[For today’s News Bit and the Running Totals, click here.]
Augusta County, Virginia, is located in the Shenandoah Valley area west of Charlottesville. Its population was 74,000 in the 2010 census. The county contains two independent cities: Staunton (population 24,000) and Waynesboro (population 21,000). The total population of the county and the two cities is 119,000.
In 2011, the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center (SVASC) took over animal sheltering for Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro. The shelter took in 2447 animals in 2013, the most recent year for which full statistics are currently available. Animal control officers for Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro immediately return or euthanize a few of the animals they pick up, but the great majority go to SVASC.
The Augusta Regional SPCA, located in Staunton, also takes in animals – 1337 in 2013, including 464 owner surrenders and 240 transfers. There are several rescues in the county, including Augusta Dog Adoption, Cat’s Cradle, and the Mosby Foundation, that take animals from SVASC.
SVASC’s full statistics for 2014 are not yet available online from the state system, but the shelter recently reported to the media that its live release rate increased to 94% in 2014 from 82% in 2013. Augusta County is one of the places where it is very difficult to calculate a live release rate even with the state reports, due to multiple intake shelters and transfers among shelters.
SVASC’s current shelter is inadequate, and the three jurisdictions it serves have committed $420,000 to expand the shelter this spring. The expansion will add cage space, six isolation rooms, and separate areas to house puppies and small dogs.
Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro are counted in the Running Totals as 90%+ communities.