This article was featured in WYDaily on 8/12/22.
Dogs, cats and more are pouring into Greater Williamsburg’s biggest animal shelter in need of help and homes. Nationwide, shelters are flooded including the local Heritage Humane Society. With more than 240 animals currently in its care including foster care, the area’s largest animal shelter and resource center is in dire need of community support.
Area residents interested in adding a pet companion to their home are being asked to consider adopting versus shopping for a pet or going to a breeder. The wide range of homeless pets up for adoption provide many options of personality and types. Currently, there are 247 pets in the care of the Heritage Humane Society including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, and rabbits.
When overload strikes, critical needs spike
According to a recent urgent letter to the community from Heritage Humane Society Executive Director Kimberly Laska, the nonprofit is in great need of temporary, loving foster homes, less unnecessary surrenders, and more donations.
There are no days off for an animal shelter. Caring goes beyond servicing the in-house and fostered pets. Growing inflation has resulted in more pet owners feeling the need to give up their furry companions. Each day is packed with heartbreaking surrenders. At this point, the Heritage Humane Society has had to put a temporary ban on non-emergency surrenders. It stresses that those who are considering surrendering their pet to please register for its Kibble Kitchen & Beyond, which is its community outreach providing food and basic supplies so pets can stay with their human companions.
This past spring and early summer, the Heritage Humane Society itself was hit with multiple cases of animal hoarding. There were also folks who didn’t spay or neuter their pets who then bred resulting in unwanted puppies and kittens. This quick influx strained the shelter, its staff, and its resources. There are volunteer openings and animal fosters are in high demand.
Recently, the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter (PRAS) was overwhelmed with an intake of 278 animals in just 10 days from July 15-25. As supporters for one another, each area shelter partner including the Heritage Humane Society agreed to help with a minimum of 10 pets. While this may not seem like much, like shelters everywhere, the Heritage Humane Society stepped up to do its part by intaking and caring for the unwanted pets.
“Here at the Heritage Humane Society, we are a community resource, which means that in addition to connecting pets with their forever homes, we support a network of Hampton Roads shelters, care for ailing or injured homeless pets in our care, run the Kibble Kitchen outreach providing food and supplies for animals in the Great Williamsburg community so they can stay with their family, participate in court cases to protect local pets, and so much more, so we are in an overloaded situation right now and for our homeless pet population, we’re asking the community for support by adopting, fostering, and if possible, donating, so we can function in the capacity we’re meant to,” says Kimberly Laska, Executive Director of the Heritage Humane Society.
Adoption’s new look
The July 16 opening of Schwartzy’s Cat Cove has been a lifesaver for the Heritage Humane Society’s capacity issue. In its first several weeks, 26 cats have been adopted. This has truly made a life-changing difference for some of these cats. Since opening, there have been more than 2,500 visitors that have visited the Cat Cove. Located at 5102 Main Street, Williamsburg, VA, United States, 23188 next to Nautical Dog – Pet Market & Dog Wash.
You could be the next contestant
“Come on down!” If those words remind you of the great, late animal advocate Bob Barker or current host Drew Carey of TV’s The Price is Right, you, too, can be a winner all the while staying in Greater Williamsburg.
The Heritage Humane Society participates in the annual, nationwide pet adoption movement, Clear the Shelters. Now through August 31, adopters can play Plinko, the game made popular for millions of people on The Price is Right.
Homeless pets at the shelter are full of personality. The latest pet spotlights include:
• Meet Nabi and Ooyoo. Five-year-old mother Nabi and her one-year-old daughter Ooyoo are a sweet bonded pair of Korean Jindo dogs. Fun fact: This dynamic duo may hold the record for longest path to the Williamsburg-based shelter having originated in Korea.
• Meet Itty. Born with CH (Cerebellar Hypoplasia), while other cats have a swagger, Itty has a wobble. The neurological condition means Itty has random, unbalanced coordination. This long-haired beauty loves to stay on the go with other kitties and has no idea life is any different based on her stride. She will lead a full life and is ready to wobble her way into her fur-ever home.
• Meet Buzz. Hippity, hoppity, Buzz the domesticated rabbit is ready to find the path to his permanent home. His current foster reports that Buzz is laidback, likes to observe before jumping into a mix of people and is a professional snacker. When given free roam of the house, he makes a charming little humming noise to show his happiness, hence his moniker, Buzz.
While finding the perfect pet companion is incredibly special, those who adopt puppies or dogs from the Heritage Humane Society also receive a special $40 off voucher for dog training classes. Dog Training Instructor Adam Claar provides the dog training classes and free workshops at the Heritage Humane Society. His classes are open to all area canines, as well.
To learn more and to register your dog for training, visit HeritageHumane.org or call 757-221-0150. Heritage Humane Society is located at 430 Waller Mill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.
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