NRV Humane Society soon to debut new home, services

Elizabeth Wray of the New River Valley Humane Society says the organization hasn’t fallen off the face of the earth.

Quite the contrary.

The organization has been making moves of late to offer a whole new range of services to people and animals in the NRV – including purchasing a new home of their very own.

“If people were wondering where we went, what was going on – we’re still up and running and still doing what we’ve always done,” said Wray. “We’re finally going to have our own location at 221 Broad Street in Dublin.”

Wray said the humane society anticipates opening their new facility in early spring of 2021 after some renovation of their new property.

“Once we get that done, we’ll have an exam room, a surgical suite, a radiology room and a recovery room. We’ll be doing low-cost spay and neuter clinics and offering those services to the pets of residents of the New River Valley at a reduced rate,” Wray said.

“We will also be doing TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) Clinics for the many Feral Cat populations in our area. This is a huge issue and we want the community to know we will be offering those services as well,” she added.

Floor plan for the NRV Humane Society’s new home on Broad Street in Dublin.

The humane society will be holding annual vaccination clinics – something they typically do four or five times a year.

“We do rabies and distemper vaccinations at very low cost. And because we now have a place to do it, we’ll also be able to offer some wellness clinics,” Wray said. “We’ll have those periodically. That’s where people can bring their animals in for a checkup to see if there’s anything going on that maybe needs attention – like ‘my dog has really bad breath can you check his teeth? My dog or cat needs dental work. My dog has really bad itchy skin, what’s going on?’”

“We won’t be a full-service veterinary clinic, but we will offer wellness checks to identify problems that maybe they need to see their full-service vet for. We’ve never been able to do that in the past, so we’re really excited about being able to do that,” Wray said.

The humane society plans to also partner with the local animal shelters in the NRV to help facilitate adoptions and foster opportunities for animals at those shelters. They will also work with numerous rescue and transport operations up and down the east coast.

“There are a lot of animals that need good homes because they are in shelters in the NRV as well as other areas, or maybe they’ve become homeless due to the storms they’ve had down in Alabama, Georgia and those areas,” Wray said. “Those animals need to get up north. There are good homes for them up north because like in Rhode Island, New York places like that, they have much stricter spay and neuter laws and so they don’t have an over abundance of adoptable animals. So, we help get these animals out of the kill shelters or out of bad situations – floods, hurricanes, what have you – and we work with these transport groups to get them from there up to the northern states where they have foster homes waiting for them and hopefully forever homes.”

Wray said the humane society will be able to provide medical services for some of these animals.

“So, if they have animals that have become homeless because of a hurricane in Florida, and they’re taking a bunch of them to a rescue facility up north they can stop over here and we can have them checked out. If they need any veterinarian care, we can do that,” she said.

Wray notes that the society’s new Dublin home will not be a direct in-take facility like an animal shelter is.

“You won’t be able to bring animals to us to surrender. We won’t have kennel space available to be able to do that. We can work with the local shelters to help find placements – fosters, adoptions, that kind of thing,” she said.

The new Dublin facility will also have a food pantry with food on hand.

“We do food drives throughout the year and store that food. People who hit on hard times – can’t make ends meet and are struggling to feed their pets – will be able to come to us and we can offer some food.

“We also offer some emergency assistance, financial assistance for when, say your animal gets hit by a car and you go to the vet and they tell you it’s going to be $1,200 or whatever, we’ll work with pet owners to help get them a lower cost at the vet and in some cases, we can offer limited financial assistance.

“For a lot of people, their pets are their family and sometimes when they get sick or hurt, they just don’t have the funds available or they don’t know what to do. So, we want to be able to be there,” Wray said.

The society plans to do some community outreach and education and try to help people understand the importance of spaying and neutering their animals, getting up to date on vaccinations, etc.

“And of course, we’re going to work on being animal advocates with our local, state and federal agencies to try and get some different laws passed.”

Wray recalled passage of a law recently in Virginia in which you can’t leave your dog or cat out in the extreme hot or cold.

“We want to help people understand what the current laws are and if those laws need to be updated or changed or whatever, then we can all work together to try and get some things changed for those animals.”

Wray said the humane society wants to be an asset to the community – not just to the animals, but the owners as well.

Once open the Dublin facility will have one full-time office manager and will be bringing on at least one more person part-time.

The organization is a non-profit that is always welcome to volunteers and will especially need volunteers as they get their new home up and running.

Wray said local residents can also become a member of the Humane Society.

“We’re always looking for members to build our member base up. And we’re always looking for people who want to be on the board of directors,” she said.

Wray said the group wants to be an extension of the services provided by area shelters and veterinarians.

“We don’t want to take business away from the veterinarians, but we want to be able to help those people that maybe can’t afford to go.  We want to be an extension of all these entities, and we want to be partners with them and work with them. We want to work together and make things better for the animals, their owners and the community.

“We’re super excited to have our own facility to be able to do what we really want to do and have the space to do it,” she said.

The humane society used to have space in the county’s animal shelter building for years. But, according to Wray, it had very limited space and that made it hard to do what they wanted to do.

Wray says the majority of humane society members are local to Pulaski County.

“We’re now known as Humane Society of NRV and want people to know they don’t have to live in Pulaski County to be a part of us. We want to be a part of the bigger community. We’ll serve people from all over the valley,” she said.

Renovation work on their new home will be done in phases, starting with the office, lobby, administration, phones and computers all being set up first. Then comes the exam room, surgical suite and radiology. The last phase will be the kennel area with limited amount of kennel space

Wray says they hope to be able to start with vaccination clinics and spay and neuter clinics by early spring.

Volunteers or those wanting to help through donations can email the humane society at office@hsopcva.org or contact them through Facebook.

By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot