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Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2021

Our Annual Report for the Richmond SPCA’s most recent fiscal year, which ended September 30, 2021

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Dearest Friends,

With your wonderful help during our last fiscal year, the Richmond SPCA came to the rescue of thousands of pets and aided the people who love them while continuing to confront the complicated challenges of the ongoing pandemic. Since the public health crisis first started, our dedicated and hardworking team of professionals has turned challenges into opportunities to effectively deliver our mission. And they have done so with your constant encouragement and generous support, for which we are deeply grateful.

When this fiscal year began, we were still providing phone-based counseling and adoptions by appointment and delivering many services curbside. This spring we welcomed in-person visitors back to our humane center and clients to again join their pets in the exam rooms of our Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital. Spaces quickly filled when we invited Critter Campers to return to our center over the summer for week-long programming with our humane education staff. New partnerships were formed when we were called upon to assist with rescue efforts in places hit by natural disaster, such as Hurricane Ida.

CEO Tamsen Kingry was among more than 70 participants who each raised in excess of $1,000 for homeless animals to go Over The Edge of 600 Canal Place in August.

Enthusiasm for events supporting our mission has never faltered. In March we held a reimagined Dog Jog and 5K Run with remote and in-person options that brought people and dogs to Deep Run Park while also letting them participate in London, Atlanta and Baton Rouge. Our newest event, delayed from 2020, invited fundraisers to go Over The Edge of the Dominion Energy building, rappelling 414 feet to help homeless pets. Though not part of the fiscal year reported here, our signature Fur Ball gala returned to The Jefferson Hotel in November, preparing for our New Year with Cinderella Fund resources to treat each sick, injured and neonatal pet we bring into our care.

Thank you for making possible the lifesaving results we report below in our 2020-2021 Annual Report. The loving community that surrounds our pets is what guarantees the best outcomes, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your steadfast support. 

Lives Saved

Our 2021 Fiscal Year began on October 1, 2020 with 421 animals in our care. During the course of the year, we brought in an additional 3,428 homeless pets in need, caring for a total of 3,849 pets at our humane center by the fiscal year’s end on September 30, 2021. We concluded FY21 with 279 pets in our care awaiting adoption in the year ahead.

*Service in refers to pets admitted as part of our Project Safety Net programs, who are reunited with their families after receiving services.

See pets transferred from each partner agency by clicking a point on the map.

The pets we transferred into our care this year came from 69 partner shelters. Our partners are primarily municipal shelters, operated by city and county governments with limited resources. Within the Commonwealth of Virginia, we partnered with 54 sheltering organizations during the fiscal year, and we took into our care pets from an additional 15 shelters in other states as well as the territory of Puerto Rico.

From the time pets arrive at our humane center, our animal care technicians are here for them. These are the devoted staff who ensure that cozy beds and toys greet every pet when he or she is shown to his or her kennel. Throughout a pet’s stay, our animal care team is providing walks, scooping litter boxes, keeping all animal housing areas clean and comfortable, and monitoring the pets’ eating and overall condition.

Every homeless pet arriving at our humane center receives the same thorough examination by our veterinarians as well as all age-appropriate vaccinations and other essential preventative care, microchipping and sterilization (for those who were not yet spayed or neutered when brought into our care).

The majority of pets in our care are treated entirely in house, including surgeries performed at our Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital. The top conditions diagnosed and treated by our Shelter Pet Veterinary Services team are represented in the graphic below.

FY21 Shelter Pet Diagnosis chart

Foster care volunteers take pets into their own homes, providing dedicated care and attention and expanding our capacity to save lives beyond the walls of our facility. By moving our Meet the Fosters orientation online, more volunteers have signed up, completed training and welcomed foster pets into their homes.

Every precious life we save is special to us, though some animals take an even larger piece of our hearts with them when we send them home. During this fiscal year, we united 123 pets age 5 or older with adopters age 60 or older through our Seniors for Seniors program. We adopted 76 pets to members of the military and first responders. Cats who are positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and/or Feline Leukemia virus made up 75 adoptions.

Programs & Services

The mission of our Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital is to ensure that families of all means have access to treatment options they can afford for their canine and feline companions. As an expansion of the Richmond SPCA’s pet-retention services, the Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital helps pets stay with their families while enjoying a greater quality of life. 

Fees for services at the Richmond SPCA’s Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital are structured to make veterinary treatment affordable for our patients’ guardians. However, in some cases, even our very low fees are more than some under-resourced pet guardians can financially afford.

This year we established The Carol B. Burlage Animal Welfare Legacy Fund, which will provide ongoing support to our spay and neuter efforts and to the delivery of other crucial services through our veterinary hospital.

Compassionate management of community cat populations through Trap-Neuter-Return, a program through which colonies of cats are humanely trapped for the purpose of having them sterilized and vaccinated against rabies, is vital to creating and sustaining a no-kill community. The Richmond SPCA is the area’s largest provider of free sterilization surgeries and rabies vaccinations for community cats. We also provide rabies booster shots for community cats at no charge to the caretakers.

Humane Education at the Richmond SPCA includes programs for both children and adults that instill compassion, kindness and empathy for both humans and animals, develop character and promote responsible care for all creatures.

Recognizing behavior issues as the number one cause of pet relinquishment, the Richmond SPCA has developed programs that encourage guardians to resolve their pets’ behavior challenges in order to keep those pets in their homes. Free consultations by phone and email are available to our adopters and all area pet guardians. While spending more time at home with their pets, many people became more aware of behavior concerns and sought our trainers’ assistance.

Our reward-based training classes are designed around the science of animal behavior and learning theory to build strong bonds between people and animals. Training at the Richmond SPCA is fun and rewarding for dogs and their handlers alike. 

Five days a week, students are dropped off at the Richmond SPCA School for Dogs for individualized instruction with our trainers. All training uses positive reinforcement, meaning our students love coming to school!


Pet guardians feeling the impact of job loss, housing insecurity and other stressors turn to our Project Safety Net. We serve the community through a multitude of programs that distribute pet food, Shelter Animals of Abused Families (SAAF) and assist guardians with finding new homes for pets they cannot keep.

Volunteers are an important part of every service the Richmond SPCA provides to the community, and we were glad to be able to resume much of our normal activity and shift scheduling this year. Our management team reimagined what volunteering would look like during a pandemic as we invited more volunteers back to our humane center and relaunched our onboarding process with a more personalized approach for new volunteers.

Many of our volunteer activities focus on providing enrichment to the pets we shelter, which is shown to reduce stress, improve physical health and help animals to get adopted more quickly. Blue Team members provide essential physical and mental exercise to the cats in our care and teach the cats behaviors that help prepare them for adoption. 

Green Team members are trained in using positive reinforcement to teach the dogs in our care skills that will help them find lasting homes. They also provide physical exercise, mental stimulation and occasional field trips to explore local parks.

Our most energetic dogs’ best friends are the Running Buddies. These volunteers ensure homeless dogs in our care have the exercise they crave while waiting to find permanent, loving homes. Running Buddies runs are scheduled several times each week and follow a 5K course through the neighborhoods surrounding our humane center.

Finances & Human Resources

Our remarkable staff continued to deliver our crucial mission throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 95 percent of our workforce is fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, we provide paid emergency sick leave to both full- and part-time staff, we have never furloughed any employee during the pandemic, and we have had no spread of COVID-19 inside the workplace.

Additional Financial & Lifesaving Data

  • View our Form 990 and Form 990-T from our most recently filed year.
  • All Virginia releasing agencies submit annual statistics to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). View our annual public reports on their website by selecting which year you would like to review, choosing Individual Agency Report and then selecting Richmond SPCA.
  • Data Saves Lives: Virginia’s animal shelter reporting requirements are a leading example of the transparency data can provide to facilitate lifesaving. The Petco Foundation has created this tool to illustrate 14 years of data from shelters in our state.

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