Hattiesburg animal advocate honored by Humane Society of the U.S.

Hattiesburg animal advocate honored by Humane Society of the U.S.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg woman has made a difference in more than 30 dogs' lives when they were in desperate need during the holidays.

And now The Humane Society of the United States' Puppy Mills Campaign is awarding her with an Advocates We Love Award for her commitment to rescuing and caring for animals, according to a press release from the Humane Society of the United States.

Virginia Cheatham, shelter manager of the Hub City Humane Society, was notified in December 2015 that a puppy mill operator had moved away and abandoned more than 30 dogs. According to the press release, the dogs had a variety of health issues. Cheatham immediately took action and brought the animals to safety at her shelter.

"Virginia has been a gem here in South Mississippi," said Lydia Sattler, HSUS' state director, in a press release. "She really stepped up to the plate to rescue more than 30 dogs from a puppy mill just before the holidays. This isn't her first time either. Whenever she hears of a problem, she drops everything to make sure she is available to get the dogs out of a bad situation."

Another one of her coworkers, Sarah said that Cheatham has a lifelong commitment to saving and caring for animals.

"With her 17 years as a shelter director, she has rescued, fostered and changed the lives of so many animals," Sarah said in the press release. "Virginia has been involved in many seizures involving cats, dogs, wildlife and livestock throughout her 17-year career. Many of these seizures were puppy mill cases. She has opened her home to many mill dogs as a temporary home."

Sarah said that when Cheatham met a 13-year-old blind Yorkie mix named Lola, the dog became a permanent resident in her home.

Lola came from a puppy mill seizure that Cheatham helped with about three years ago, according to the press release.

"Virginia took her home and she never left," Sarah said in the press release. "Lola currently accompanies Virginia every day at Hub City Humane Society and is loved by so many."

According to the press release, the annual Advocates We Love Award is given to 14 puppy mill advocates across the nation. Cheatham was one of the recipients because she demonstrated unique skills and expertise to take action with issues related to puppy mills.