Frequently Asked Questions



General Questions

Shelter & Companion Animal Questions

 


General Questions

 

How did Angels of Assisi start?

Angels of Assisi was founded in 2001 by Norm Mason as private foundation providing a mobile spay/neuter shuttle. It would make scheduled stops twice a month and provide low cost spay/neuter to Roanoke and the surrounding communities. At that time over 8,000 animals were being euthanized each year at the Roanoke pound, and our founder thought this was the best way to combat the problem and reduce euthanasia rates at the local pound. Angels of Assisi has grown to become the largest animal welfare organization in the Roanoke Valley whose facilities include a private animal shelter, Community Pet Clinic, and 200-acre farm sanctuary. Through their adoption center, Angels of Assisi shelters and places over 2,500 companion animals annually, including a program to shelter animals caught in domestic violence and pets of hospice patients. Through its Community Pet Clinic, Angels of Assisi performs over 7,000 low cost spay/neuter surgeries annually, and provides low cost or free veterinary care to over 12,000 pets annually.

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How is Angels of Assisi different than other animal advocacy and animal welfare organizations?
Angels of Assisi is unique because of the breadth of our commitment to the animals in our community. There is no other organization taking a leadership role in direct care for sick, injured or orphaned dogs and cats, and offering a central commitment to advocacy and education on behalf of animals. More than 200,000 animals have come through our doors since 2001, and it is this hands-on experience that gives us perspective on how best to advocate for them and educate the community.

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Is there a Angels of Assisi near me?
Angels of Assisi has one physical location in downtown Roanoke that serves central and southewest Virginia, and West Virginia. The organization operates a mobile vaccination clinic that travels throughout the service area offering veterinary care and spay/neuter.

To search for companion animal organizations near you, go to www.petfinder.com. For a list of wildlife rehabilitation centers contact the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA) at www.nwrawildlife.org or 320.230.9920.

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How do I make a donation to Angels of Assisi?
You can do one of three things: send in your donation by mailmake a secure donation online, or call our executive director about legacy gifts at 540.400.2233. Gifts are vital to help us fulfill our mission.

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What items can I donate to Angels of Assisi? Does Angels of Assisi have a wish list? 
You can help the animals in our care by donating items from our wish list.  Donations can be delivered to Angels of Assisi’s location downtown Monday – Saturday 8am – 6pm. We will provide you with a tax-deductible receipt for your contribution. Thank you for your support!

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Is Angels of Assisi recognized by the government as a non-profit?
Yes, Angels of Assisi is recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Our tax ID number is 54-2021941.

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How much money goes to fundraising and administration?
Angels of Assisi is committed to keeping our fundraising and administration costs as low as possible. This ensures that community support truly benefits the animals in our care—providing food, supplies, expert veterinary care, and love, and funds our education and advocacy initiatives. For more detail, Angels of Assisi’s audited financial statements are available by calling 540.400.2233.

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How old do I have to be to volunteer?
You must be 18 years old to volunteer at Angels of Assisi on a regular basis, however we do have a few options for kids to volunteer with Angels of Assisi and lots of ideas on how kids can help animals every day.

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I want to volunteer– how do I go about this?
Visit the volunteer page where you can read about how to become a volunteer, link to descriptions of volunteer opportunities, and complete an online application. Opportunities include walking dogs, providing foster care, staffing outreach and fundraising events, taking care of cats, helping with administrative tasks and more.

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How do I report animal cruelty?
If you are witnessing animal cruelty at this moment, call 911.

Angels of Assisi has no legal authority to intervene on behalf of abused and neglected animals., If you suspect animal cruelty or neglect, you should contact your local animal control immediately.

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Shelter & Companion Animal Questions 

 

I can no longer care for my pet, how can Angels of Assisi help?
Thank you for contacting Angels of Assisi about finding a new home for your companion animal. Angels of Assisi takes in guardian-relinquished dogs and cats on a space available basis, and only by appointment. Please refer to this page on our website  for information on how to re-home your animal yourself, when Angels of Assisi can help and take in your animal, and other resources. We would also recommend checking with other shelters. You can also help find  new home for your pet through Adopt-a-Pet’s Rehome service.

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I found a stray animal I need to take somewhere. What do I do?
Angels of Assisi does not accept stray animals from the public. Guardians who have lost their pets need a central location to find them, and that is the local municipal agency (pound). Under state law, stray animals must be held for a mandatory stray period in order to provide guardians adequate time to locate their lost pets. Angels of Assisi must fully utilize all available shelter space to save as many lives as possible. This is best achieved by allowing animal control agencies to perform the function of impounding stray pets as is required of them by law. If you have found a stray pet, please contact the animal control for your locality, contact information is provided below.

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How long does Angels of Assisi keep animals before they put them to sleep?
Angels of Assisi does not euthanize healthy, adoptable companion animals nor do we euthanize animals for space or simply because they have been in the shelter for a certain length of time. As an organization committed to the welfare of animals in our care, we euthanize companion animals only when all other reasonable courses of treatment and options for appropriate placement in a home have been exhausted. For every animal in our care, Angels of Assisi explores all avenues prior to recommending euthanasia, and remains committed to saving as many animals as possible.

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Does Angels of Assisi care for feral cats? What can I do about feral cats?
Angels of Assisi does not have the facilities to care for feral cats. You can contact local groups that work with feral and community cats. These organizations can provide information on trapping and altering feral cats or help with renting traps or surgery. For more information refer to our feral cat page.

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Where can I get a humane cat trap?
Traps may be rented from Angels of Assisi for a $50 refundable deposit. You must come to Angels of Assisi’s Community Pet Clinic during the hours we are open to rent one. Other shelters may rent traps as well.

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What happens before a dog or cat gets adopted?
Animals receive an initial examination to ensure they are not suffering from an injury or illness, and are vaccinated and given medication to address fleas and other common parasites. They are scanned for identification, and entered into our database. Some animals go to the foster care program if they are very young or after receiving medical care to further recover from an illness or injury. Next the staff and volunteers focus on getting to know each dog or cat so we can be sure we can help make a great match between the dog or cat and your family. Some animals will undergo additional behavioral testing, and all animals will benefit from enrichment in the form of toys, exercise and attention.

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Why does Angels of Asissi meet with potential adopters?
Angels of Assisi wants to do everything possible to make sure families find the right animal to fit into their lifestyles, while helping the animals to find a home that best fulfills their needs. We engage in a conversation to learn about you, your household and what expectations you have for a new companion. Our team can share helpful information about animal care, behavior and successfully transitioning a new animal into your home. They will also share details about the animal’s in our care to help you find that right fit. Read more about our adoption process.

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Why does Angels of Assisi suggest adopting two kittens at the same time?
If there isn’t already a cat in the household, Angels of Assisi will often encourage adopters to consider adopting two kittens at the same time, or a kitten and a young adult cat. Since kittens need to learn appropriate feline behavior in the first several months of their lives, having another feline friend can help to temper normal behaviors such as scratching or biting so they don’t become a problem.

Kittens are curious and require lots of stimulation. A single, bored kitten will often entertain herself by chewing and climbing on things, or engaging in other possibly destructive or dangerous activities. These behaviors are usually reduced if a kitten has another kitten or cat to play with, and has frequent interaction with her human family.

If you choose to adopt just one young kitten, you may need to modify your schedule to allow more interactive time with your new friend. While toys are helpful for short periods of time, they are not a substitute for socialization which is imperative for a kitten’s healthy physical and emotional development. For more tips see the kitten section in our Resource Library.

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What is Angels of Assisi’s stance on declawing cats?
Angels of Assisi does not approve of declawing, a painful, surgical procedure that has long-lasting effects on cats. Per the American Veterinary Medical Association, declawing is the surgical amputation of all or part of a cat’s toe bones and the attached claws. Once their claws have been removed, cats can no longer perform their natural stretching and kneading rituals. They become weaker as they age and may experience debilitating arthritis in their backs and shoulders.

Furthermore, cats without claws have lost their first line of defense, and therefore, live in a constant state of stress. They cannot fight off other animals or escape quickly from danger. They may also become biters because they can no longer use their claws as a warning. Declawing can also lead to issues with using the litter box. For more information see The Problems with Declawing.

Scratching is natural for cats, but it can be both annoying and destructive. Luckily, scratching behaviors can be modified humanely and effectively. See our page on Destructive Scratching for suggestions.

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How do I update my contact information for my pet’s microchip?
To update your contact information, you need to contact the company who produced the microchip your pet was implanted with. If you are unsure about the brand of microchip, go to www.petmicrochiplookup.org and type in your pet’s microchip number. Angels of Assisi uses FoundAnimals microchips in the clinic and adoption center. Once you determine what brand of microchip your pet has, contact the company directly to update your information. Some microchip companies charge a small fee to update your information, but it’s worth the cost to ensure you and your pet can be reunited if they become lost. Current contact information also helps to provide proof of legal ownership.

Regardless of what brand of microchip your companion has, it is imperative to update the registration with the shelter where you adopted and veterinarian if you move, change phone numbers or other contact information. A microchip is only useful if the registration is kept up to date.

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Does Angels of Assisi pick up dead animals?
Angels of Assisi does not pick up dead animals. Please contact your local animal control agency for assistance.

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Can Angels of Assisi spay or neuter my pet?
Angels of Assisi offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries in its Community Pet Clinic. Learn more about getting your pet spayed or neutered.

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Can I bring my companion animal to Angels of Assisi for veterinary care? Can Angels of Assisi help me pay for my veterinary bills?
Yes, Angels of Assisi offers an affordable full-service veterinary center but cannot be responsible for veterinary bills or treatment of an animal after leaving our shelter. You can book an appointment in the Community Pet Clinic here.

Angels of Assisi does not have a program to help individuals cover the cost of their pets’ veterinary bills.

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I am having behavior issues with my new and/or long-time companion animal – can you help?
Please search for tips on solving behavior problems in our Resource Library. Paid training services are available here.

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Volunteer Questions

What are the minimum requirements for being an Angels of Assisi volunteer?
Please refer to our Volunteer page for more information.

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How do I become an Angels of Assisi volunteer?
You must be 16 years of age to work with or around animals at Angels of Assisi. The first step to becoming a volunteer is to fill out a volunteer application.

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Do I need to have experience to volunteer?
No. Angels of Assisi provides on-site training that will prepare you for your volunteer role.

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Is there a time commitment involved in volunteering?
Yes. Angles of Assisi requires 4 hours per month of service to remain an active volunteer. To learn the skills needed for your volunteer shift, it’s important that you’re present and able to make the commitment. However, for outreach and administrative volunteer positions, there is no time commitment.

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Do you accept court-ordered community service hours?
Yes. You can get more information on the Court Ordered Service program here.

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I am under 16 years of age but I want to volunteer. What can I do to help the animals?
You must be 16 years of age to work with or around animals at Angels of Assisi. However, there are plenty of ways you can help if you are under the age of 16. Kids under 16 can volunteer with their parent or guardian present, or help in other ways.

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What do you have available for group volunteering?
Angels of Assisi offers great team building opportunities by having work groups (maximum of seven people) come in and help with various projects such as weeding, painting and small building projects. To learn more about our work group opportunities, visit our contact Jessica Worrell at jworrell@angelsofassisi.org

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Why am I required to wear a Angels of Assisi branded volunteer shirt?
It’s important that all our volunteers and staff are easily recognizable for several reasons. Members of the public need to be able to easily identify Angels of Assisi staff and volunteers and for emergency purposes all volunteers need to wear a Angels of Assisi approved shirt.

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Can I bring my pet when I volunteer?
Angels of Assisi recognizes the value of having companion animals in the work environment and supports staff animals coming to work if certain considerations are met. Volunteers are requested to not bring their own animals on campus when they volunteer for several different reasons, including exposure to contagious illness, confinement and liability concerns as well as the need for proper introductions with staff dogs who may already be in the shelter.

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Do I have to work holidays?
The animals at Angels of Assisi require care each day of the year. When we are closed to the public, we may not require some volunteers to come in, but certain other positions are necessary. Any volunteer who works in cleaning positions or dog walking should plan on coming in if possible.

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Foster Care Questions

I need community service hours for school and I love animals, but I’m not 18 years old yet. Can I be a foster parent volunteer?
Teenagers looking to fulfill community service hours for school are not eligible to receive credit for hours spent fostering animals.

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How often does a foster animal need to be brought in for check-ups?
Foster parent volunteers need to transport animals to Angels of Assisi on a regular basis for vaccinations, vet checks, weight checks and spay and neuter surgeries. Vaccination appointments and weigh-ins for kittens and puppies are scheduled every few weeks. Veterinarian appointments are scheduled as needed for each animal, generally every 7-14 days.

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What if I’m unavailable to foster an animal when you call?
We will simply call another foster family. We want to make sure you feel like you’ll be able to give the time needed, so we don’t pressure you into taking an animal. You can foster as little or as much as you want. If you can’t foster this time around, we’ll just call you the next time.

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Will a foster animal have accidents or cause damage?
Foster animals, like any other companion animal in your home, may destroy carpeting, drapes, clothing and other valuable items. Young animals are more likely to have accidents in the home based on their age. Preparing your home and the area the animals will stay in by removing valuable items and providing enrichment items (toys, climbing towers for cats, etc.) can prevent most accidents, but not all of them.

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Do I need to keep foster animals separate from my pets?
Foster animals should be isolated from your own companion animals for the health and safety of both the foster animal and your own companions. A separate room or enclosed area, ideally with no carpet, often works best (like a bathroom, bedroom with no carpet or a laundry room).

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Will Angels of Assisi treat my pet if he is injured or becomes sick because of a foster animal?
 If your animal becomes sick or injured due to interactions with an Angels of Assisi foster animal, you will be responsible for all medical care required.

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I love the idea of being a foster parent, but I’m worried about how I’ll feel when it’s time for the animal to be brought back to the shelter for adoption.
It can be difficult to let go once you have become emotionally attached to a foster animal. Be prepared for tears and some heartache when you bring your foster animals back to Angels of Assisi, but remember foster families play a crucial part in helping unwanted animals get the permanent, loving homes they deserve.

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Are foster animals ever euthanized?
Sometimes adoption is not an option for animals with some illnesses or behavior problems even after the animal has been fostered. Angels of Assisi will determine if other options, including transfer to an animal rescue group, are appropriate and available. Knowing that an animal you have fostered may need to be humanely euthanized can be very hard to handle. Please remember that the Angels of Assisi foster care team is always here for support, and will discuss the decision with you as appropriate.

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What if a friend or family member wants to adopt my foster animal?
Thank you for helping find homes for your foster animals. Please keep in mind however, that the animals will not be available until their medical work, including spay or neuter surgery, is completed. Please refer interested adopters to the Angels of Assisi’s adoption page to start the adoption process.

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What if I want to adopt the animal I’m fostering?
This can happen when foster parents fall in love with the animals. If you wish to adopt a foster animal, please call the Angels of Assisi Foster Care Program at 540.344.8707 or email eshealy@angelsofassisi.org to start the adoption conversation as soon as you have made the decision. Your foster animal may already have an “adoption hold” for another person, and that information will be shared with you. Having available foster homes is crucial for saving lives, so we ask foster parents to consider how adopting a foster animal may affect their ability to continue fostering other animals in the future.

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