By Josette Keelor
FRONT ROYAL -- The Humane Society of Warren County was hoping to break at least a couple records when it invited the community to a special adoption day event.
Normally closed Wednesdays, the shelter at 1245 Progress Drive, Front Royal, extended its hours until 6 p.m. and agreed to be "no kill" for the day. The goal was to increase pet adoptions, and Executive Director Levenda Denney said she hoped to reach 15 by closing time.
"That's about our record in a day," she said. "We did that last year for Black Friday."
Sponsored by the The No Kill Advocacy Center, the event takes place every year on June 11 and represents 10,411 lives needlessly lost each day. This year about 1,200 shelters nationwide joined the effort, according to the website at http://tiny.cc/tr7ahx.
"There are some shelters that will clear out on this day," Denney said.
Michael Kerns, the HSWC's feline team leader, hoped Wednesday's effort would contribute to an adoption record at Petco north of Front Royal, where he and shelter volunteers showed dogs, cats and kittens for adoption. Wednesday the HSWC also showed pets at the Front Royal Kmart and at Springtime Garden Center.
Kerns said more than 130 cats have found homes through the HSWC's partnership with the pet store that started last summer, and local Petco General Manager Sherry Delph said she hoped to reach 200 by July.
In honor of the June 11 event, adoptions through the HSWC were $11, a reduced price that caught Delph's attention and earned a "wow" as she approached 10-month-old pit bull mix Izzy playing with two attentive children.
Brown tabby Bambi sat in a nearby cage waiting for her own forever home after recently seeing her four kittens off to their own families.
In the Northern Shenandoah Valley, the Page County Animal Shelter is the only other shelter Denney knew of that was participating in Just One Day, though she couldn't confirm any facility in the northern valley is continuously no kill.
Becoming a no-kill shelter requires a 90 percent or higher live release rate of animals under the facility's care, Denney said. In a live release, animals leave the shelter by adoption, owner reclamation or transfer to another no-kill rescue.
"We have been no kill in dogs and other animals since 2012," Denney said. However, the 1,200 cats they take in each year prevent the shelter from maintaining status as a no-kill facility, "which is our goal."
Kitten season, which Kennel Director Marcy Gallo said can last April through October, provides a challenge since un-spayed cats will have on average three litters a season. She said four litters is possible in a year with a mild winter.
At the end of May, the shelter would have been considered a no-kill facility, Gallo said, "but then at the end of June, we might not anymore just because of the number of cats and kittens coming in."
Denney said in recent weeks 11 to 15 felines come to the shelter every day.
"And that's why it's so important to spay and neuter your pets," Denney said.
"You can't keep up with it. Eventually the kennels all get full and the foster homes all get full and then you have no choice."
Adoptions at the Humane Society of Warren County are normally $15 for cats and $30 for dogs but will be $9 during the 9 Lives for $9 nine-day event starting Saturday. Contact the shelter at 540-635-4734 or visit
or humanesocietywarrencounty.org. Contact the Page County Animal Shelter in Stanley at 540-778-2101 or at pagecounty.virginia.gov.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, firstname.lastname@example.org