pets' lives saved since becoming no-kill in
January 2002

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Richmond SPCA

Humane Center

2519 Hermitage Road
Richmond, VA 23220

Adoption Hours
Mon. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Lora Robins Gift Shop Hours
Mon. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Donation Drop Off Hours
Mon. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Susan M. Markel
Veterinary Hospital

Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admissions Hours
Mon. - Fri. by appointment.

Administrative Hours
Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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ceo purrspective

September 2004

Dear Fellow Animal Lover:

In the last several years, the Richmond SPCA has made remarkable strides in ensuring the well being of the homeless animals in Richmond and in radically reducing their loss of life. These accomplishments have been recognized in the national news media, most recently in a large article in USA Today. Nothing could make me more pleased and proud even though I know that we still have some very challenging work to do ahead of us.

We have ceased taking the life of any healthy or treatable animal in our care at our own facility and we have worked with the Richmond Animal Control to reduce the overall euthanasia rate for the entire city to 23% so far in 2004. This is the equivalent of the euthanasia rate in San Francisco, the city which has for years been recognized to be the safest city in the United States for homeless animals. Until we matched their success here, many naysayers said that it could not be done outside of San Francisco. Most recently, Tampa has adopted the model that has worked for both San Francisco and Richmond, and they too are now seeing a precipitous decline the number of deaths of homeless animals. There is great work still to be done in the counties surrounding Richmond but it is clear that we have put in place all the right tools to make this a no kill community. We know the formula for success!

We are visited weekly at the Richmond SPCA by organizations from around the country who want to learn how we did it and I speak on this subject at national conferences regularly. The formula is quite clear. You must have each of the following tools in place:

  1. A working partnership between the large private humane organization and the local animal control agency which ensures that each of them do their job cooperatively and do not replicate services and resources; i.e., neither tries to do the other’s job.
  2. A spay/neuter clinic (or more than one) that does a huge number of targeted surgeries on a very low cost or no cost basis. (Targeted surgeries are those aimed at the pets of low income owners and feral cats where most of the pet overpopulation problem arises.) It must do enough of them to ensure that 75% of the pet population gets fixed.
  3. An adoption center that is so welcoming and customer friendly that it convinces the community that the very best way to get a new pet is to adopt a shelter pet.
  4. A humane education program that teaches the citizens that they are all part of the solution and there is no substitute for their own individual responsibility.

Are these time consuming and expensive things to put in place? Yes, of course they are. But, it is no longer accurate to say that the intentional killing of tens of thousands of animals every year because we have too many of them cannot be helped – it can be stopped with the right resources put to the task and with people being willing to be responsible in their care of their pets. With those resources and sense of responsibility, a community may become no-kill within a relatively brief period of time.

Of course, that is really the point. It makes little difference for any single organization to claim to be no kill if the entire community has not made that leap. No kill, when used correctly, is a term that means that a community no longer uses killing homeless animals as its means of controlling their population numbers. It, of course, does not mean that there will not be any euthanasia of those animals who are too sick or injured to ever recover or those who are too vicious to become a pet. We are very close to being at no kill right now in the City of Richmond. We are about to begin working to put those same resources in place in the surrounding counties as well.

Starting this fall, we will begin a pledge to our community to do 9,000 spay/neuter surgeries a year for the next three years. One half of those will be targeted at pets of low income owners and ferals and all of those targeted surgeries will be done without charge. Why are we biting off such an enormous undertaking? Because it is the only way to end the taking of the lives of innocent and healthy or treatable orphaned animals in our community. Most humane organizations in this country only devote 8% of their resources to spay/neuter programs. And, yet, we all know that it is the answer to the problem. We have decided to break this mold – and to do what is really needed to change the prospects for homeless animals forever.

In order to do this, we will need your help in a couple of ways. First, we need you to help us convince people that not getting their pet fixed is irresponsible and letting them know that they may have their pet fixed at our clinic. If their family income is less than $30,000 a year or they qualify for Medicaid, we will even do it for free. Secondly, we need your help in encouraging people not to patronize breeders, pet stores or people who are breeding their own pet for money – ask them to come adopt a shelter pet instead. Lastly, the amount of targeted spay/ neuter services that we will be doing without charge is very costly to us. It is without a doubt the only way to end the killing of homeless animals but we need your contributions to our spay/neuter fundraising campaign to make this important work possible. Please give as much as you can to help us do this crucial work.

Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read what I write and for caring about the animals who need you so desperately.


Robin Robertson Starr
Chief Executive Officer