January 31, 2011

January 30, 2011

Boxley- Needs a Foster

Boxley is a 5 month old shepard, that came to us from the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection yesterday (thank you!). He's a sweet boy and really needs a foster home. At this time he is at Harmony Farm Sanctualy so please call with any questions- 540-400-2233. We appreciate any and all networking and support for this good boy.


January 29, 2011


In reference to the earlier post and some questions it raised, Herman built his ramp out of shavings and bedding. He may be very smart, but he does not have opposable thumbs and therefore cannot use power tools.

Cuteness Arrives At Harmony Farm Sanctuary

This litter of hound pups came from the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection today. Their personalities range from super spunk to super shy. We took them to Harmony Farm Sanctuary until some space frees up at Angels of Assisi, and they will be ready for adoption soon.

A big thank you to Ann Marie at the Roanoke Valley SPCA and Carol at RCACP for all the help!

The Greeter

Herman is one of the new guys at Harmony Farm Sanctuary. He's ridiculously friendly, and has built himself a ramp of sorts on the side of his stall that is closest to the barn doors. Whenever someone enters, he runs up his ramp, sticks his head over the stall, and snorts a hello. If he was a dog, he's be the kind that sits at the front door waiting for you to come home; kinda warms the heart ♥

January 28, 2011

We're Stretchin' and Scratchin'!

A huge thank you to Dawn, Amy and Troy for donating a box of Stretch and Scratchers to the Assisi adoption center! This product was designed for shelter cats to help ease boredom and get some exercise. We've already hung them in half the kennels, and will get the rest up tomorrow. Combined with the new kitty kuranda beds, it's been a good year so far for the Assisi felines. (A new family would be even better, hint hint!).

Thank you so much for the generous donation, we know the cats appreciate you all very much!!

Crunching The Numbers

There has been a lot of facebook chat lately about the number of dogs and cats killed at our Roanoke pound (RCACP). In 2009 that number was 4894.

Divide that by the number of hours our community RCACP is open each week (35), and it works out that 2.7 companion animals are killed each hour the doors are open.

Comments have been made that "Irresponsible people are to blame", and yes, this is often true.

However, last year in the United States, an estimated 47.7 billion dollars was spent on pet care. Billion. People love dogs and cats. They love their own dogs and cats, and are usually sympathetic to the plight of the less fortunate ones.

At Angels of Assisi, we can always count on our community to show up when we are involved in a big rescue. Donations of all shapes and sizes appear in our lobby. Nice people volunteer to clean, transport, and help the neglected or abused pets anyway they can. It feels like a group effort. Actually, it IS a group effort.

Let's take a step back and define "community" as it pertains to our RCACP. The Regional Center receives stray and owner relinquished animals from Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Botetourt County and the Town of Vinton.

The population breakdown is:

City of Roanoke                    93,304

County of Roanoke
(including Vinton)                92,991

County of Botetourt              33,299

Total People Population: 219,594

Number of Pets Killed:         4894

That means if 1 out of every 44 people stepped up and adopted, fostered or networked an animal, we'd be in pretty good shape. I think we've got 1 out of 44 people out there that care. That's around 2.2% of our local population. Anybody in?

"Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other."
-- Louis J. Camuti

In From The Cold

Tiny was rescued from a lonely life by some kind volunteers at Dogs Deserve Better. He had lived most of his life chained to a dog house; you can see his story and day of liberation here.

Once again, we are thankful to our wonderful foster network, and welcome Donnie and Carolyn to our crazy world. They are already fostering Debo, and came back to the Angels of Assisi adoption center for Tiny a few days ago.  The goal is to get him used to a house, learn some manners, and most of all, feel the love and comfort of a family. I think he's got that last part down pat.

Someone For Everyone- An Update On Clair

Clair is the senior dog transferred from the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection last week. She turned out to be a he, spent a long weekend at the Emergency Vet's for stress related issues, and then caught the eye of his new foster mom, Amanda.

We are so grateful to Amanda for taking in this old blind boy and giving him a quiet and safe place to be himself. She says that he is settling in nicely and we know that he must be feeling much better. Once again, we have seen the kindness that resides in the Roanoke Valley. Thank you.

January 27, 2011

Couch Love

My wonderful dog Tucker came to us thin, full of heartworms, and with an old hip fracture. He also had no inkling to get on the furniture- ever.

Well, one fine day last November changed all that. Now there is no telling what crazy position we will find him in, and it is a daily source of entertainment. I'll try and share some here and there, but be warned, many will have the censored sign.

Taking 5 More For A Thank You

Great News!! HB 2482 has been pulled and referred to a Study Committee. Please take 5 minutes, contact Delegate Ware, and thank him for reconsidering HB 2482.

(804) 698-1065

It is just as important to thank and show our Delegates support as it is to email when we want them to change things.

January 26, 2011

Plain Brown Paper Dog

by Ellen Mcneely Paquin- well said!!

There is something about, what I call, the Plain Brown Paper Dog….

He comes in all sizes and color combos. Not unlike Americans.

He is steadfast and loyal, yet big hearted and wanting to be part of it all.

He is an athlete, he will make you laugh, and be there in times of need.

He loves his family, both the two-legged and the four, and will not think twice to rise to the occasion to protect them if necessary. Just like… Americans.

Works hard to succeed in ALL fields, whether in games on the agility course, or saving lives in search and rescue. You got it…. Just like Americans.

Whether in the wheat fields, or concrete jungles, he will find a way to survive.

He is tenacious, a fighter, a lover, a friend.

His only downfall… he is one of a million. Outstanding, yet understated. And he lives in a country that favors the rare, the unusual.

What people don’t know, is he wears his rarity, his uniqueness on the inside. For rather than blue eyes, he has eyes that will see into your soul. Though he may not be big and powerful on the outside, nothing can out do the size and strength of his heart. And the beauty of his spirit could win more competition than the most prized purebred.

But God knew that not all people are worthy of such a treasure… so he wrapped this special spirit in a “plain brown paper” wrapper, in hopes that people would look deep inside themselves. To realize what is truly important in this world. And that they would see beyond the ordinary, and discover the extraordinary.

Do not overlook the “plain brown paper dog.” For some of the most treasured things in life are kept understated. Waiting…… for the right person to discover "a true friend.”


Please Take 5 Minutes To Protect Virginia's Animals

Part 2 in a busy but important time for the animals in Virginia. The most important thing you can do TODAY is contact Delegate Ware. Please be polite.

From the Richmond SPCA: A bill (House Bill 2482) has been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly that is the most cold-hearted assault on the wellbeing of animals, on abused animals and on the laws that exist in Virginia to protect and care for them that has ever been seen.

The bill, patroned by Delegate Lee Ware of Powhatan, is being promoted by pet dealers and pet stores. If passed, it will eviscerate our 20-year progress on laws for the protection of companion animals in Virginia. It will permit animal abusers to escape any real penalty for their abuse and, most amazingly, will permit convicted animal abusers to retain the very animals that they have been convicted of abusing.

To express your concern and disappointment at this brutal assault on abused and defenseless animals, please contact the patron Delegate Ware at 804-698-1165 or alternately via email at - phone calls are preferable because they carry more impact.

We need your help in sending a loud and clear message to the Virginia General Assembly that those of us who love animals will not tolerate this assault on decency and compassion.

There is a synopsis of the bill below. If you are as horrified by H.B. 2482 as I am, please take the few minutes it will require to call or e-mail the members of the House Agriculture Subcommittee and tell them how concerned you are and ask them to vote to defeat this bill. Your call is essential to protect animals who are abused. Please be polite but firm that this bill must be defeated. Please share this message with friends and family, particularly those who might live in one of the jurisdictions below. represents Danville (804-698-1014) represents Thornburg (804-698-1054) represents Glade Hill (804-698-1009) represents Virginia Beach (804-698-1081) represents Staunton (804-698-1020) represents Ashland (804-698-1055) represents Blacksburg (804-698-1012) represents Franconia (804-698-1043)

The chairman of the Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee is who represents Gloucester, and his number is 804-698-1098. The Speaker of the House is whose phone number is 804-698-1028. Calls and emails to them are very important as well.

While there are innumerable objectionable aspects of H.B. 2482 that would make it deeply damaging to animal welfare, chief among them are the following:

It would allow the person or entity charged with animal abuse to self-impound the allegedly abused animals (thereby enabling continued abuse during the investigation and prosecution of the alleged abuse crime).

It would return the abused animals to the person or entity convicted of animal abuse so that the person or entity could sell the animals (and, of course, continue to abuse them).

It would allow convicted abusers to have animals in the future.

It would eliminate the ability of a private humane society to assist with these abuse cases by providing care and adoption.

It would eliminate all references to “seizure” and would replace them with the word “forfeiture” to indicate that animals are "assets" and therefore should be treated like cars, jewelry, money, etc.

It would permit pet dealers and pet stores to continue to sell animals even following a conviction of abuse, cruelty or neglect.

It would remove the bond requirement for animal abuse prosecutions which would place all of the expense for the care of the animals during the pendency of the prosecution on the locality, rather than the abuser, making these prosecutions exceedingly expensive for localities to undertake.

Please call and write these Delegates as if abused animals’ lives depended on it because they do.

January 25, 2011

There Must Be A Special On Seniors!

We picked up this cute beagle from the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection today. He's a bundle of spunk and seems like he is up for a good time. He'll be neutered this week, and up for adoption soon!

Oh, and his name is Shoeshine- an Underdog reference for those of us that remember... "There’s no need to fear, Unnnnnderdog is here!" That phrase wraps up his personality pretty well!

An Update on Clair

We transferred Clair from the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection last Friday (see here). In what seems to be an Assisi ritual, we all gathered around her on the floor when she arrived, gave her some canned food, a soft bed, and a quiet place in the adoption center to call her own.

The next morning, Clair was very sick and weak. We took her to the Emergency Vet Services in Roanoke, where she spent the weekend on IV fluids and under medical observation.

The diagnosis- stress. It seems like the last few weeks have really taken their toll on this senior. They also discovered that Clair is actually a boy- (sorry, but the paperwork said female and I never took a good look for myself).

So, the agenda for today includes:
  1. A new name
  2. A foster home that can give this little guy a place to rest and catch his bearings. He has trouble seeing, but still gets around pretty well.
Please spread the word and let's give this special senior a place to call home.

Update on House Bill 1541 / Senate Bill 1026

A special thank you to Jill Deegan (Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in Botetourt County) and Norm Mason (founder of Angels of Assisi and Harmony Farm Sanctuary) for going to Richmond yesterday and speaking against HB 1541/Senate Bill 1026.

Their views were well received, and we appreciate them being a voice for the animals. More info to follow...


January 23, 2011

A perspective on NO to House Bill 1541 / Senate Bill 1026

The following is a letter from Lorelei Pulliam, who puts House Bill 1541 / Senate Bill 1026 into perspective. Please don't let this happen. Say NO to House Bill 1541 / Senate Bill 1026 and contact your representative. The vote is tomorrow- Monday, so contact them Monday. Spread the word.


Millions of Lives in Virginia Depend On You!

Two bills have been introduced into the General Assembly of Virginia that are an affront to anyone who cares about or is involved with animals of any kind. For the first time in memory, bills have been introduced that should incense animal lovers, insult farmers, and cause the ordinary citizen of the Commonwealth to recoil at the the very idea that we have abandoned all humanity towards our fellow creatures.

These identical bills were written without any input from animal advocates in our state by those wanting to protect their own interests and not those of the animals. Cruelty laws are supposed to protect animals and not make conditions worse.

Imagine having lovingly raised and sold an animal to find it in squalid conditions and being inadequately fed and cared for but not emaciated. Your local animal control officer is helpless to help you and the animal because the law is so weak and vague. Imagine having to drive past a foundered pony every day on the way to work and watch it try and hobble to the creek and down a steep embankment for a simple drink. She manages to keep from becoming dehydrated so there is nothing that can be done to help her. This is the situation HB 1541 and SB 1026 will create. This is coming up for vote on Monday, January 24 at 5 pm. Time is of the essence to stop them!

What is so wrong with this picture?

Look at this face. He lived in a tiny pen made of clothing shelves without shelter of any kind, adequate food or water in the dead of winter. The straw was provided by the Animal Control Officers to keep them from becoming buried in the cold mud like their brothers and sisters did. Anyone that knows anything about pigs would be aghast to see these poor babies with mud covering their backs in early January. Clearly they had not been burying themselves in the mud to cool off! Under the proposed House Bill 1541 and Senate Bill 1026, there would have been nothing wrong here.

The bodies of their dead siblings that had succumbed to the cold and the mud buried beside them were sustaining them beyond emaciation and dehydration. Under the current law, the owner was required to provide adequate food for their size, age, and species, along with unfozen water at suitable intervals. Such would have to be given to them in an area that protected it from contamination from filth such as feces, which was impossible in the pen that had sucked their brothers and sisters down to their deaths.

It also required that they have adequate shelter. It was under this current law that the owner of these animals was convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to prison time and fined thousands of dollars. Under the proposed HB 1541, they only have to receive food and water enough to prevent emaciation and dehydration. There is no mention of even the most elementary needs of any living creature such as shelter or room to move and exercise. Surely we can do better than this!

Below are the current regulations under which prosecutions involving agricultural animals have been succesfully pursued in Virginia. Read them carefully and try and ask youself why anyone who considers themselves a caretaker of any animals would oppose these provision.

Adequate feed means access to and the provision of food which is of sufficient quantity and nutritive value to maintain each animal in good health; is accessible to each animal; is prepared so as to permit ease of consumption for the age, species, condition, size and type of each animal; is provided in a clean and sanitary manner; is placed so as to minimize contamination by excrement and pests; and is provided at suitable intervals for the species, age, and condition of the animal, but at least once daily, except as prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation or fasting normal for the species.

Adequate water is defined as provision of and access to clean, fresh, potable water of a drinkable temperature which is provided in a suitable manner, in sufficient volume, and at suitable intervals, but at least once every twelve hours, to maintain normal hydration for the age, species, condition, size and type of each animal, except as prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation or fasting normal for the species; and is provided in clean, durable receptacles which are accessible to each animal and are placed so as to minimize contamination of the water by excrement and pests or an alternative source of hydration consistent with generally accepted husbandry practices.

Adequate shelter is defined provision of and access to shelter that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size, and type of each animal; provides adequate space for each animal; is safe and protects each animal from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, the adverse effects of heat or cold, physical suffering, and impairment of health; is properly lighted; is properly cleaned; enables each animal to be clean and dry, except when detrimental to the species; and, for dogs and cats, provides a solid surface, resting platform, pad, floormat, or similar device that is large enough for the animal to lie on in a normal manner and can be maintained in a sanitary manner. Under this chapter, shelters whose wire, grid, or slat floors (i) permit the animals' feet to pass through the openings, (ii) sag under the animals' weight, or (iii) otherwise do not protect the animals' feet or toes from injury are not adequate shelter. for dogs and cats, provides a solid surface, resting platform, pad, floormat, or similar device that is large enough for the animal to lie on in a normal manner and can be maintained in a sanitary manner. Under this chapter, shelters whose wire, grid, or slat floors (i) permit the animals' feet to pass through the openings, (ii) sag under the animals' weight, or (iii) otherwise do not protect the animals' feet or toes from injury are not adequate shelter.

Is this standard of care good enough?

Here is the food available to these animals seized in King George County. Take a look. If they had just been able to wade through the mud without getting stuck and dying of starvation and hypothermia, this untouched molded bread could have sustained them so that they did not become emaciated , which is the standard set by HB 1541 and SB 1026.

Under these bills, An Act of God would exonerate an owner from providing substance enough to prevent emaciation and dehydration. Perhaps a snowstorm, flash flood, the mud itself, or sprained ankle was to blame here. This standard of care should insult every farmer in the Commonwealth. We owe these animals more than the lack of emaciation and dehydration. Good farmers consider themselves stewards of the land and good shepherds of their herds and flocks. The stockman that mentored me as a youngster would never stand to have themselves of their fellow ranchers to be held to a standard of care as low as the one in HB 1541 and SB 1026.

Thanks to the current laws and the diligence of Animal Control Officers, The Sheriffs Office, and a diligent District Attorney of King George Virginia, all animals were removed from this woman and she was ordered never to own another animal again.

Return to this?

This is the horror that the fifty farm animals removed from King George lived and many died in. For those involved in these type of investigations, this site is not unusual. Under the proposed bills, and incredibly under current law, the former owner is eligible to appeal the judges order that she never again be allowed to own animals after two years. These bills would not take into account that the fact that it was her second conviction. Is that acceptable to you? Whose interest are being served here? Certainly not the animals or the taxpayers of Virginia who already had to pay for two prosecutions. To those familiar with these type of cases, especially those involving hoarding, recidivism is the norm rather than the exception

Obviously the current law needs to be improved but these bills keep the worst of the old law and water down the protection available to the animals now.

Who would deny them this?

Some of these goats were found huddled next to dead goats that were frozen solid. Under the proposed law, had the dead animals been removed by the owner, there would have been no emaciated animals visible.

Rescuers had to keep fleece vests on the brown and white Boer goat to make up for the poor body condition caused by improper feeding and lack of shelter. She was not considered emaciated but a diet of bread and molded hay had taken a toll. Vets doubted that she would survive but did. All of the goats not only survived but thrived and found new homes with their families intact. This is thanks to a rescue organization that took them all in, rehabilitated them and found homes that promised exemplary care for the remainder of their lives.

Unbelievably, HB 1541 has the option of a rescue organization taking possession of animals seized in abuse and neglect situations stricken off. Instead this bill prefers that they be auctioned off to the highest bidder. It is incredible to imagine anyone wishing anything but good things to any living creature that has already suffered so much or denying those willing to help them find sanctuary the ability to do so.

It is a slap in the face to every equine and farm animal rescue group in the Commonwealth that have worked so tirelessly for years to save so many.

Tell Your Legislature Who The People of Virginia Are

There is no doubt these are hard times. All of us are experiencing it. It is during times such as these that all animals need more protection and not less. We are not a people who expect the weakest to bear the brunt of the burdens for which they have had no part in the making. Agricultural animals in our state are the most vulnerable and the least protected of any animals. They are literally at our mercy. Let us tell our legislatures and the rest of the world that we are an honorable and humane people. We do protect the weak and the helpless and understand that how we treat the animals under our care is a reflection of who we are and a way by which others judge us. These animals that we are responsible for carry us safely over rocky trails and pack our grandchildren over many miles as they teach lessons that only they can. Through these animals many young people in our state learn to understand what responsibility and commitment are. Some bring us companionship and a shoulder to cry on. Thousands upon thousands give up their very lives to become food on our tables.

Let us loudly reject those who wish to push the standard of care for these animals lower to appease the profit margins of the powerful and wealthy agribusinesses.

This is not a plea for fundraising of any kind nor is it tied to any animal welfare group. This is not an attempt to get people to stop eating meat or change their lifestyles in any way. This is a plea from the heart of one person for the animals. Our laws to protect them need to be strengthened. Each and every animal in these pictures suffered from and survived the worst abuse and neglect imaginable. The pig pictured above is with me. She was so weak from weeks of being out in the cold without shelter or adequate food and water when she was rescued that animal control considered euthanizing her. It took her months to learn to trust humans. She now lives in a loving home as a pet with four other pigs from the same rescue. It is for them that we must prevail in stopping HB 1541.

If the authors of HB 1541 had any interest in protecting animals or even a good first step in that direction, they would have invited to the table those in the trenches of animal rescue and advocacy.

Please share this post and this message with everyone you can. Time is of the essence- it is up for vote Monday, January 24 at 5 pm. Alert your local media and send a message to Richmond through your legislature that we do not do business this way in Virginia with our animals.

To find out how to contact your legislature, click on the link in the article below or cut and paste:

Mrs. Terry Smith
100 Main Street
Anytown, VA 23222

Dear Senator or Mr. or Mrs. (for Delegate)____________:

I am writing to you because I am concerned about HB 1541. I am in favor of protection for the agricultural animals in our state and this bill does not provide adequate protection worthy of the name.

Please vote against this measure when it comes before the Senate/House.



Mrs. Terry Smith

It is time to make a stand for these animals that truly are the least of the beasts on this planet of ours. It is time to take a stand for compassion and mercy for those that we share this world with.

Lorelei Pulliam

Afton Virginia

"But what would we most yearn for if we were locked away in dark little pens and stalls and ignored or shouted at and treated like garbage? I for one would yearn most for the sun and the cool water the sun and the cool water and the breeze and fellowship of my kind. I would yearn to be seen, feeling that if others only saw me they would try to help." Mathew Sculley - Dominion

January 21, 2011

Lean On Me

Today I went to the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection and picked up this senior gal.

We'd met her last week, when she was huddled in the back of her kennel and trembling. A visit to the website found her photo, and it was another that pulled at the ole' heartstrings. A "rescue hold" was placed, and if no one came to claim her, she'd be all ours. No one came.

Today, paperwork that showed her age as at least 11 years old was signed, and out to the RCACP lobby she came. She's fuzzy and matted, but her tail was up and starting to wag. The nice attendant handed her over, and pressed her worn red collar into my hand. She was still wearing a hardened and yellowed flea collar.

The front desk staff smiled over the counter and wished her well on our way out, but she never looked back. I'm not sure how well she can hear, and her eyes are clouded over with cataracts.

She hopped up in the car pretty well, like she's done it many times before. As she strained to look up and out the window through her hazy vision, the song "Lean On Me" came on the radio.

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on...

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load....

As it played and I glanced back at her, it hit home again how fortunate Angels of Assisi is to have the support of our Board members who would never say no to taking a senior dog into our adoption center. They would be more upset if we did not. We're thankful to the volunteers and supporters who make a difference for this elderly soul and many like her. Tonight she's got a soft bed, and a new name: Clair.


This last week has brought Angels of Assisi some tremendous opportunities in the community to promote our services, our adoptable animals, our mission. 

We are very grateful to have been offered space at the Home and Garden Show, and literally talked to hundreds of people. We got to show off the dogs and cats for adoption, hand out information on our low cost medical services, and hear many stories about the pets in our community and how they touch our lives.

The Cat Party last night was also wonderful. River Laker and the Roanoke Public Library did some thinking outside of the box and took a chance on a gathering that was all about cats- and it was well received. Vickie Holt did a wonderful job talking about the importance of animal shelter photography, the food was great, and the company better.

Through all of this, the planning, the hauling of crates, literature, cat pans, dog bowls, tables, photos, the driving back and forth, the late hours... there is a quiet, positive determination with the Assisi staff and volunteers.

Through the socializing, networking, laughing, sympathizing, and relating, there is also a little feeling of anticipation in the bottom of our hearts.

It's called hope.

It's hope for the animals in our care, that they will find the love they deserve. It's hope for the thousands of others not in our care. And, quite honestly, there is hope that through more spay/neuter. less will be born.

Last night, our Assisi cats were totally out of their routine and element. They took it all in stride, but I looked at them really hard, in the eye, and tried to send them a subliminal message "hang in there guys, please, please be super good and super cute, maybe tonight is your night".

Cats can read minds, right? I'd like to think so.

As always, we thank everyone for their support. It’s always a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work. And pictured below is why we do it.

These guys might have been "all dressed up and no place to go" last night, but their time will come. The next time they see these crates just may be the time they are going home.

When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown

January 20, 2011

Bolt Cutters- Who'd A Thunk It?

Last week we got word about a chained dog named Tiny. He had spent most of his short life chained to a dog house, and by the kindness of the Dogs Deserve Better volunteers, today he is ready for adoption and the chance to be part of a family.

I met him yesterday, and he is all wiggly-butt and waggy-tail. He takes treats very gently, and seems to be a happy and go with the flow kind of guy. The story of his journey to Angels of Assisi is told below:

Earlier this week I received a Facebook message from a fellow rescuer asking for help for Tiny, a chained Pit Bull living on a hillside.

Upon arriving I found a very sweet pitty. His doghouse was way too small and had tumbled down the hillside many times. He had no straw, blankets, toys, or bowls. His food was poured on the ground. He was pad locked to his chain (note to self - add bolt cutters to wish list), so we left the collar behind and fitted him with a new and clean collar.

I have added this after the fact as I have been asked many times how I can just take someones dog. I didn't 'just take' the dog. Education and rescue go hand in hand. There is nothing to gain by stealing a dog only to have that dog replaced by another. I secured a surrender agreement from the owner which states that he will never chain or pen another dog again.

It has been a very long time since I have unchained a dog that I DID NOT have to bring back to my house. Luckily, Angels of Assisi in Roanoke, VA responded to my SOS within minutes of sending it out stating that they would love to take Tiny into their rescue if I could get him there.

In the 2 hour trip from Galax to Roanoke, Tiny experienced so much: interstate traffic, heat, blankets, fresh food and water, belly rubs, attention, treats, toys, cell phone, radios, and he happily took in all in.

Tonight Tiny will spend his first night inside, untethered.
If you are interested in adopting Tiny or donating to Angels of Assisi you can visit:

Shannon Allen
Dogs Deserve Better
Southwest Virginia

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.
 ~Mark Twain, letter to W.D. Howells, 2 April 1899


January 16, 2011

For Those That Need Protection, The Time Is Now!

Two bills have been introduced into the General Assembly of Virginia that are an affront to anyone who cares about or is involved with animals of any kind. For the first time in memory, bills have been introduced that should incense animal lovers, insult farmers, and cause the ordinary citizen of the Commonwealth to recoil at the the very idea that we have abandoned all humanity towards our fellow creatures.These identical bills were written without any input from animal advocates in our state by those wanting to protect their own interests and not those of the animals. Cruelty laws are supposed to protect animals and not make conditions worse.

Imagine having lovingly raised and sold an animal to find it in squalid conditions and being inadequatly fed and cared for but not emaciated. Your local animal control officer is helpless to help you and the animal because the law is so weak and vague. Imagine having to drive past a foundered pony every day on the way to work and watch it try and hobble to the creek and down a steep embankment for a simple drink. She manages to keep from becoming dehydrated so there is nothing that can be done to help her. This is the situation HB 1541 and SB 1026 will create. The House Bill will likely be heard this coming Wednesday in the Ag subcommittee and introduced by Mr. Orek. These will come up for a vote early this week. Time is of the essence to stop them!

Please click here for more info!

January 14, 2011

Be Back In A Few

The blog is taking a few days off- hope everyone has a great holiday weekend. Looking for something to do? Visit the Home and Garden Show and stop in to see us and some of the pets available for adoption at the Roanoke Civic Center.

Also, be sure to listen to The Music Place 101.5 at 8 am Sunday morning. Norm Mason, founder of Angels of Assisi, and I will be interviewed.

Have a safe weekend and we'll be back with more stories next week- including Tiny the pit bull, and a new mama beagle.

January 11, 2011

One More Night

Faithful Assisi dog walkers, here is a new boy for you to socialize, take to the dog park, and lavish with TLC...

This one year old pup named Tiny has spent the last 7 months tied up outside. The good folks with Dogs Deserve Better will be transferring him to Angels of Assisi tomorrow, and he'll be admitted to the adoption center.  He's got one more night outside, and it's cold. But tomorrow will bring a warm bed, a feeling of safety, a new beginning....

Thanks to all who donate their time, talents and money to help dogs like Tiny.

A Great Interview With Vickie! Thank You Our Blue Ridge!

Sweet Mabel

This is one of the gals brought in from the Franklin County Animal Shelter last week. Her name is Mabel. As a senior citizen with a heart murmur, she is part of the Guardian Angels program (free yearly shots and exam for the rest of her life).

Mabel is a wonderful dog, and ready for a new start. Any takers?????

First Step- Feral Cats

Last week we talked about the No Kill Equation, and the fact that in 2009 almost 5000 animals were indeed killed in our community at the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection. You can see that post here.

The mandatory programs and services to correct this problem and stop the killing include:

I. Feral Cat TNR Program

II. High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter

III. Rescue Groups

IV. Foster Care

V. Comprehensive Adoption Programs

VI. Pet Retention

VII. Medical and Behavior Rehabilitation

VIII. Public Relations/Community Involvement

IX. Volunteers

X. Proactive Redemptions

XI. A Compassionate Director

Let's touch on number one today- feral cat trap/neuter/return.

First, a pretty alarming statistic: 80 percent of the cats brought to the RCACP in 2008 and 2009 were killed. You can see the numbers and stats here.

Next, a simple math equation: an unspayed female cat, her mate and all of their offspring, producing 2 litters per year, with 2.8 surviving kittens per litter can total 11,606,077 in 9 years!

11,606,077 plus is a mighty cumbersome number for adoptions, even for the most motivated group of people.  

I imagine that many of the cats brought to the RCACP are less socialized and/or feral cats. Communities throughout the United States are embracing Trap, Neuter, Return programs (TNR) to improve animal welfare, reduce death rates, and meet obligations to public welfare, and fortunately Roanoke is off to a good start in this area.

Trap, Neuter, Return is the method of humanely trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies and then returning them to their colony to live out their lives. TNR also involves a colony caretaker who provides food, adequate shelter and monitors the cats’ health. TNR has been shown to be the least costly as well as the most efficient and humane way of stabilizing feral cat populations. (Info taken from the ASPCA website.)

Through a dedicated group of volunteers, Angels of Assisi has spayed or neutered over 3400 feral cats. Cats may be brought to the clinic every Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday- no appointment is necessary. The cost is $25 per cat, and includes a rabies shot. Feral cats must be in a trap, and we can loan you one for free. 

For those new to this concept, but are interesting in helping and becoming more involved, Diane Novak of Barn Cat Buddies is hosting a workshop on Saturday, January 29th at 12 pm. We'll meet at Angels of Assisi and it seems like a pizza or two should be included on the agenda. For more information, or to RSVP, please contact us.

For further reading, other great sites include:

Best Friends
Alley Cat Allies

We appreciate all those already involved in caring for feral cats, or as some call them, "community cats". We welcome anyone who would like to be more involved, and hope to see you on the 29th. Together we can make a difference!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 - 1978)

January 7, 2011

Like It's 1999!

Check out Vickie's interview about the Kitty Studio and the upcoming Cat Party! Many thanks to the Roanoke Public Library for hosting- it's going to be a lot of fun ♥

Clinic Cuties

This pretty girl came into the Angels of Assisi clinic for a toenail trim today. Her name is Maisey and she is wonderful!


January 6, 2011

More New Guys, And A Shout Out To Wendy's Dad

A really nice man showed up in our lobby last night. For the last few months, he has been trying to place his two very large dogs, as he is moving today. The move was not necessarily his choice, but more one that was made for him due to illness.

Angels of Assisi was his last stop before the pound, and he was devastated. Unfortunately, it's been a busy week with many new dogs, and we are (really!) out of room. However, we told him to let the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection know that volunteers were networking for the dogs, and to hold them as long as possible.

And once again, networking works, or maybe it was the fact that after all these years Wendy's dad obviously can't resist her. When she asked him to foster a 120 pound English Mastiff and an 80 pound lab mix he agreed. "For 2 weeks!!"

Wendy is one of our very favorite, best of best, most awesome volunteers and foster mama to many. She's got a heart of gold and rarely takes no for an answer- she is one of those that figures it out.

Pictured below is the Mastiff. The lab was too wiggly for me to get a good shot, because, let's face it, I'm no Vickie Holt. We'll get some better photos up soon. These dogs are really attached to each other, and it would be awesome to place them together.

Who doesn’t need a combined total of 200 pounds of hunka hunka canine love, right?

A special thanks to Wendy, her most awesome dad, and the RCACP for holding them overnight and having them ready for us this morning. We appreciate you all, but not nearly as much as their owner does. Now he is able to focus on getting better, and is at peace knowing his beloved friends are safe from harm. We wish him the very best.