Humane Society of Fairfax County (HSFC), USA
Katherine Hughes on November 28, 2018 in Animal Welfare
Every year, millions of dogs, cats, and other animals are mistreated or given up by their owners. These animals are left in the wild, alongside roads, or are put into shelters that lack adequate funding and facilities, which can force the shelters to put animals down. These animals all desperately need help, which is where the Humane Society of Fairfax County (HSFC), Virginia, comes in.
Gina Lynch, the Community Outreach Coordinator at HFSC, put a name to this problem. She described how a dog, named Amber, had been given up by his family. He made his way to the highway, where he ran into trouble. Amber was dragged by a car, had road burn marks along his body, had a broken front leg, and was starving. Many people passed him by, but one person stopped and took Amber to a local shelter. Amber was then transferred to HSFC, because the shelter knew medical treatment for Amber would be expensive. HSFC was able to rehabilitate Amber, and he has since been adopted by a staff member. However, without HSFC, Amber would not have had the proper medical treatment and would have died.
Since 1965, HSFC has been helping dogs, and other animals, like Amber. Their mission is to help rescue and protect animals from bad situations, including abandonment and abuse. They do this through educating the public, rescuing animals, organizing adoptions, and the support of the community, either through donations or volunteering. HSFC helps all animals except snakes and other reptiles because they do not have the adequate facilities.
Lynch, who has worked at HSFC for 30 years, understands the importance of the community’s support. “We have a very generous community… We have a 36-acre farm in Centerville where the dogs and horses are. So that takes a lot of funding to maintain, and we have a thrift store where the public donated items when they clean out their closets… We have volunteers that come in each day to play with the pets. We also maintain a pet food pantry and we service about 150 families in the local area that are on a government program… they just can't afford to buy the food for their pets. Instead of having them give up the pets, we provide them food, so they are able to keep their pets in their home because we understand the loving bond between animals and people. We don't want to break that.”
Although HSFC is known within the local community, Lynch believes there is room for improvement. Like any other rescue, HSFC needs awareness and support for its mission within Fairfax County and throughout Virginia. Lynch says the local government, including the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff, are very supportive and love to visit the animals at HSFC when they can. However, she says HSFC is trying to increase its presence, especially through social media.
“I think we have to improve and make it easier to talk to us… We've used technology to make online applications, we have all of our pets posted, we are spending hours on expanding our foster program. I think that any way that we can better serve the community and get that right pet in homes, we're going to look to do. So, using technology,” Lynch said.
Lynch understands HSFC would not be possible without the support of the community. “If it wasn't for our generous supporters, volunteers, people who shop in the store, and give to us online, we couldn't help the Ambers of the world.” You can support HSFC at https://hsfc.org/ or on Facebook at Humane Society of Fairfax County.