Our Annual Report for the Richmond SPCA’s most recent fiscal year, which ended September 30, 2019
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Dear Friends and Supporters,
As you read our 2018-2019 Annual Report, I hope it makes you proud—proud of the enormous lifesaving that your generous support made possible for animals in desperate need.
Thanks to your kindness and compassion coupled with the fine work of our innovative staff and dedicated volunteers, the Richmond SPCA, in our fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2019, came to the rescue of thousands of at-risk pets and delivered dozens of crucial programs and services with a goal of helping pets and the people who love them thrive.
We are our community’s safety net for vulnerable animals—advocating strongly for their protection, providing essential programs of pet retention as well as education and training, forming partnerships with shelters to increase live releases, rehabilitating animals who are sick or injured or too young to survive without around-the-clock care, adopting companions to lasting, loving homes, and so much more.
This report summarizes our collective achievements, which reflect our shared commitment to our guiding principle that every life is precious. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your contributions, which made the successes detailed below possible for the animals who needed us.
Chief Executive Officer
Our 2019 Fiscal Year began on October 1, 2018 with 328 animals in our care. During the course of the year, we brought in an additional 3,763 homeless pets in need, caring for a total of 4,091 pets at our humane center by the fiscal year’s end on September 30, 2019.
The pets we transferred into our care this year came from 65 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 50 other 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.
The devastation of Hurricane Maria’s 2018 landfall in Puerto Rico led to new relationships with agencies assisting animals in this U.S. territory. Recovery from the storm’s damage has been slow, and our partnerships are ongoing to rescue dogs and cats who will have better prospects for lasting homes on the U.S. mainland. Transfer flights during the fiscal year were largely funded by a Facebook fundraiser inspired by Emerson Iwashyna, a 12-year-old boy who visited the island with his family and was moved to help the cats he saw living on the streets of Old San Juan.
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 above.
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.
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, our “Graduate” program to promote the adoption of pets who have been in our care for 30 days or more resulted in 221 wonderful placements. Our Seniors for Seniors program united 86 pets age 5 or older with adopters age 60 or older. Adoptions to members of the military and first responders increased to 40 from 14 in the prior fiscal year.
We concluded our 2019 Fiscal Year with 252 pets in our care awaiting adoption in the year ahead.
The Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital is a full-service veterinary facility providing high-quality care at a low-cost for pets of income-qualified families in the Greater Richmond region. Our mission 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.
We waived $80,300 in fees for the provision of essential services to 1,967 pets of 1,102 guardians who were otherwise unable to provide treatment, thereby saving pets’ lives, improving their quality of life and keeping them in their loving homes.
Grant funding from the following generous foundations allowed us to waive fees for our most vulnerable patients:
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.
Our reward-based training classes are designed around theories 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!
Volunteers are an important part of every service the Richmond SPCA provides to the community, and the opportunities to serve are numerous and varied. Our volunteer management team provides training and oversight to incredible individuals and groups from all over the Richmond Metro area who desire to give back by donating their time and talents in support of our mission.
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.
We added a new pet visitation program in FY19. Paws for Reading joined Paws for Health® and Paws for Paramedics. In its inaugural year, the program was sponsored by Publix Super Markets Charities.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Six dogs have their day at Fox Elementary School in Richmond
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