In our “From the Field” series we share reflections and field notes from our staff members who work hands-on, every day, to protect and improve the lives of cats.
Hello from Virginia!
My name is Diana Cruz, and I’m a National Cat Help Desk Specialist here at Alley Cat Allies. I just returned from a trip to Front Royal, Virginia with my coworker, Alice Burton, our Animal Control and Shelter Liaison. During our visit, we were given a tour of the Humane Society of Warren County (HSWC) and gave a presentation on Trap-Neuter-Return to interested members of the Front Royal community.
When we arrived at the HSWC, the very first thing we saw was a furry orange tail disappearing around the corner of the building. By the time we opened the door, this cat had looped all the way around the building to greet us in the entryway. His name is Larry, and although he has enough personality to fill a dozen cages, this eartipped cutie roams freely around the property.
The HSWC is an amazing example of how a TNR program—conducted by an insightful leader and dedicated staff—can make a huge difference in a community. Under the direction of Executive Director Lavenda Denney and Kennel Director Marcy Gallo, HSWC has increased its live-release rate for cats from 33 percent in 2010 to almost 90 percent in 2015. In addition to HSWC’s TNR program returning unadoptable cats to their outdoor homes, they’ve also lowered their intake numbers through a great education initiative to decrease owner surrender. We’re so blown away by this amazing organization and by HSWC’s leadership!
We left the shelter feeling eager to channel the passion and dedication we’d witnessed into our own presentation on Caring for Community Cats. We spoke to an audience that included shelter staff, citizens, and TNR groups from different counties, about how they can protect their local cats.
Through these presentations, we get to meet community cat advocates and help the people who are on the ground making a difference for cats every day. Amazing local advocates asked questions and told us about the struggles they face as caregivers and activists. Hearing from these wonderful people inspires all of us at Alley Cat Allies to continue our work!
We’re so excited that the Humane Society of Warren County is such a role model for their community. We hope to see many more towns and counties in Virginia follow their wonderful example!
Until next time,