RICHMOND, Va. – “We are blowing things out of the water,” said Christie Chipps-Peters, Director at Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC), as several felines peered out from behind her.
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.
“So that’s whether it’s a dog that was hit by a car or a dog that has attacked someone, we are responsible for making sure that animal comes to the shelter,” Chipps-Peter explained.
The save rate is the percentage between the number of animals that came to the shelter versus the ones that left alive.
On Wednesday, Richmond City Mayor visited the shelter to celebrate their 89 percent save rate, and encouraged them to continue their success.
“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. “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 the direction of 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.