Our History

In 1974, Sherri Delaney and Anne Tracey, led a group of volunteers to improve the quality of life and adoption prospects for the dogs that were housed at the Danbury pound. DAWS’ mission was soon expanded to provide care and adoption opportunities for stray and feral cats that were struggling for survival in the area.

Initially, DAWS volunteers placed needy cats and kittens in foster homes or boarded them at local veterinary offices. In 1993, DAWS was recognized for it’s life-saving work and community services when a private foundation awarded the organization funds toward the purchase of our current physical shelter at 147 Grassy Plain Street in Bethel, Connecticut. This grant was a milestone for our organization allowing our rescue, rehabilitation, adoption and community service operations to be housed under one roof.

In 2004 DAWS created an on-site clinic that has allowed us to provide our cats and dogs with basic medical care and perform onsite sterilization procedures, lowering our per-animal cost of veterinary care. Our clinic has also allowed us to offer low-cost spay/neuter opportunities to the public and grow our Trap Neuter and Return (TNR) Program.

Pursuant to its Vision Statement, adopted in 2008, DAWS developed a ten-year plan culminating in the opening of a new facility capable of supporting increased rescues, adoptions and humane education and by allowing us to share our knowledge and resources with other animal welfare rescues and agencies.