Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the adoption fee for dogs and cats?

The adoption fee is $85, and includes the cost of the spay/neuter surgery, the rabies vaccination, and a brief health exam. All of the dogs and cats have had the first set of routine shots, and all of them have been de-wormed at least once. Dogs at least six months old have been tested for heartworm, and cats at least four months old have been tested for feline leukemia.

We encourage people to call their regular veterinary clinic to see if there will be additional charges, beyond the basic charge we pay for the spay/neuter surgery.

2. What is the adoption procedure?

Potential adopters are required to first choose the animal they are interested in adopting. Employees will answer any questions they may have about the individual animal and will have a complete knowledge of the adoption procedure. If an animal is known to have a health problem or concern, the interested adopter will be told. If the shelter has had an outbreak of any contagious disease, (i.e. parvo, distemper, upper respiratory infections) the adopter will also be told of this. All questions are answered honestly. Employees will make an effort to ensure that the adoption match is a good one. For instance, if a person has mentioned that they want an outside dog, they would not be allowed to adopt a smaller breed such as a Chihuahua or Dachshund.

We do not withhold information about an animal’s health or known behavioral problems from an adopter.

After the adoption choice has been made, the potential adopter fills out an adoption questionnaire. Separate questionnaires are required for dogs and cats, as well as other animals. The employee will look over the questionnaire and ask for any information that has not been given by the visitor.

A 24-hour waiting period is required. This allows us to review the adoption questionnaire, confirm the lot or fenced-in yard (if indicated), call the veterinarian, and call the landlord. Information packets (puppy, kitten, dog, cat, other) pertinent to the desired pet will be given to the potential adopter. Questionnaires completed on Friday or Saturday will have a longer waiting period; those people are told to call back on Monday. If we have to confirm a lot or fence at an address several miles away, the adoption process may take longer.

After the questionnaire is completed and the information packet is given, a “hold” sticker is placed on the cage card, giving the potential adopter’s name and the date of the day after the questionnaire was completed. During this time, another adopter will not be allowed to adopt the animal.

Our adoptions area includes Danville and all of Pittsylvania County. Outside of these areas, the adoptions radius is approximately 25 miles from the shelter. If a potential adopter is not a resident of Danville or Pittsylvania County, they must choose an animal old enough to be spayed or neutered before leaving the custody of the shelter. This is required by Virginia law.

Although we do have an established adoption radius, if people from outside the radius want to adopt, their request can be submitted to the adoption committee for approval.

Virginia law also required every animal adopted from a shelter to be spayed or neutered at six months of age. We are stricter and require adopted animals to be spayed or neutered at four months of age. However, if the potential adopter does not have a proven history of spaying/neutering pets, they may be required to choose an animal old enough to have the surgery.

If the questionnaire is approved, the adopter is to be told when the animal will legally be able to leave the custody of the shelter. The contract can be signed before this date.

The adoption papers must be filled out in their entirety. The adopter will be given: the yellow copy of the contract, a list of participating veterinarians, the spay/neuter authorization and rabies authorization, and the stamped card which will be given to the veterinarian to mail to us when the free health exam is given. Also, a receipt for the adoption fee will be given.

A county tag ($5) must also be sold at time of adoption for dogs four months of age and older.

Adopted cats must be kept strictly inside, dogs cannot be allowed to roam freely, and dogs cannot be chained. Small breed dogs cannot be kept completely outside. Our first choice is always to have a dog be adopted to be an inside dog.

Questionnaires are also required to be completed on all other animals placed for adoption and appropriate fees are to be paid.


No animals adopted from the shelter can be used for breeding purposes or for any other purpose other than companionship.

The director is responsible for making the adoption decisions. In some cases, potential adopters will be asked to visit the shelter for a visit with the director or an assigned volunteer adoption counselor.

Anyone whose adoption has been declined can appeal the decision to the adoption committee, which is composed of Board members. The potential adopter will be told to write to the President of the Board, Danville Area HS Inc., P.O. Box 3352, Danville, VA 24543.

Notes will be made on top of the questionnaire, including any questions the director wants answers, if/when the potential adopter has called, the landlord’s approval, and the veterinary history.

3. Why do adopted cats have to be kept inside?

There are many dangers for stray cats and kittens, as well as cats that are allowed to roam unsupervised outside. They face perils from dogs, coyotes, foxes, cars, and, yes, even from humans who think an acceptable way to handle a stray cat is to put poison down. Those are known dangers that are quite obvious. However, there are other dangers. Hungry and thirsty cats, as well as well-known cat curiosity, can cause a cat to stick his head into a discarded jar or plastic container. If not caught and the object removed, the cat, of course, will die.

Untold numbers of cats jump into storm drains and travel through the pipes, mostly under Riverside Drive, Piedmont Drive, and Piney Forest Road. We have retrieved many cats that were near death after falling down the drains or after rainstorms.

Fences can present a problem for cats. As they try to climb them, they can become entangled in the fence. One cat dangled for we-don’t-know-how-long until finally someone noticed and called for help. The cat was so badly injured, he had to be immediately euthanized.

Trees also present hazards for the outside cat. Dogs or loud noises can scare a cat to climb so high, they cannot get down. I have heard repeatedly that a cat can climb down a tree;

people think this because they have never seen a cat skeleton in a tree. The reality is, the cat will become so weak, that they fall out of the tree. Cats cannot easily climb down facing the ground, and they usually do not back down out of a tree. We have had to intervene countless times to get them out of trees. One poor pregnant cat had been stuck on a limb, and started giving birth. Her newborn kittens fell helplessly on the ground, and none survived.

We have also had to rescue countless cats (kittens, mostly) from the engines of cars. Some survive, and some do not.

Cats who spend time outside are at greater risk of contracting diseases from other cats and from wild animals.

Also, all wildlife rehabilitators and wildlife protection organizations discourage cats from being allowed outside because they pose such a hazard to songbirds, other birds, and small mammals.

The list of hazards for outside cats goes on and on. We encourage everyone to keep their cats inside. It truly is the best life for a cat.

4. Why can’t adopted dogs roam freely in the county?

We strongly believe that what is legal is not always humane. Localities have to have animal shelters because dogs wander away from their homes. The list of dangers for roaming dogs is a list just like the list of reasons for keeping cats inside: Dangers from wild animals, diseases, cars, cruel people, accidental injuries, other dogs.

5. How long do you keep animals?

Virginia has very specific laws governing animal shelters. Companion animals that are received as strays with no evidence of having an ownership must be kept the minimum time of five days, not including the day they come in. Companion animals received with evidence of ownership (collar, microchip, etc.) must be kept a minimum of ten days, not including the day they come in. After the stray time is fulfilled, the animal becomes the property of the animal shelter. That means that even if the owner comes back after that time, the dog or cat must be spayed or neutered to fulfill state law.

We actually extend the stray time, to give owners every possible chance of re-claiming their pets. We consider the stray times to be seven days for strays with no collars or microchips, and twelve days without.

Animals that are relinquished by the owners become our property immediately.

Animals that are in the drop-off cage are always treated as strays, unless the owner leaves a note with the animal.

6. Do you transfer to rescue groups?

We transfer to other high-adoption shelters, as well as breed-specific rescue groups. We are very aware, however, of the many, many rescue groups and sanctuaries that are closed down by authorities because of poor conditions. We would be horrified to find out that one of our shelter animals was transferred to a group that does not care for the animals. Because of this, we screen the transfer groups very carefully, and we do not mind the criticism that comes from that.

We receive alerts from national animal welfare organizations about the alarming number of rescue groups that spring up, begin “rescuing” animals, and then subject the animals to neglect or worse. In addition, reputable rescue groups may take an animal from a facility, then transfer to another group. That group may be the one that has the beautiful website that masks the reality. We pledge that we will do everything in our power to make sure this does not happen.

7. Do you accept animals from other areas?

Yes, we do not care where an animal comes from. We receive many, many animals from people who say that the shelter in their area turned the animal away. When we negotiated our contract with the City of Danville, we put in place the agreement that we would accept animals, regardless of area. The City, rightly so, decreases the amount of money that is given to us for operation of the shelter so taxpayer money that comes from the citizens of Danville does not get used for animals that should be supported by their localities.

All stray animals that are picked up by Danville animal control officers or police officers are brought to the shelter. Stray cats picked up by Pittsylvania County animal control officers are brought to us.

Private citizens bring strays or their own animals to us.

8. Do you ever turn away an animal?

No, we do not turn away animals. We never have and plan to continue that policy. Some shelters (especially private ones) refuse to accept animals that they believe they could not find a home for. What happens to those animals? Where do they go?

9. How do you keep the animals comfortable while they’re at the shelter?

We do everything in our power to make the animals welcome and comfortable! When we took over operation of the shelter in 1984, Goodyear donated rubber resting pads for the dogs. In the early 1990s, we purchased fiberglass resting pallets for the dogs. Those were replaced a few years later. During winter, we put blankets on the resting pallets to keep them warm. The adoption center has Kuranda beds in them.

Cats also are given towels are blankets to make them nice and cozy.

The animals are given toys and treats to enrich their stay here. Volunteers are asked to play with them and take the dogs for walks.

10. Do you accept volunteers?

We love our volunteers! Shelter volunteers bathe animals, give them toys and treats, give them play time out of their cages, walk the dogs, and give them lots of attention.

Fundraising volunteers help us plan and execute our vital fundraising events and programs.

Shelter volunteers may come from 12:00-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12:00-3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Children may come with their parents, but the parents must stay with them at all times. Youth volunteers who are at least 14 years old may volunteer by themselves.

An orientation is required for shelter volunteers, and is held the last Wednesday of each month at 4:00 at the shelter. An application must be completed, and waivers signed.

11. Do you help spay/neuter animals?

Through the generosity of The E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust, we have a vigorous spay/neuter assistance program. Through the years, we have sponsored low cost spay/neuter clinics, have paid for the full cost of the surgery, and have offered discounts and rabies. As of March 1, 2013, we have given local veterinary clinics grants to assist their clients and others. Please call your veterinary clinic for information.

We also offer a spay/neuter rebate of $25 for residents of Danville and Pittsylvania County. The certificate must be picked up from the shelter at least the day before the animal is taken to the clinic for the surgery.

The guidelines for the rebates are:

Guidelines and Requirements:

1. The animal must belong to a resident of Danville/Pittsylvania County and must reside with the owner in Danville/Pittsylvania County.

2. The certificate must be obtained at least the day before the animal is taken to the veterinary clinic for the surgery.

3. To redeem, please mail it, along with a copy of the veterinary bill and a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Danville Area Humane Society, P.O. Box 3352, Danville, VA 24543. If you do not include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, your rebate check will be $24.00.

4. The certificate must be used and redeemed not more than four months after the date on the certificate.

5. Photocopies of the certificate will not be accepted.

6. This certificate cannot be used if the animal was adopted from another rescue group or shelter.

7. No more than five certificates may be obtained during a 30-day period, and it cannot be combined with other DAHS spay/neuter programs.

12. Do you have other animals for adoption, other than dogs and cats?

We always have other companion animals for adoption. We, of course, cannot guarantee what animals will be available, since we do not know what animals we will receive! We have had rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, parakeets, cockatiels, iguanas, gerbils, turtles, and fish. From time to time, we also have livestock and poultry for adoption. Please call 799-0843 for specific information when you are ready to look for a new pet. Always, always, contact shelters and rescue groups before buying from a pet store or breeder!

13. What happens if I don’t have any money for emergency treatment for my animal?

We wish that we had enough money to pay for emergency treatment for all animals that live in the homes of people who cannot afford it. However, we simply do not have that kind of money. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. We usually try to arrange a payment plan with local veterinary clinics.

14. Do you conduct cruelty investigations?

In Virginia, people must be court-appointed by a Circuit Court judge to function as a humane investigator. Although the program is not an active one now, those humane investigators who were already serving before about 2005 can still serve. We have two court-appointed humane investigators in the City of Danville, and one of them is also court-appointed in Pittsylvania County.

We work with local law enforcement and animal control officers, but, the short answer is – Yes, we conduct cruelty investigations and work with the justice system to resolve cruelty and neglect cases.

15. What do I do if I find a stray animal?

The laws in Virginia are specific about what people must do if they find a stray animal. The safest thing to do is to contact the authorities and request the animal be picked up. Or, people may opt to bring the animals to the shelter themselves.

It is not legal to pick up a stray, and then decide to keep the animal with no further action.

People (and rescue groups, as well as private shelters!) are required to contact the municipal shelter in the area where the stray was found, and give a description of the animal, as well as the location where the animal was found. An owner may be desperately searching for their lost animal. Some strays may be in bad condition, but that does not necessarily mean the owner neglected the animal. It may mean that the animal has been lost a long time.

If no owner comes forward, the person desiring to keep the stray must abide by all local and state laws governing the care of the animal.

16. I live in Danville; can I keep my dog chained?

On July 1, 2010, a new law went into effect in the City of Danville.

 No companion animal can be chained for more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period.

 If the temperature is 32 degrees or below, no companion animal can be chained.

 No companion animal under the age of 4 months can be chained at all.

 No sick or injured companion animal can be chained.

 Companion animals cannot be chained to a single fixed point during the 4 hours. This means that they must be on a runner or the chain must be fixed to a swivel hook.

17. How long have you operated the animal shelter?

We took over operation of the shelter in 1984, after expanding it for the City of Danville. In 1989, another expansion took place; this one was financed by the City. That expansion added a cat room, treatment room, and dog and cat isolation areas. In 2007, the humane society built an

additional 28 dog runs. In 2012, we opened the E. Stuart James Grant Adoption Center, which was built onto the existing facility.

18. What are your hours of operation?

Kennel attendants are on duty from 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, and from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

The business office and adoption areas are open from 12:00 – 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, and from 12:00 – 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Those areas are closed on Sunday. Adoption areas are closed on Wednesdays.

If you have an emergency before or after those hours, please call 799-5111 in the City. The dispatchers have our emergency contact numbers.

19. If we find an animal after-hours, what do we do?

In Danville, the police officers help with stray animal concerns after we are closed. However, if you find an animal and it is safe to do so, you may bring the animal to the shelter. We have an after-hours drop-off area at the shelter. Telephone numbers are listed, and we encourage you to call those numbers; an employee will be dispatched to take the animal into the shelter. We may ask simple questions about where you found the animal, how long have you had him/her, etc. These questions are not simply nosy ones; they are asked to give us information which may help reunite the animal with the owner, or help us find an adoptive home.

You may bring your own animals to us and put them in the drop-off cage. However, we prefer to have you bring them during the hours employees are working so we can obtain your releasing signature. This helps us to be able to put the animal up for adoption quickly.

20. How do we contact you?

The main shelter number is (434) 799-0843. That line is answered beginning at 10:30 a.m. every day. For emergencies in the City, call 799-5111, and in Pittsylvania County, call 432-7937.

21. What is your adoption radius?

Our adoption radius is all of Danville and Pittsylvania County. If you do not live in those areas, the radius is 25 miles from the shelter. That policy can be waived, on approval from the adoption committee. However, the laws of Virginia require all animals that are adopted from “beyond the adjacent political subdivision of the Commonwealth,” to be spayed or neutered before leaving our custody. That means that, unless you are a legal resident of Danville or Pittsylvania County, you must choose an animal that is at least four months old.

22. How many animals do you get each year, and how many employees do you have?

We receive about 5,500 animals each year. We have a full-time executive director, a full-time shelter manager, an assistant shelter manager, four part-time kennel attendants, a part-time adoption counselor, and a part-time receptionist.

23. How do you get the money to operate the shelter?

The City of Danville gives us money to operate the shelter, but the operations are heavily subsidized by donations and grants. Pittsylvania County also sends money, since 45-50% of the animals we receive come from their area.

Our cruelty investigations, spay/neuter programs, humane education programs, sheltering program in cases of domestic violence, rescue programs, puppy transfer programs, etc. are all supported by donations and grants.

24. Do you handle wildlife?

Absolutely, yes, we receive injured and orphaned wildlife. We work closely with a wildlife rehabilitator to save as many lives as possible.

25. Are you a no-kill facility?

Actually, the better term would be limited-admission facility. No, we are not. We are an open-admission facility, which means we accept all animals, and never turn one away. This does mean that we euthanize. Our euthanasia rate for dogs has been substantially decreased by our transfer program and our new adoption center. We work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help all animals, and know that, at some future date, we will not euthanize animals, except in the cases of sickness, injury, or aggression issues.