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Richmond SPCA

Humane Center

2519 Hermitage Road
Richmond, VA 23220

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Susan M. Markel
Veterinary Hospital

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

Admissions Hours
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Administrative Hours
Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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Charity Navigator: Four Star Charity

April 2010

“Against logic, there is no armor like ignorance.” Laurence Peter, the author of The Peter Principle.

For a very long time, we have been trying to discuss with the City administration and, more recently, with the members of City Council, the many good reasons why Richmond Animal Care and Control would function best for the people and animals of this city if it were a part of the Police Department. The City administration opposes this outcome and wants it to be placed in the Department of Public Works whose other functions include picking up the garbage and cleaning the streets. They have offered no rational reasons for why this is their position. Their couple of attempts at stating reasons for their position have made no sense and only reflected their lack of knowledge of what RACC actually does.

We are not the only ones who say that RACC should be a part of the Police Department. The most recent report of the Virginian State Crime Commission contains a section on animal control divisions and says that it is crucial that they be recognized to be law enforcement and public safety agencies and treated as such. That report points out that the problems that have arisen around the state with animal control agencies have all stemmed from the failure of localities to recognize their law enforcement nature and act accordingly.

For the past few years, RACC has been a part of the Department of General Services where it has been treated with hostility and neglect. That department caused the staffing of RACC to decline dramatically resulting in its inability to respond to citizen calls in need. General Services is now being abolished and this is the moment to place RACC where it will be supported and well supervised. That will happen in the Police Department and not in Public Works which has no synergies with RACC and is already overwhelmed with more than it can do.

There are a number of the members of City Council who have been highly supportive of our view and have spent the time and focus to understand this issue thoroughly. There is also, however, a palpable atmosphere within the government of our City that discourages any expression of dissent or alternate viewpoints from than those professed by the City administration.

We have a right to expect that our City leaders will demand to hear, and will consider seriously, concrete and compelling evidence of the pros and cons before reaching conclusions about how to manage our city. It is also fair for us to expect that, when citizens present solid evidence of why one approach would be likely to produce the best results, the City administration would be required to produce substantial countervailing evidence in order to insist on a different approach.

So far, every time this issue has come before Council, the decision has been delayed until a future date. We believe that the matter will be decided at the Council meeting April 26 at 6:00 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall. The animals greatly need you to come to that meeting and speak for their interests by making clear to our City Council members that RACC needs to be placed in the Police Department. It will make an enormous difference for the prospects for homeless animals and for the welfare of the people in our City for the future. Please put it on your calendar and come join us.


Robin Robertson Starr
Chief Executive Officer
Richmond SPCA

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