Our Blog

Message from our CEO about protecting animals and people during the COVID-19 outbreak

Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Man in running clothes sitting on the sidewalk, head lowered to touch foreheads with a tan and black dog
Photo courtesy of Pete Maxwell

As we navigate the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation, we remain steadfast in our commitment to 1) protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, pets and the community, 2) provide continuity of care to the animals who need us, and 3) prevent a crisis for animals from forming as a result of this pandemic.

I am inspired by our team’s courage and commitment as they fulfill our lifesaving mission with immense integrity, and I am grateful to our community for its supportive and encouraging words during such an uncertain time for so many people. We feel your love surround us as we do everything we can to be there for the animals who so desperately need us while keeping people safe.

What we are doing to protect animals

We continue to provide the programs and services most crucial to the well being of our community’s companion animals as well as those in our care, and we are committed to providing these essential resources as long as it is safe for us to do so. We are transferring pets to our humane center from government shelters where their lives are at risk, and we are taking into our care emergency owner surrenders. We are providing adoptions by appointment, foster services, and medical treatment and rehabilitation as well as enrichment and training to homeless pets in our shelter. We are operating our free behavior helpline and seeing appointments for sick and injured patients in our Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital.

What we are doing to protect people

We are carefully following guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control as well as the Virginia Department of Health and limiting traffic to our humane center and hospital. We have suspended all public training and children’s programming; we are rescheduling wellness appointments in our hospital; we have suspended the overwhelming majority of volunteer jobs; and we have transitioned to a system of adoptions by appointment only. Every department is disinfecting shared spaces and surfaces throughout the day. Our team is teleworking where possible. We created a public health emergency paid leave policy for our staff.

How you can help

Many people have asked how they can support our lifesaving work during this public health emergency. Here is a list of some of the ways you can help.

Foster a pet

We are creating an on-call emergency foster list. Healthy households able to foster medium and large dogs are still needed to sign our on-call foster pledge.


View dogs and cats available for adoption. To schedule an appointment for adoption, please call 804-521-1307 or email us. We are scheduling a limited number of appointments each day and at any one time. We are practicing social distancing.

Include your pets in your planning

As you develop your own personal emergency plan for COVID-19, it is vital to include planning for your pets.


If you are in a position to contribute during this time of crisis, we thank you. As we work to deliver essential services to pets and people throughout our community, your gifts of love keep us going.

We ask that you please do not drop off donated items to our humane center at this time. While we are incredibly grateful for your thoughtfulness, we must request that you hold on to items you wish to donate until a later time.

Please check our website for new information and details related to our planning and related operational changes, as that is where we will be posting updates. This is a fluid situation, and we are planning thoughtfully while also being nimble to make changes as necessary to best protect our community’s pets and the people who love them.

Thank you from the bottom of our two- and four-legged hearts for your support during this unprecedented situation. Together we will continue to be the safety net for animals.

Tamsen Kingry and Maggie (dog)
Tamsen with her dog Sugar Magnolia (Maggie, for short)

As the CEO of the Richmond SPCA, Tamsen Kingry oversees the development of our organization’s short- and long-term strategies to achieve maximum lifesaving and fulfill with integrity the Richmond SPCA’s mission.

When she’s not busy working alongside our talented and dedicated staff, Board and volunteers, Tamsen enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, as well as their two cats and a dog—all of whom they adopted from the Richmond SPCA.

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