelve months, a fine or up to $2,500, either or both.

Anyone who has information about this act of cruelty is urged to contact the Danville
Area Humane Society at (434) 799-5306. Calls may be kept confidential. The reward program
is supported by donations; taxpayer funds are not used.

Feeding Waterfowl

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2013
Contact: Paulette Dean
(434) 799-5306

Many of our board members and shelter staff routinely use the Riverwalk and, as a result,
we are aware of the problem with feces that litters the sidewalk. We are also aware that other
localities have feeding bans. We have studied the issues with interrupting migration patterns, the
dangers of certain types of food, and making wild animals dependent upon humans. The issue is
actually a very complex one, and involves many human emotions.

However, it remains our belief that the waterfowl that have lived around the Riverwalk
have been there for years, and will likely not migrate if people stop feeding them.
Unfortunately, humans have contributed to the problem by abandoning ducks that have been
acquired as gifts when young. We also believe that the danger of having spoiled food to attract
rodents and diseases is a worst case scenario and, in all likelihood, will not happen since the
ducks and geese quickly consume the food.

People enjoy feeding waterfowl, as well as feeding other wild birds and squirrels in
backyard feeders. We do, however, suggest that the proper food be offered.

We also realize that, as humans encroach on wildlife habitats, problems can occur.
Therefore, we support designated areas where feeding can take place. People who would prefer
to stay away from the waterfowl can plan their activities accordingly.

2013 Goals

My New Year’s Eve celebrations usually come to an end long before midnight. I enjoy time with family
members, and then spend time thinking about the year past and the year future. I have usually chosen my theme
for the New Year a couple of weeks in advance, so I think about how the theme can positively impact my life
during the coming year.
Last January, we reported that we expected 2012 to be an exciting time for us, and it has been:

In April, we officially opened the new “no-kill” adoption center. This will not solve all the
overpopulation problems in Danville and Pittsylvania County, but provides us more space to hold the adoptable
animals. We are still an open-admission shelter, which means we do not turn away animals. Once an animal
comes into the shelter, and they become our property through state law, they are evaluated for behavioral and
health issues. As space permits, they are accepted into the adoption center, and are held until they are adopted
or transferred to another group (as long as they remain healthy and non-aggressive). We were thrilled to be able
to build this center, through the generosity of many donors and supporters, as well as the E. Stuart James Grant
Charitable Trust, and give it as a gift to the City of Danville.

We continued to help residents of Danville and Pittsylvania County pay for the spay/neuter
surgery. Frankly, larger shelters with the combination of more adoptions cannot solve all the problems of
overpopulation and abuse. Only spaying and neutering to reduce the number of unwanted animals can solve the
problem. Since 1993, we have helped 22,000 dogs and cats in Danville and Pittsylvania County, spending over
$500,000, again mostly through the generosity of the E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust. We have brought
back our popular rebate program. At least the day before they take the animal to a veterinary clinic for the
surgery, residents of Danville and Pittsylvania County may come to the shelter to pick up a certificate. Then,
with a copy of the veterinary bill, a self-addressed envelope, and the certificate, we send a check for $25. In
2012, we also gave approximately $30,000 to local veterinary clinics as spay/neuter grants.

We expanded our volunteer programs. We have a large group of dedicated people who enjoy
serving the animals. People can serve on our fundraising committee, or they can serve as shelter volunteers.
Shelter employees stay busy taking care of the basic needs of shelter animals, and we love for volunteers to help
exercise the animals. With our adoption center opening, we rely on volunteers more than ever. In fact, we hope
some people even help us clean the cages and do laundry. The dogs absolutely love to go into the fenced-in
area, and volunteers provide vital socialization for the shelter animals. Our fundraising committee is a
dedicated group of people who work tirelessly to raise money so the animals can be helped. Thank you,

We continued our 24 hours a day, 365 days a year work of helping the animals. We conducted
neglect and cruelty investigations and help rescue animals.


As always, we hope that the New Year will be a kinder one for all animals, and we look forwarding to
serving all the wonderful creatures with whom we share this earth.

Finally, we helped about 7,000 animals!


Critter Corner

By Paulette Dean

In early summer, Dr. Richard Wilkes, the State Veterinarian, established a work-group to study the comprehensive animal laws.  The idea for the workgroup came before the last legislative session, but became a reality after the session was a contentious one for animal issues.

I was asked to serve on this work-group, and have gone to Richmond for the meetings.  Statewide animal groups are represented, including the Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters, Virginia Animal Control Association, and the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies, as well as the Virginia Department of Health, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the Farm Bureau.  Other at-large members recommended by stakeholders are included.

We have been tasked with discussing trap/neuter/release programs because this issue is a volatile one, with passion on either side.

In formal trap/neuter/release programs, feral and/or stray cats are trapped, sterilized, ears tipped, given a rabies vaccination, and then returned to the trap site.  The thought is that they are cats that would not be happy being placed in homes.  During the trapping process, the younger kittens are also picked up and placed as pets.  The released cats became part of a managed cat colony.

Under Virginia law, the process has been considered abandonment.  Proponents of the program consider it a more humane alternative than trapping feral cats and taking them to shelters, where the outcome will probably be euthanasia.  Opponents of the program believe that the cats do not live happy lives; they still face the perils of being in the wild.

Last year, a bill was introduced that would have made TNR programs legal for localities to support, but there was a change in how the program would be managed.  After sterilization, the cats would have been released onto property, and no one would have been responsible for feeding them, monitoring their health, making sure they have rabies boosters, etc.

There are many complex issues associated with this.  For instance, if a stray cat is trapped, veterinarians cannot obtain permission from an owner to perform surgery because there is no owner.  The legislation last year would have designated the person who trapped the cat to be the owner only for the few minutes it would take to sign the release form.  How can a locality prosecute owners of animals who fail to provide adequate care, but then not require adequate care of these feral cats?  On and on and on the discussion goes.

The wildlife people are opposed to any feral cat colonies.  In fact, they support cat licensing, and not allowing cats to roam at large.

My opinion is that managed colonies at least give a degree of care and protection to the feral cats, but the colonies should be registered and monitored.  I feel sorry for the wildlife, though.  I am strongly opposed to releasing cats without having to provide food, water, and shelter.

One thing that everybody at the table agrees on – there are too many cats being born.  Hopefully, this workgroup can reach a humane solution to the seemingly overwhelming problem.

For Immediate Release

November 30, 2012

 The Danville Area Humane Society is thrilled to invite the public to an event at the shelter on Saturday, December 8, 2012, from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Approved adoption questionnaires submitted during that time will have a reduced adoption fee of $50.  This still includes the full cost of the spay/neuter surgery, a rabies shot, and veterinary exam.  Dogs will be tested for heartworm, and cats will be tested for feline leukemia.  All dogs and cats have had at least their first set of shots and have been de-wormed at least once.

The regular adoption process will be in place.

Pet photos with Santa will be taken.  Participants will receive a 4X6 color print in a cardboard holiday frame for $10.  Children are also welcome.

Dr. Jeff Smith of Mount Hermon Veterinary Clinic will be on hand to give $5 rabies vaccinations, and he will also implant microchips for $33.  The rabies clinic is possible because the Danville City Council recently approved our request to hold such clinics.

“This has been a busy year for us, and we have been able to help over 5,000 homeless animals,” said Paulette Dean, executive director.  “In addition, we have helped spay or neuter about 1,000 animals belonging to residents of Danville and Pittsylvania County.  We have had several neglect cases that have had a successful resolution for the animals.  In short, we have done everything we can to help animals.”

Lynn Shelton, board president, said, “The opening of the E. Stuart James Grant Adoption Center has been successful in many ways.  It is a tool that has enabled us to reduce our euthanasia rate of dogs by about 45%.”

Later that evening, the Danville Area Humane Society will participate in the Christmas parade by walking dogs.  Members of the public are invited to participate in that, also.

For more information, please call 799-0843.

Dumpster Puppies

For Immediate Release

November 2, 2012

Contact:   Paulette Dean

(434) 799-5306


The Danville Area Humane Society is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for the dumping of seven one week-old puppies on November 1st.

About 10:00 Thursday evening, a man saw two young black males drive up to a dumpster at Cardinal Village.  One took a Purina Dog Food bag out of the car and threw it in the dumpster.  He was wearing a dark hoodie.  Both men laughed as they drove away.

The witness went to the dumpster and looked inside.  He found four puppies in the bag and another three puppies had fallen out of the bag.  He climbed into the dumpster and rescued them.

The police responded quickly and took the puppies to the shelter.  Shelter Manager April Hogan met the officer at the shelter; she bottle-fed the puppies and placed them in towels to warm them up.

The men were driving a gray Impala or Malibu with Virginia license plates.

“Abandonment of animals is cruel; the puppies would probably have died during the night,” said Lynn Shelton, board president and court-appointed humane investigator in Danville.

“Employees have placed the puppies with a nursing mother dog, but foster homes may be needed.  We are carefully monitoring them,” said Paulette Dean, director of the humane society and court-appointed humane investigator.

The humane society is grateful for the man who rescued the puppies from the dumpster, as well as the police officer who is investigating.

Anyone with information about the abandonment is urged to contact the Danville Area Humane Society at (434) 799-5306.

Cruelty to animals in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and is punishable by confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

Oakland Avenue Dog

For Immediate Release

October 25, 2012

Contact:  Paulette Dean

(434) 799-5306


The Danville Area Humane Society is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the torture of a male Jack Russell terrier on Tuesday, October 23, 2012.


At approximately 10:00 p.m., shelter employees were contacted by the Danville Police Department regarding a severely injured dog on Oakland Avenue.  The owner of the dog had contacted the Police Department for help.  The dog was suffering from dog bite wounds and serious knife wounds.  The owner transported the dog to the animal shelter; the dog died shortly after arriving at the shelter.


April Hogan, shelter manager, and Lynn Shelton, board president and court-appointed humane investigator, met the owner at the shelter and said the dog was suffering from the most horrific injuries they had ever seen.


“The pictures are too graphic to release,” said Paulette Dean, director.  “If a person intentionally inflicted these wounds, this is proof that pure evil exists.”


Details are sketchy, but it is believed the injuries were caused between 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Lynn Shelton said, “We hope that someone in the 100 block of Oakland Avenue and Halifax Road heard or saw something that would be helpful to the police in solving this case.”


Dean said, “We are grateful to the officer who investigated the complaint, as well as the administration of the Police Department.  They are treating this case very seriously.”


Anyone with knowledge of this incident is urged to contact the Humane Society at 799-0843.    Money for the reward comes from donations; no taxpayer money is used.




Neighborhood Cats

This past Saturday, I was grocery shopping and, as usual, a large portion of my shopping was being done in the pet food section.  A woman who saw my cart filling up with dog and cat food told me she buys cat food every day.  As we spoke more, she told me that she is feeding about 30 cats around her house.  I offered our services to help trap the cats, but she refused.  I reminded her that the 30 cats are very quickly going to be 60 cats, then even more.  Again, she strongly refused.

She said that a while ago, she found two newborn kittens with the umbilical cords still attached.  She brought them to the shelter, and we put them in with a nursing mother cat who accepted them.  She called the shelter several days later and was told that the kittens did not survive.

We have so many cases like this that I could not remember which instance she is talking about.  I do know that orphaned animals are already at high-risk of dying when they come into the shelter, simply because they have either been without a mother’s care for a while, or the mothers themselves were not able to take care of them properly.

What was so discouraging to me is the fact that the woman refused to let us help her trap cats, spay/neuter the ones she wants to keep, and bring the others to the shelter.  We have gone through this many times in the past.  People do not like to accept the reality that there are too many cats.  However, if they keep feeding large numbers of cats, without having them spayed or neutered, they are contributing to a far greater problem.

Many years ago, an elderly woman was feeding stray cats.  We reached out to her to offer our help, and she refused.  The problem grew until her neighbors called us for relief and help.  Still, she did not let us trap the cats on her property.  A few years later, she died, leaving many cats to fend for themselves.  There is still a cat problem in her neighborhood.

That happened in another area of town.  A woman fed about 50 cats, refused help, and then the property she lived on was sold.  She had to move, and we had only a few days to trap as many cats as we could.  The residential area was turned into a retail area, and the cats spread into surrounding areas.

Yes, it is a tragic fact that we have to euthanize hundreds of cats each year.  It is a sad reality made even sadder by the realization that, if people spayed/neutered the cats they are feeding, or if they allowed us to trap a few cats, they would not turn into a large number of cats.

(We’ll be at the Community Market for the Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, November 17, from 9-3.  We have lots of tees, sweatshirts, gifts for animals and animal lovers, as well as homemade crafts.  We’ll also sell raffle tickets ($1) for the beautiful wreath that Gingerbread House donated to us.)


This is the time of year when I tell you that I hate Halloween.  I hate the way we start receiving calls about lost black cats before Halloween, I hate the gruesome costumes, and I hate knowing what I know about the “holiday.”  About three years ago, Lynn Shelton (board president and humane investigator) and I attended a local workshop about cult rituals.  Some of the pictures and slides still haunt me, and when I wake up in the middle of the night with them on my mind, prayer is the only thing that erases them.

Halloween can be a scary time for pets.  They are very routine-oriented, and can be upset by the parties and trick-or-treaters.  They can also become frightened by the costumes. We recommend that pet owners take the following precautions:

Keep your pets inside, away from all Halloween activities.  They can feel threatened by the sight of the costumes, and frequently opened doors provide an opportunity for escape.  Make sure all pets wear collars with identification tags just in case.

Do not give in to the temptation to let your pets have candy.  Candy can be harmful to them, and chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets.

If you use candles in jack-o-lanterns, make sure your pet stays away.  Accidents can happen, and the candles can quickly burn or set fire to a pet’s fur.  Playful pets can become entangled in hanging decorations like streamers, and other decorations can be a choking hazard.

It may sound like a cute idea to take your dog with you for trick-or-treating, but a dog could become frightened or confused by the noise and costumes.  A dog bite or lost dog will end the fun.

Every outside animal is at risk for being hurt by pranksters or cruel people, but black cats are especially at risk during this time of year.  If you do have a black cat, the safest place for him for a couple of weeks before Halloween is right by your side.

Many animal shelters will not adopt out black cats for the week before Halloween, although that practice is becoming less popular.  We have guidelines in place that protect the animals year-round, but we do look very carefully when people want to adopt a black cat right before Halloween.

We offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of someone who participates in ritual sacrifice or cruelty.  If you know, or even suspect, someone may be involved, please call us.

(Critter Corner is co-sponsored by the Register & Bee and the Danville Area Humane Society.  Questions or comments should be mailed to Critter Corner, P.O. Box 3352, Danville, VA 24543 or e-mailed to dahsinc@yahoo.com).


Cats in Engines

Helen Keller once said (and I am paraphrasing) that it was her desire to accomplish great works, but it was her destiny to accomplish small tasks as if they were great.  With that in mind, we would like to suggest that you perform a small task that may avert a tragedy for an animal.

Simply tap on the hood of your car before you start the engine.  The tap must be strong enough to make noise.  Cats that are outside have a habit of hiding in engines.  We strongly urge people to knock on the hood of the car before it is started.  Hopefully, this will scare the cat enough to make its presence known, or to run away.  Our first choice, of course, would be for the cat to be brought to the shelter where it has a greater chance of being helped, instead of having to face a bad life on the streets.

Many times throughout the year, we receive many reports of kittens in car engines.  In cold weather, they must seek out the warmth.  In hot weather, I suppose they just want to feel safe.  No matter the reason, a car engine is a very dangerous place for kittens and cats to be.

Some of the worst memories from the past twenty years involve cats or kittens that are stuck in car motors.  I have to make a conscious effort to erase those pictures when they come into my mind.  Sometimes, the injuries are so horrible that the cats do not survive.  In other cases, the cats or kittens survive, and are adopted into wonderful homes.

On and on the stories go.  We have been called out late at night to help extricate cats and kittens from various neighborhoods, and we have gone to parking lots all over town to rescue scared, injured cats from car motors.  Each year, citizens bring cats or kittens to us when they have arrived home only to find that a cat has crawled up in their engine and has survived the trip.

Early Wednesday morning, a woman brought a beautiful orange kitten to us.  The kitten, a girl, is about four weeks old.  She had been spotted in the engine of the woman’s car on Monday, and she had not driven her car until they were able to extricate the kitten on Tuesday evening.  The kitten was placed in a box and brought to the shelter.   She was shaking worse than I have ever seen a little kitten shake.  When she was put in a cage with some canned cat food, she pounced on the food and ate for a long time.  She yowled and meowed for a few hours, and then finally fell asleep because she was exhausted.

After she fulfills her stray time requirements, she will become our property and will be available for adoption.  We believe she would do well in our new adoption center.

Cats and kittens belong inside, but the reality is that many live outside.  We urge everyone to tap on the hood of your car before starting the engine.  It is a simple thing that could save a life.