April 22, 2013


To the person who just left cherished members of the family with us, may you be safe in your journey today, and for the rest of your life.  Your courage is something we will never forget, and we'll keep our promise to you. Stay strong.

April 20, 2013

Three Cheers For The Good Guys

Officer Silvey from Roanoke City Animal Control brought us 13 cats and 2 dogs from a local hoarding case yesterday. He said that he is working with the owner, and told him he would do his best not to let anything bad happen to his cats.... and so he brought them to Angels of Assisi.

We're thankful to be part of this lifesaving team, and will uphold the bargain by giving these new guys Vet checks, updating vaccinations, and treating any medical issues. Afterwards, they will be placed for adoption with the guarantee that from here on out, we've got their backs. That goes for the officers working hard for the animals in our community as well- always has, and always will. Thank you, Officer Silvey!

April 16, 2013

With Full Hearts

 In honor of the lives lost at Virginia Tech, and those lost yesterday in Boston, we send their families all the comfort there is.

We have grateful hearts and the deepest respect for those in uniform, scrub jackets, and civilian clothes who utilize their expertise to right the wrong every single day, and then take it to an entirely new level in the midst of crises and tragedy. Thank you.

"But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out.  This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evildoers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

- Patton Oswalt

April 15, 2013

In The Know

Angels of Assisi hosted our inaugural educational seminar last Saturday!  "A Community Guide to Virginia's Animal Welfare Laws and Court System" was an amazing day of information and networking.

Jill Deegan, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney of Botetourt County, gave us an overview of the court system, animal welfare laws, and how animal cruelty cases work. She also shared the importance of giving animal control officers time to gather evidence for their cases; in other words, don't jump all over the officer if you hear "no charges were filed"- just because they are not immediately filed, does not mean they won't be.

A recurring theme throughout her presentation was the importance of knowing the code sections, and that there is actually a code section for everything. Who knew?! Click here to see a list of the section regarding agriculture and animal care.
You can even download an app to your phone- click here.

Jill also arranged for all of the speakers, and it was truly an honor to have so much talent in one room.

Michelle Welch
Assistant Attorney General
The role the Attorney General in Virginia's legal system, and an overview of dog fighting investigations and prosecution.

Sherry Ramsey
HSUS Director of Animal Cruelty Prosecutions
The link between animal cruelty and domestic violence.

Dana Miller, DVM- USDA
Using Veterinary forensics to prove your case.

Because these four speakers teach all over the county, and often together, their information weaved together to keep the aha moments plentiful. An added bonus was the addition of Officer Gibson and Officer Silvey, representing Roanoke City Animal Control. They were able to chime in on the state and national topics, and share their experiences from a local perspective, making all of our new found knowledge applicable right here in our community.

Thank you to all who attended, with a an extra special shout out to ACO's Gibson and Silvey - we soaked up your experiences "like a sponge" and have a renewed admiration for all you do. The day was filled with inspirational people, the kind that lift you up and make you want to be a better person. And now we are equipped with many of the tools needed to get the job done.

Officers Gibson and Silvey, along with
Libby Carden, RCACP Rescue Coordinator, and Trish Deaton, Director of Shelter Operations 
Knowledge will bring you the opportunity to make a difference.
― Claire Fagin

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


April 10, 2013

Day One: A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Our community has been waiting a long time for changes at our local pound. Over 18,000 animals have been killed at the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection since 2008.  Last November, the spit between the Roanoke Valley SPCA and the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection was announced, meaning the SPCA would no longer be managing the pound.

The municipalities began the transition into management, and went on a nationwide search for a new director. Over 55 applicants from across the country were reviewed, and March brought the announcement that David Flagler was chosen. 

Mr. Flagler's first day was Monday, April 8. We expected a lot of things to be coming in the next few months- an announcement that adoptions would finally be allowed from the pound, plans for improving the volunteer program, creative ideas for shelter enrichment.

What we did not expect was silence on day one from the new Executive Director as a euthanasia list was made. By the time anyone from the outside realized what was happening, 6 of the 10 dogs on the list were killed. Official documentation shows that 6 cats were killed, employees report that 8 cats were killed. 

Here are a few of the faces lost.

It appears that the time to stand up and be a voice for those who cannot speak is upon us yet again. The status quo is just not good enough.

We can't be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don't have something better.
― C. JoyBell C.

April 5, 2013

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month

Angels of Assisi continues to play a key role in our community in the fight against animal cruelty by offering medical care/rehabilitation for abused animals, and providing expert testimony in court cases. Throughout the years we have been privileged to work with Animal Control officers from Botetourt County, Roanoke City, Bedford, Giles County, Carroll County, Alleghany County, and the Virginia State Police.

Together, we can all help crack down on animal cruelty- here are some simple actions you can take to make our world a safer place for animals.

Know the Signs That an Animal Might Be Abused

Recognizing cruelty is simple, right? Not quite, say ASPCA experts. Aggressive, timid or fearful behavior doesn't always tell the whole story. Animals may appear to be timid or frightened for many reasons other than abuse.“It’s almost impossible to make conclusions based on a pet’s behavior alone,” says the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT. “The best way to tell whether a pet is being or has been abused is to examine him and his surrounding environment.”

Physical Signs
  • Collar so tight that it has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet’s neck
  • Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn’t being treated
  • Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
  • Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
  • Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
  • Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
  • Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
  • Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
  • Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
  • Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness

Environmental Signs

  • Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
  • Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
  • Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
  • Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements possibly with too many other animals

Know who to call to report animal cruelty

Roanoke City: 540- 853-2411
Roanoke County: 540-562-3265
Vinton: 540-983-0617
Botetourt County:  540-473-8631

The staff and volunteers at Angels of Assisi see first hand
the love our community has for the animals that share our world. Together, we can and have made a difference- keep up the good work!

Also, please click here to join us for a Community Guide to Virginia's Animal Welfare Laws

* Much of the above information was taken from the ASPCA

April 3, 2013

Mattie Biscuit

While visiting the Goodview area on Easter Sunday, our new friend Mark found an emaciated dog in the middle of the road. He was not sure if she was dead or alive, but stopped anyways, and gathered her up and into his car. A trip to Emergency Vet Services found no microchip, and he arrived on our doorstep with her on Monday morning.

She is terribly thin, and has a large tumor on her side, but is as sweet as can be. She is on a feeding regime combined with medications. For now, we are taking it day by day, and letting her catch up on her rest and gain some strength back.


Mattie has a few days left on her stray hold time, and then will be looking for a couch to call her own. Thank you to all who donate to theBiscuit Fund, and for making a difference in our community!

April 2, 2013


Years ago, emaciated and terrified, Charlie was barely surviving on cardboard and good luck in rural North Carolina. He was very elusive, and not open to human companionship. 

After being spotted by a future leader in the animal welfare community, he became a challenge, an inspiration, and, little did anyone know at the time, her first rescue of many. It took much plotting and planning, along with some well placed dog treats, to capture him, but the mission was eventually accomplished. As is often the case when the hurt is great, and the soul is lost, the best place you can turn to is your family, and that is just what she did for Charlie.

To ensure his safety, she brought him to her sister's house, and the healing process began. His first night was spent with his new owner sleeping right next to him. The patience and understanding continued, and he completed the transition into their home and hearts.

Gradually, Charlie turned from a skittish and unapproachable dog to a member of the family. He became the dog that jumped into playtime to "monitor" his boy. Loyal and true, he would wait for his dad to come home, always wagging his tail and happy to see him, no matter how late he was. For some reason, Charlie liked to stick his nose deep into his well worn work boots- no one is sure what he found so interesting in there, but we'll leave that between the two of the them.

Why the creator of dogs had to make their lives so damn short, we will never know. After 17 years, Charlie left this world last Saturday, in the peaceful comfort of his own backyard.

He will remain the symbol that no matter how awful and ugly things seem, no matter how lost the soul has become, love changes everything. Be thankful for those who can see through barriers, and reach in to pull you through. There is a word for these types, and it is called family. Be grateful and cherish them always, just as Charlie did with his.