Coming into Our Own

As an Adoption Counselor for the Richmond SPCA, I’m used to people asking me a lot of different questions about the pets in our care and our organization in general. But the one I hear most often is about our assumed “other” locations. I’ve noticed that many people are under the impression that our organization is not only a part of other SPCA’s in the area, but also other local humane societies and government shelters. While we work very closely with these shelters and humane organizations, it is important to recognize that the Richmond SPCA operates as an individual entity. We are a private humane organization, which also makes us quite different in many ways from some of the shelters we work with. The work we do is unique and lifesaving; the way in which we promote the principle that every life is precious is entirely our own and a result of our dedication to saving as many lives as we can.


As mentioned previously, we work with other shelters and humane societies in the area to prevent them from resorting to euthanasia, which occurs primarily due to lack of space. Through maintaining these relationships, our organization receives about 80% of the pets in our care (Richmond SPCA, 2017). The Admissions team is responsible for transferring in such pets from local shelters and humane organizations. The remaining 20% of pets come from owner surrenders, which the Admissions team deals with as well (Richmond SPCA, 2017). When we have the space available, in some cases we can take in pets that owners can no longer care for. However, we do our best to provide resources through Project Safety Net for owners in this predicament that would keep their pets out of the shelter environment, such as re-homing options and behavior assistance. We find that this often works too.

Another key difference between our organization and a lot of the shelters we work with is that we are a private humane society, not a public animal control agency. This essentially means that we do not receive government funding, enforce laws relating to animal welfare, or accept strays directly into our care. Instead we are a no-kill, non-profit humane organization. The “no-kill” portion means that we do not euthanize pets based on their health status, length of stay, certain behavioral needs, or lack of shelter space. Because of the generous donations we receive from the community, we have the resources to take in many sick and injured pets that require extensive veterinary care and find them loving homes best suited for their needs. Unfortunately, not many shelters have the funding available to them to put towards pets requiring ongoing medical care like we do. Our goal as an organization is to save the lives of pets in need and in doing so treat them compassionately.


The distinguishing characteristics of the Richmond SPCA best explain how our organization carries out its practices as a separate entity from other humane societies and shelters. Still, we work diligently alongside local animal welfare organizations to save as many lives as we can. While there are marked differences between us and them, we are all advocating for the same thing: our wonderful, lovable, furry companions. Our organization would not be able to accomplish the work we set out to do without the community’s support. And for that, we are forever grateful. The programs, resources, and principles we have adopted are what make us the leading organization in animal welfare and the no-kill movement emerging across the nation.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own and do not represent the views and opinions of the Richmond SPCA.


Richmond SPCA. (2017). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from


About Caitlin Stallings

I started out down a dark path, but I found the light in me that never goes out and allowed it to lead the way. Now it's gleaming brighter than ever before since I broke the vicious cycle of abuse. I'm a domestic violence survivor and advocate for the healing of the trauma we all experience in this lifetime. I've always aspired to be a healer and do something that touches the lives of others on a profound level. So far I've found that I can do this through my writing, but there's much more out there for me to learn. No matter what I end up doing for a living, I know that I want to give and help as much as I can to as many as I can. Here's to the reincarnation of myself — my best self!
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