[NOTE: The Worth Watching category lists communities whose animal shelter systems are doing substantially better than average, but have not reported a sustained (for one year or more) 90%+ live release rate. These communities are not counted in the running total in the blog's subtitle. For more about the Worth Watching category, see the Worth Watching page link in the blog's header.]
Rappahannock County, Virginia, borders the Shenandoah mountains west of Washington, DC. It is a rural county with 7400 residents.
The county provides animal control and owns the animal shelter building, but contracts out operations to the Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL), a private non-profit. RAWL describes the arrangement as follows: “Within the delegation of responsibilities, Rappahannock County employs the animal control warden, provides and maintains an accessible kennel and office on county property, and pays RAWL a fee to operate the facility. From that point, RAWL assumes the balance of the responsibilities: staffing, management, daily care, supplies, veterinary trips, innoculations, arranging the reclaim of lost animals and coordinating adoptions.“
RAWL takes in dogs only. In addition to the dogs impounded by animal control, it accepts owner surrendered dogs subject to a waiting list. If the owner is a resident of Rappahannock County and cannot wait, RAWL will take in the dog immediately.
Rappahannock’s animal control, which is part of the sheriff’s department, does not pick up cats unless they are sick or injured. They treat the sick and injured cats and try to re-home them. A private rescue, RappCats, accepts owner surrendered cats subject to a waiting list when they are full. I spoke to a representative of RappCats, who told me that they have a small shelter for cats. They work with people to help keep cats in their homes or colonies.
In 2012, RAWL took in 253 dogs and had a live release rate of 96%. I’m listing the county as Worth Watching instead of as a 90% community, though, because it does not appear that full statistics are available for cats.