Richmond SPCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescue, care, adoption, training, and education of animals. It was founded in 1891 and has recently celebrated the 125th anniversary of protection and advocacy of community’s animals. The organization is currently situated in Richmond, Virginia. While it is not affiliated with private animal welfare organizations, Richmond SPCA closely collaborates with municipal organizations in order to ensure that all animals in need receive proper treatment and find a home. During the last several years, the organization displayed a steady growth in all performance indicators. In order to sustain growth, Richmond SPCA provides humane education to children in the community.
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The mission of Richmond SPCA is to promote the principle that every life is precious (Richmond SPCA, n.d.a). In order to safeguard its mission, the organization runs several services, all of which aim at promoting the value of life and enhance the well-being of animals.
Despite the steady increase in a number of cases, the veterinary service of the organization displayed an increase in successful instances of treatment: 28% for external parasites, 15% increase in respiratory infections, and 3# increase in internal parasites. Of the top ten conditions treated, only one saw a decrease in treatment (Starr, 2017). According to the survey, the population finds the services inexpensive and cost-effective (Richmond SPCA, n.d.b).
The organization ensures constant training for shelter pets. During the last year, animals received more than 2,500 hours of training by shelter staff and an additional 2,800 hours provided by volunteers (Starr, 2017). In addition, almost 90 classes are taught to the pet owners in what amounts to more than 11,000 hours of instructions. Such strategy strengthens the bonds with the animals and decreases the likelihood of later abandonment and submission to shelters (Starr, 2017).
Trap Neuter Return
A program run by the organization provides the opportunity to vaccinate and neuter community cats free of charge. In the last year, more than 1,000 stray animals were treated in this way (Starr, 2017). The free nature of the program has been shown to enhance voluntary participation and improve the stray animal situation (Levy, Isaza, & Scott, 2014).
The FY16 saw a dramatic increase in adoptions by the population – 3848 animals found their new home (Starr, 2017). This is roughly 200 more than the previous year’s number and is consistent with a steady trend demonstrated in the last five years. Despite the constant growth, Richmond SPCA reported the remained of more than 370 pets waiting for adoption, which indicates the need for further improvement (Starr, 2017).
To further engage the population, the organization promotes involvement through several channels.
The Running Buddies program encourages volunteers to take shelter dogs for a run as a part of the shelter animal training program. According to the report, more than 4,000 miles was run by the dogs in 2016 as a result of this program (Starr, 2017). The activity is expected to promote physical exercise and positively impact the community health.
Richmond SPCA organizes several children camps, including Dogs with Jobs camp, where the participants can witness demonstrations of dogs at service of community organizations such as Ems and Fire Department (Starr, 2017).
Birthday parties hosted at the shelter strengthen bonds with animals and promote humane values of the organization.
Bus tours and community visits organized by Richmond SPCA provide children with relevant information on the current situation with stray animals, highlight common misconceptions associated with the topic, and outline benefits of pet adoption.
The said activities are expected to raise awareness on stray animal issues among the younger generation and have a long-term effect of decreased animal abandonment rate (Tardif-Williams & Bosacki, 2015). At the current rate, we can expect an observable improvement in the nearby years.
“The Richmond SPCA, founded in 1891, is a non-profit, no-kill humane organization dedicated to the principle that every life is precious. The Richmond SPCA is a national leader in humane care and education, having developed numerous lifesaving programs and services including those dedicated to adoption, rehabilitation, sterilization and education” (Richmond SPCA, n.d.a, para. 1).
Levy, J. K., Isaza, N. M., & Scott, K. C. (2014). Effect of high-impact targeted trap-neuter-return and adoption of community cats on cat intake to a shelter. The Veterinary Journal, 201(3), 269-274.
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Richmond SPCA. (n.d.a). Frequently asked questions. Web.
Richmond SPCA. (n.d.b). Veterinary services FAQ. Web.
Starr, R. R. (2017). Fiscal year 2016 annual report. Web.
Tardif-Williams, C. Y., & Bosacki, S. L. (2015). Evaluating the impact of a humane education summer-camp program on school-aged children’s relationships with companion animals. Anthrozoös, 28(4), 587-600.