RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - 2020 was a year of ups and downs for Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC).
In a Facebook post Monday, Richmond Animal Care and Control released its 2020 statistics, which showed that while they took in fewer animals during the pandemic compared to 2019, they say also saw a spike in severely sick, injured or dying animals and animals too aggressive to safely adopt out.
“We have taken in 1,289 fewer animals this year than in 2019,” Christie Chipps Peters said. “Our thoughts are with everyone being home that they are taking care of their animals, and they’re staying at home instead of being loose and lost and ending up at the shelter.
Chipps Peters says the pandemic may have also fueled the sharp increase in animals brought to the shelter which were in poor condition.
“This may be related to COVID - people can’t afford to go to the vet, people can’t afford to do surgical repairs that are needed,” said Chipps Peters.
In total, RACC took in 1,269 animals in 2020, and of that number 693, were sick and/or injured and required specialized emergency care. In 2019, the shelter took in 3,479 animals with 406 of those sick and/or injured animals requiring emergency care.
“We have a smaller population coming to the shelter, and then of that population, a larger number are requiring immediate and emergency medical care to survive, many of those did not,” Chipps Peters said.
That disparity accounts for a percent increase in the euthanization of animals brought in in 2020 which saw only 276 instances when compared to 2019 which saw 292 animals euthanized.
Chipps Peters says that because RACC is the only open-admission shelter in Richmond, they can’t choose the population of animals that are brought into the shelter.
“Almost all of the animals that were euthanized were euthanized at the vet clinic, never making it alive to the shelter,” Chipps Peters said. “If their animal gets hurt, or in a dog fight, or hit by a car and they can’t and they can’t afford to pay for it, then they’re relinquishing that pet then to us. We try and save it and we make a humane decision and unfortunately, the percentage was higher in 2020 than last year.”
“We will never compromise our commitment to alleviating pain and suffering for animals that we love or our responsibility for public safety; even if that means a higher euthanasia rate for the year,” RACC said in a statement.
Still, Chipps Peters says the shelter still finished 2020 on a high note. More than 60% of animals brought into the shelter were adopted out to forever homes in 2020.
In 2020, RACC also responded to 8,601 calls for service, worked 511 bite cases, and secured 71 cruelty/ neglect charges in addition to having multiple large investigations pending.
In total, the shelter provided care to 2,207 animals including 1,502 dogs and 705 cats. Of that number, 1,046 animals were fostered, 693 of which required and received specialized emergency vet care while 975 were sick/injured and treated in-house at RACC.
“We’ve had many so many wonderful adoptors and supporters and donors who have helped us never have to say ‘no, we can’t try and save that animal at the vet clinic,’” Chipps Peters said. “I think the message is about continuing support so that we can continue saving those lives, and it’s definitely one that needs to be spread far and wide.”
Chipps Peters says they’ll need every bit of support from the community from donations, adoptions and tips for when there is foul play or mistreatment of animals happening in the city to continue that trend this year.
“The station spent more this year than ever before, we’ve spent more than $350,000,” Chipps Peters said. “Everything we raise, we spend every year and so no animal is not getting cared for.”
If you would like to support RACC in its efforts, click HERE.
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