STREAM Career Connections – Lynchburg Humane Society

My name is Makena Yarbrough, and I’m the Executive Director of the Lynchburg Humane Society. As executive director my primary role is to make sure that the staff have the resources they need in order to do their job and that the organization is meeting the needs of the community and the goals set forth by the board of directors. The Lynchburg Humane Society’s primary job is to be a safe place for needy dogs and cats in our community. So we take in stray dogs and cats from the citizens and also from Animal Control officers. And we also help owners with their problems with their pets as well. And we sometimes take in small animals like gerbils and rabbits and guinea pigs. This building started under construction in 2013 and was finished in March of 2015 so a little over a year and a half. One of the most important things is that we keep the animals healthy and we do that by pumping air through our kennels in our animal areas six to seven times an hour. So our air handling system is very large and very extensive and that enables us to be able to keep the animals healthy and not get diseases that they can get when you have poor air handling. So we have to be able to clean frequently obviously to make sure the animals are in a healthy, clean environment. So the floors have to withstand quite a bit of chemicals and wear and tear. So those are the two major areas that we spend a lot of time focusing on. The great thing about cats is yes when they first arrive to our building they are put in a smaller cage and that gives us time to let them get acclimated or used to the environment and then when they go up for adoption many of them are placed in large rooms where they can cohabitate with another twenty cats and roam around and feel in a more home environment. And then dogs we will cohabitate, put together, in smaller groups like two dogs maybe three if they’re smaller . So we have fewer of them in those spaces. The one thing I’m most proud of in this building is the public areas when you first walk in that expansive feeling with the beams and the feeling that you get when you walk through the building for me it was very important to have an aesthetic or an appearance to make people want to come back. I’m most proud of the efforts that this community put forward to allow us to have this kind of building because it’s unheard of to have this size of a building in such a small community. The one biggest thing I would change for this building is I would have put more windows in for the dogs I probably would have built a few more group rooms for the cats. I mean I think those group rooms are really amazing and it really helps to keep them healthy and less stressed out at a shelter. Because shelters can be kind of scary to animals and that’s why we want them to be in homes. I would encourage if the students haven’t come to bring their parents we’re open every day. They can just come and hang out with the cats and kittens and puppies and dogs.

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