The Virginia Dog Magazine recently featured the work of the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA in it latest issue. At the end of this article, I stated that “I do not see why Virginia cannot become a No Kill state.” Since that time some people have asked me whether I was serious and did I really see that as a possibility. And the Answer is: Unequivocally Yes!!!
How can I make such a claim? Well let’s look at the facts.
The “Save Rate” for the Commonwealth of Virginia is currently at 61% (meaning 39% are euthanized). (see footnote* below for how this rate is computed).
Typically a good benchmark of a No Kill community** is a 90% save rate (This is because some animals have medical issues or serious behavior issues that warrant euthanasia. Sometimes depending on circumstances 88% may be No Kill or communities may achieve an even higher save rate, say 93% , but again 90% is a good benchmark).
Seven communities in Virginia are already No Kill or very close to becoming No Kill. This diverse group of communities is currently saving greater than 80% of the animals in their Virginia communities, some close to or greater than 90%.
Charlottesville-Albemarle, Virginia — has been saving approximately 90% of the animals and has been No Kill since 2006.
Orange County, VA – This county is a diamond in the ruff. Seldom receiving the accolades that they deserve, Orange County, VA has had a five-year average save rate of 87%.
Lynchburg, VA — The Lynchburg Humane Society (like Charlottesville, Fluvanna and Arlington) contracts as the “pound” and is responsible for all the animals in the community. Last year the Lynchburg community saved 86% of the animals. Since that time, Lynchburg has achieved No Kill every month in 2011 and expects to end the year achieving No Kill.
Fluvanna County, VA — Another SPCA serving as the pound ended 2010 with a 92% save rate. Just a small under-funded organization doing the best with what they have to save animals in their community. Stand proud Fluvanna.
Nelson County, VA — In 2010, the Nelson County SPCA and the Nelson County Animal Shelter worked together to save 87% of the animals in their community. Way to go Nelson County!
Richmond, VA has been very close to achieving No Kill for several years and ended 2010 with an 85% save rate. The Richmond SPCA and Richmond Animal Care and Control are model organizations with their partnership working together to achieving Richmond’s No Kill goal.
Arlington, VA ended 2010 with a 78% percent save rate. Since then Arlington has substantially improved their save rate and has a goal to save all the animals.
So Virginia we are well on our way to being a No Kill state. Seven communities are leading the charge. What a great start! As I said in the Virginia Dog article, the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA does not want to be special, instead we want saving animals to become the norm. Because it is not about accolades, an organization or a person, it is not about egos. It is about the animals.
Which communities will join this list next? Because we can do this — we have to do this — for the sake of the animals in our great Commonwealth.
To learn more about how your community is doing track the combined performance of all organizations in your community at the Virginia Department of Agriculture site.
*This save rate percentage is computed by looking at the total number of animals taken in by all Virginia organizations, and subtracting out the number euthanized — the rest are viewed as saved. (We have tried not to make this complicated, and we can debate minor details, but let’s not. This is a good benchmark of where we are as a state.)
*We use the term “community”, and not organization, because some communities have several organizations. One organization may be No Kill and limited admission, while another organization serves as an open-admission facility (where all strays go) and may have a high euthanasia rate. Some communities have only one open-admission organization. A No Kill Community looks at the performance of all animal welfare organizations in the community and combines their results to determine whether they have achieved No Kill.