Did you know? The responsible, but tough decisions of a ”no-kill”/lifesaving shelter.

"Did you know" Lynchburg Humane Society logo, a green dog icon that has a confused head tilt

Back in January, I wrote a blog about what it means to be a no-kill shelter.  That blog was an overview about the meaning of no-kill, and how it doesn’t mean that we are able to save every pet that comes to us.  While I wish we could save everyone, it’s not feasible, realistic, or responsible. But…let’s dig into that a little more.

We save a lot of lives here. We give it our all to try to save all of the pets that come to us in need.   While it is sad and difficult to make the decision to euthanize a pet when it is terminally sick or severely injured, it is, of course, the right thing to do. We never want a pet to suffer.  

But when it comes to pets (usually these are dogs) that have behavior issues and could be a risk to the community – that’s when things get real tough.  They aren’t physically sick and they aren’t suffering from injuries…but they are not safe to be adopted, so what do we do?  

We work hard – that’s what we do! We give the pet everything we can to try to make them adoptable, we look for rescues, we evaluate their behavior, we contact veterinary behaviorists, we talk with professional trainers, but sometimes none of that works and a very tough decision has to be made.  When that happens, we know we have done everything we can to save that pet, and that euthanasia may be the only safe decision.  Even though we are able to save many pets that have some behavior issues, the truth is that we are not a behavior rehabilitation facility, and so we must do what is right not only for the pet, but also for the safety of the community.  These are the decisions that are often the toughest for our staff and volunteers because these are usually pets that have been with us the longest since we take the time to do everything we can, and in that time our staff becomes very close with these pets. So when a tough decision has to be made, it can be devastating.

Because of our community, we have an amazing shelter but it is no place for a pet to stay long term.  Some pets can handle this stressful environment, and others can’t.  And if a pet is not ready for adoption or has special needs that make them harder to adopt, their stay here can be life threatening.  We do everything possible to make them comfortable during their stay, but inevitably some pets start to mentally decline. Their quality of life begins to deteriorate and if we can’t get them out of the shelter, we must make the decision to euthanize – because again, we never want a pet to suffer.  

We are fortunate that with the thousands of pets we save, the ones that are too sick, too injured, or too unsafe for the community only make up about 7% of the pets we see each year. 

Our hope is that in the future, humanity will be kinder to pets and fewer will come into shelters and when they do come into the shelters, more will be able to be saved.  But for now, we know we are doing everything possible for our community and the pets. Thank you to our staff, our volunteers, our fosters, and our community for helping us continue to save every pet we can.

Did you know?  What is the relationship between the Lynchburg Humane Society and the Lynchburg Animal Control and Police Department?

Lynchburg Humane Society and Lynchburg Animal Control Partnership

"Did you know" Lynchburg Humane Society logo, a green dog icon that has a confused head tilt

The Lynchburg Humane Society, a nonprofit 501c3 organization, has partnered with the City of Lynchburg for several decades.  Animal Control is a part of the Lynchburg Police Department.  LHS has no authority over Animal Control, however, we have a wonderful relationship with them.  They help lost pets get to LHS safely, and then we care for them.  They will also bring us pets that are neglected, abandoned, are taken from their home due to cruelty, or are deemed to be a danger to the public.  

While we are not the same organization as Animal Control or the Lynchburg Police Department, we understand how important they are in our City and to the Lynchburg Humane Society.  There are often complaints that no one will pick up a lost pet during the evenings or weekends.  That is because Animal Control does not work in the evenings or weekends, and the Lynchburg Police Department is busy tending to the community’s safety concerns.  But many times, the Lynchburg Police Department does pick up pets during those off hours.  Especially if they are sick, injured or a public safety concern.

Stay in the “know”!

We think it is important to educate the public about how the Lynchburg Humane Society, Animal Control and the Lynchburg Police Department work together, but are separate entities.  We are thankful for the positive partnership we have with Animal Control – our City is fortunate to have such wonderful officers that work in partnership with us.

For more articles like this read more on our blog or sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.

Did you know? The Lynchburg Humane Society’s policy for taking in Lost or Stray Pets and Owner Surrendered Pets.

Does the Lynchburg Humane Society take stray dogs and cats?

"Did you know" Lynchburg Humane Society logo, a green dog icon that has a confused head tilt

The Lynchburg Humane Society takes in all lost dogs in the City of Lynchburg and cares for them until their owners find them or finding a loving home for them if their owner never comes.  Some lost dogs are brought to us through a kind citizen, Animal Control, or the Lynchburg Police Department (who we partner with but are not the same entity – they are a part of the City, we are not – more about that next week). We always take the lost dogs that are found in the City. 

If a pet is brought to us from another county, we typically will ask them to take them to the county’s shelter where they were found.  The reason we do this is because we want to give the pet the best chance of finding its way back to the owner.  If a pet is taken to another jurisdiction than where it was found, it makes it more difficult for the owner to find their pet.  Additionally, if we took in every lost pet that was brought to us from another County, we would not be able to house them all safely.  

One of our lifesaving programs at LHS is our managed intake. We do not take in stray, healthy cats found in the community. We have many cats outside in our city that do not have families and are community cats! This cats live happily outside in their colonies and after they are altered and released no longer contribute to the overpopulation of cats in our community. Unfortunately, less than 3% of cats that are brought to shelters are ever reunited with their families. For more information on getting involved in Trap Neuter Return programs you can visit our community cat resource page or check out the local group, Stray Cat TNR!

Does the Lynchburg Humane Society take dogs and cats surrendered by their owners?

 We also take in pets that are needing a new home because their owners aren’t able to care for them anymore.  There are some lifesaving policies around taking pets who are being surrendered by their owners.  For example, we ask that owners help us help them.  A shelter should be the last resort to take a pet.  We want to bring every pet into our Center safely and not become overcrowded.  We ask them to work with us to rehome their pets.  We offer them guidance, marketing, advice, and more. 

If a pet is able to safely go from one home to another without coming to the shelter, that is the best for the pet (and the other pets that are at our Center).  The shelter, even our wonderful Center for Pets, is stressful and stress can cause unwanted behaviors and illnesses.  We provide whatever resources we are able to help owners either keep their pets or keep them until they are able to find a new loving home for them or until we have space to bring in the pet safely to our Center.  Resources can range from medical care, crates, food, training, etc.  If a pet is being neglected or is a danger to the household, we will take the pet in right away.  There are other emergency situations where we might take in a pet right away. 

Our lifesaving policies also prevent quick decisions of people who may be having a tough time with their pet, have lost patience, or don’t know what else they can do. This gives them a moment to think about it and not do something they will possibly regret.  And gives us a chance to work with them on any issues we can help with.

It’s important to communicate our policies and procedures with the public so they understand how we operate.  We see ourselves as a Center for the community and we want to do what is best for the pets and the people in our community!  

Did you know? We offer pet low-cost end-of-life services.

The Lynchburg Humane Society offers affordable end-of-life euthanasia and cremation services.

"Did you know" Lynchburg Humane Society logo, a green dog icon that has a confused head tilt

Talking about death is difficult and uncomfortable.  Our pets are part of our families and saying goodbye to them is one of the hardest things to do.  During this emotional time, the last thing you want to do is think about the cost of end-of-life services or wonder where you will need to go for these services.

Our euthanasia services are affordable and always performed with love and respect from our professional and caring staff.  The cost of euthanasia at the Lynchburg Humane Society is $35 for small pets (rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc.) and $50 for dogs and cats. 

Our cremations services are performed right here at the Lynchburg Humane Society Center for Pets in Lynchburg, Virginia.  Knowing your beloved pet is not taken to another facility for cremation is something we believe is a comforting factor in this sad process.  The cost of cremation at the Lynchburg Humane Society ranges from $125 for a private cremation to $50 for a general disposal fee (no remains are returned).  

Visit our End-of-Life page on our website for more information. 

At the Center for Pets, we are here for you and your pet.  <3

Did you know? Utility Bills are Among one of the Highest Expenses for the Lynchburg Humane Society

A look into the utility bills of the Lynchburg Humane Society

"Did you know" Lynchburg Humane Society logo, a green dog icon that has a confused head tilt

Not an exciting topic, but very timely because we all have been feeling costs rising lately.  I have heard many people are especially concerned with their electricity bills increasing.  Probably just like you at your home, our utilities are among one of the highest expenses for us.  We are an efficient organization, but it takes a lot to care for hundreds of pets everyday.  Each year we spend around $100,000 on our utilities. 

The highest of the utilities is our electricity, then gas, and then water.  Electricity usage includes our lights, computers and everything else that we use in the shelter that is plugged into a wall, and part of our HVAC system is electric (part is gas). Our electricity bill averages about $5,600 per month. 

The main things we use gas for are a portion of our HVAC system, hot water heating, and our crematory (yes, we have an onsite crematory and we offer low-cost pet end-of-life and cremation services – but that is another “Did You Know” Blog for another day).  Our gas bill is usually around $1,700 per month.

Of course, as you might have imagined, we use a lot of water, making sure each pet has drinking water, doing dozens of loads of laundry each day, cleaning and sanitizing our kennels, cages, and rooms.  Our water bill typically runs about $1,000 per month.  

So yeah, this isn’t a pull at your heart strings, pet story kind of blog, but we think it is important for our supporters and the public to understand the impact of the costs of operating a lifesaving facility like ours even if it isn’t often considered part of lifesaving, but without the water, gas, and electricity – we could not operate and save the thousands of lives we save each year.

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