On May 5, I was honored to present PETA’s fourth annual Gregory J. Reiter Animal Rescue Award to Paulette Dean.
Paulette has served for 27 years as Executive Director of south central Virginia’s Danville Area Humane Society. During this period, Paulette and her organization’s shelter have admitted well over 100,000 animals. They have spayed or neutered tens of thousands of dogs and cats, and rescued thousands more from dangerous situations.
Early in her career, Paulette saw the inhumane treatment of dogs kept constantly on chains in her community, and she worked proactively over decades to pass a series of progressively stricter anti-tethering ordinances. For her work, Paulette was named 2010 Person of the Year by Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare, and she received formal commendation in the Virginia General Assembly. Today, Danville boasts one of the strictest anti-tethering ordinances in Virginia, serving as a model for other jurisdictions.
Paulette also co-founded the Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters, which supports open-access shelters and provides free training for shelter employees and animal control officers. She now serves as secretary on the Alliance executive committee.
Paulette has written in The News & Advance:
“At the end of the day, the question for me is, ‘Did I do what was in my power to do to help the animals?’ If the answer is a positive one, I can have a clear conscience. If the answer is a negative one, I resolve to do a better job the next day. Above all, I express my gratitude in prayer every day that I have been allowed to have a job that is more than a job. I am so thankful I have been able to spend these years with such wonderful creatures.”
The fourth annual Gregory J. Reiter Animal Rescue Award was presented as part of PETA’s Giving Animals a Future weekend at its headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, May 3-5, 2019. Ingrid Newkirk kicked off the award presentation, which was attended by several dozen PETA team members and supporters. Full story at “These Activists Will Inspire You to Do More for Animals” (PETA Prime, May 13).