Virginia Shelters in 2014

Now that shelters in Virginia have filed their reports with the state for 2014, we can see how the top communities did compared with previous years. One thing to note is that the Virginia reports count owner-requested euthanasia in the euthanasia category. Lynchburg, Augusta County, and Nelson County are not included in this article because I have previously posted their updates for 2014.

Charlottesville and Albemarle County

The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA (CASPCA) is a private non-profit that has the contract for animal sheltering for Albemarle County and the town of Charlottesville. The combined population of the city and county is about 118,000 people, although that total does not include non-resident students who attend the University of Virginia. For 2014, CASPCA and animal control matched their 2013 live release rate of 96%. If animals who died in shelter care are counted with euthanasias, the live release rate was 94%.

Fairfax County

Fairfax County is in northern Virginia near Washington, DC, and has 1,082,000 human residents. The Fairfax County Animal Services Division (FCASD) is the municipal agency providing animal control and sheltering for the county. The shelter reported an 87% live release rate for 2014 (86% including animals who died at the shelter). This is better than it sounds because shelters in northern Virginia have traditionally offered end-of-life euthanasia for pets who are incurably ill, and their owner-requested euthanasia numbers are therefore higher than usual. The shelter recently abolished its former policy of having extra requirements for the adoption of pit-bull-type dogs.

Fluvanna County

Fluvanna County is southeast of Charlottesville, and it has 26,000 residents. A private organization, the Fluvanna SPCA, contracts with the county for animal services. The Fluvanna SPCA’s live release rate increased to 96% from 93% in 2013. The rate was 95% if animals who died in shelter care are included with euthanasias.

King George County

King George County is between Washington, D.C., and Richmond, and has 24,000 residents. Animal control and sheltering are provided by a county agency, King George County Animal Control (KGCAC). An enthusiastic group of volunteers known as the King George Animal Rescue League partners with KGCAC to pull animals from the shelter. KGCAC reported a 96% live release rate in 2014, up from 91% reported in 2013. The rate was 95% if animals who died in shelter care are included.

Powhatan County

Powhatan County, Virginia, has about 28,000 residents and is part of the Richmond metropolitan area. A municipal office, Powhatan Animal Control, handles animal control and sheltering. Powhatan’s live release rate was 94% in 2014, down slightly from 96% in 2013. The rate was 93% if animals who died in shelter care are included.

Conclusions From This Data

Overall, it is notable that when communities achieve No Kill they tend to stick to it. Many communities have double-digit increases in live release rates on their way to No Kill, but I don’t recall ever seeing a community have a double-digit decline in live release rates once No Kill was achieved. This is a good argument for the fact that a No Kill public shelter system adds value to a community. Residents like to have an animal shelter that is a safe haven for homeless pets, and once they have it they don’t allow it to deteriorate.