director of DVHS named ‘Unsung Hero’ | Local news

According to Arm & Hammer, Erin Insinga, director of the Delaware Valley Humane Society, is the cat’s meow.

The New Jersey-based company announced in a December 8 press release that Insinga is one of its unsung heroes, named through its Feline Generous program. The statement said Insinga was one of three heroes named, out of nearly 4,500 nominations, representing “thousands of staff and volunteers at cat shelters across the country who go above and beyond to care. perfectly unclean cats … from the US Virgin Islands to Alaska. The campaign, according to the statement, ran from October 29 to November 20, with recipients chosen by a panel of judges.

Insinga won the program’s Compassion Award, bringing Sidney’s shelter $ 7,500 and Insinga a year-long supply of cat litter, which she said she plans to donate to area pantries. Insinga, in her seventh year at the shelter, said she learned of the recognition via email earlier this month. Insinga received particular recognition, the statement said, for rescuing 91 cats in an abandoned trailer in April and rehabilitating Joe, a paralyzed cat brought to the shelter and relearned to walk by Insinga and her volunteers.

“At first I thought it was a scam; it was such a huge monetary reward so i had to dig to make sure it was legit then when i realized they weren’t pulling my chain i was so surprised i got it ”Insinga said. “I was so excited.”

Although Insinga describes herself as “not a feline person per se,” she said advocating for feline rights is a critical part of rescue work.

“I save and help a lot of cats so it’s a huge part of my job,” she said. “I probably save and help more cats than any other animal; I make a lot of dogs, farm animals, and pets … but cats are really what needs the most help because they have so few laws to protect them. Where agriculture and market laws are written for dogs and there are chapters and chapters for farm animals, cats are simply not protected nationally or locally, so they are put off. side and, unfortunately, they are the ones who need most of the protection. They reproduce very quickly and depend heavily on us for protection from the elements and food, so they are underserved by the animal world.

The shelter at 101 East Main St., Insinga said, still faces the aftermath of the rescue of 91 cats.

“It started with a pregnant cat, where I think someone wants to care so much,” she said. “Their intentions were good and the cats were incredibly well socialized – some of the friendliest I have ever seen in 15 years of rescuing – so they weren’t emotionally neglected, but they were physically neglected and had lifelong problems. ‘they will have to cope. Some have chronic upper respiratory infections and missing eyes… so it’s like the island of misfit cats here. I have plenty of 91 left, at least 20… and there was no criminal charges there, where if it were dogs it would have been treated differently. So that’s a perfect example of why animal shelters are so important, because we step in when the law fails to do justice to animals like this.

And Joe, she said, leads a healthy lifestyle as an unofficial employee of the Sidney McDowell & Walker store.

Insinga said the monetary component of the price was “very impactful.” The shelter, she said, welcomes five to eight cats per week, not counting litters of kittens, for an average of around 500 cats per year. At the time of the interview, Insinga said, DVHS was home to 71 cats and three dogs.

“It really takes the weight off,” she said. “We pay $ 75 per cat to be spayed at our low cost clinic through Animal Care Sanctuary and we spay our male cats here, so a lot of that money will go towards spaying the cats as it’s a huge budget obligation.” . And we have to buy our own medical supplies – the (the rest of the) 91 cats in particular go through a ton of amoxicillin and ear cleaners just to alleviate the problems they have – and vaccines. We have to vaccinate every animal here and… the IVF and leukemia tests alone cost $ 35 per cat, so when we have hundreds of cats a year, that money is going to help us get through at least two years.

The award also has personal significance, Insinga said, as her mother and fellow lifeguard Diane Troxell was her nominator. Troxell, a former animal cruelty investigator, heads the regional nonprofit All Animals Matter.

“When I found out she nominated me, I almost felt that sense of guilt… because I wish I had nominated her,” she said. “I wouldn’t be who I am without the advice she gave me, and I am the lifeguard that I am thanks to my mother.”

For more information on the Arm & Hammer program, visit