RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond Animal Care and Control started the year with recognition from the mayor for their above average save rate —one of the highest in the nation — and the city shelter closed out 2017 with the rescue of Penelope, who was found freezing and badly injured from multiple bite wounds.
When the pit bull terrier mix was rescued, RACC was unsure if her eyes were salvageable. Two weeks later, Penelope was put up for adoption.
The organization said that in 2017, for the first time in its history, there was enough funding for every life-saving surgery needed by the animals in their care.
That amounts to over $115,000 worth of medical care, for dogs and cats.
Last year, RACC was only able to help 68% of the animals that were brought to them.
“Neglect, we see animals that are injured, animals hit by a car, thanks to this foundation we were able to cover the emergency care of any animal in need in the city," said Robin Young, RACC outreach coordinator.
“Because of you we funded 71 medical repair surgeries, 7 trips to the neurologist, 11 surgeries/treatments at the animal eye center, 32 heartworm treatments, 2 trips to the cardiologist and one to a dermatologist,” the agency wrote on Facebook. “Your ongoing support through donations, social media sharing and word-of-mouth has enabled the Foundation to reach new levels in its support of RACC this past year.”
They also funded over 1,300 hours of on-site behavioral training and assessment services, to help make sure that each of the dogs and cats in RACC’s care found the right home.
“Penelope was definitely was a critical case when we found her," Young said. "She was definitely a case where she needed care and she needed it right away. There wasn’t time to wait on another private shelter to come in.”
While RACC is thrilled to reach this milestone in 2017, Young said they will still need support in 2018.
“It's a continual need, everyday; we don’t know whats going to come through our doors." she said. "So 2017 was a great year but… we always need donations to keep this going.”
Mayor applauds 89-percent save rate at Richmond Animal Care
The open admission government shelter takes in every single animal in need, and despite the obstacles – like a higher amount of aggressive dogs in an urban environment – and despite fiscal realities, RACC has increased its save rate and adoption numbers significantly since 2013.
The save rate is the percentage between the number of animals that came to the shelter versus the ones that left alive.
“The average across the country is between 50 and 60 percent and that just shows that you guys have gone above and beyond,” Mayor Stoney said in Jan. 2017. “Our officers, our techs, our volunteers-- all of you have done an amazing job.”
In 2016, the shelter took in and cared for 3,253 animals.
The save rate has increased in three years from 64 to 89 percent and adoption numbers have more than doubled under Director Christie Chipps-Peters.
She attributed the success, in part, to a robust foster program and to the Richmond Animal Welfare Foundation, which paid for the treatment of 393 animals in 2016.
“We have the public that steps up and says I will take this animal home to keep it from being euthanized,” she said.
“We have a foundation that supports our medical care and that is a key component to why we can save so many animals,” Chipps Peter continued. “Donations to our foundation are genuinely a lifesaving gift.”
“Funding, that is the thing that we need the most,” she added.