An advocate for the animals

Published 9:44 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

With the announcement that its first executive director will relinquish her position at the end of the year, the Suffolk Humane Society is getting ready for a new phase in its mission to protect animals in the city.

Angie Chandler has led the organization as it grew from 15 people who were shocked by the high rates of euthanasia for dogs and cats in Suffolk to more than 300 members who are committed to a multi-faceted approach toward finding homes for domestic animals in the city.

After two years of what amounts to a full-time volunteer job on top of a demanding job teaching business management, Chandler has earned the break that she’ll get in January.

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She and her board have a long list of accomplishments to show for all their hard work since the core group first met at Suffolk Animal Control to discuss how they could intervene on behalf of Suffolk’s unwanted animals.

They have sponsored visits from the Virginia Beach Neuter Scooter to help reduce the number of unwanted, surprise pets. Those efforts, in conjunction with Suffolk Animal Control, have led to more than 1,300 animals being spayed or neutered during the period. They started an adoption program for cats at the Chesapeake PetSmart. They participated in about 100 different events to spread the word about the organization. And they held their first Mutt Strut to highlight successful adoptions across the city.

Domestic animals enrich the lives of those they love. Sadly, though, many face hard, lonely lives because they are unwanted and unloved. In its effort to reduce the number of dogs and cats facing such a fate, the Suffolk Humane Society has done admirable work. To the extent that her leadership helped bring that work to fruition, Chandler should be commended.