CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – Days before Christmas, the Richmond Animal League's (RAL) shelter is empty thanks to the success of their seventh annual “Operation Silent Night.”
Since the start of this year's program on December 8, RAL officials have been working to clear out the shelter in time for Christmas.
That mission was accomplished as more than 190 pets were either adopted by a forever family or are currently being fostered.
Friday night, in a special luminary ceremony, RAL celebrated the achievement of that goal by filling up the shelter with light and love.
“By having a large adoption event and clearing out the shelter and filling back up, we're able to save more and more lives,” said Elizabeth Thomas, Interim Executive Director of RAL. “Tonight, is just really special because we're able to celebrate what an empty shelter looks like and one day hope that we will see empty shelters everywhere that we can celebrate.”
The more than 200 luminaries used were all purchased by the community in honor of pets, loved ones and RAL staff.
While the shelter is empty now, it won’t last long. There will be new arrivals on December 26.
“We open the shelter back up, we travel to our animal control partners, we fill our transport vans and we fill the shelter back up. So, what is empty now, will be full again on the 26th,” said Thomas.
Over the course of 2017, more than 2100 pets have found forever homes after being adopted at RAL.