What this proposal meant was that stray animals would have to be taken to a different facility if they were found within Harrisonburg City limits. Animal Care & Control would also be partnered with them instead of the RHSPCA.
The final decision lies in the City Council vote during the upcoming meeting on April 10 at 7:00 PM at City Hall.
The City Council Meeting Agenda can be found here, along with the associated Memorandum from the City Manager's office.
The other side of such a policy is that the R-H SPCA has very little control over how many or what types of animals might arrive here. The ebb and flow in reproductive cycles greatly affects the volume of animals arriving day-to-day. A hoarding case or other large-scale seizure can happen at any given time. Animals involved in court cases can face weeks to months of waiting while hearings commence and often need a great deal of care and rehabilitation before they’re ready for adoption.
Some animals are surrendered to us because they’re so aggressive that they have their own families living in fear, have a history of biting and attacking people and other animals, or they have been ordered by the court to be euthanized after an incidence of violence. There are animals arriving so sick or injured that there is very little hope for their recovery. Allowing animals to suffer and die unassisted to avoid euthanasia when the same outcome is inevitable is unethical. We are working every day to get more and more animals into loving homes and rescue groups; however, endangering our friends and neighbors by adopting out aggressive animals is not an acceptable solution. We will not engage in such practices for the sake of manipulating percentages.
Open admission animal shelters are here for every pet, not just the cute and healthy. Denying admission to an animal to avoid euthanasia doesn’t make that animal or their needs disappear.
Most jurisdictions have found that relationships between open and limited admission shelters can best serve the community by having somewhere that will accept an animal no matter the circumstances. We're committed to getting healthy, friendly pets into homes. We're committed to helping pets overcome health and behavior issues to blossom into well-rounded individuals ready to be a part of our community and our families. We cannot do this without local support, understanding, and partnership.
In 2017, we doubled our foster care providers. Adoptions AND rescue group transfers were both up by 8%. Regardless of the City Council's decision, our goals for increasing rescue partnerships, adoptions, and foster care providers remain the same. With the support of our animal-loving community, we can do so much together.