Spaying and neutering programs have seen incredible successes in recent years. Over the past generation or so, responsible pet owners have come to understand the importance of these medical procedures to prevent unwanted animal pregnancies.
This is great news. It has reduced animal overpopulation and means more wanted animals are in loving homes and fewer animals are homeless or in shelters.
However, this good news has unintended consequences. As the CBC reported recently, animal care experts are recognizing that traditional animal shelters are losing some of their relevance. We could manage to spay and neuter animal shelters out of existence! Well … in a perfect world. The reality is we will need animal shelters for a long time to come, but the reduction in animal overpopulation allows animal-serving agencies to think about new and different ways of doing things.
The Richmond Animal Protection Society Cat Sanctuary exists to provide a permanent loving home for hundreds of cats who are unlikely to find forever families. (Be sure to join us May 27 & 28 for our first-ever Cat Sanctuary Open Adoption Weekend, because some of these sweeties who were feral and are now socialized are actually available for adoption!) These cats have come from Richmond, Metro Vancouver and elsewhere in the province because this Cat Sanctuary is the only one of its kind in Canada.
Every animal that comes through the RAPS-run City of Richmond Animal Shelter or the RAPS Cat Sanctuary is spayed or neutered. In addition, an important part of RAPS’ mandate is educating the public about the importance of the procedure in reducing animal overpopulation, as well as providing subsidized vet services for people with low incomes.
We will continue to do all of this. But our mission is to make spaying and neutering so successful that we no longer need to shelter homeless animals. As we move in this positive direction, RAPS – and other animal-serving agencies – will be able to reinvent themselves.
We are planning for a future when we will be able to provide a wider range of services, moving our organization toward a model where we are a destination for animals and their people to access veterinary care, licensing, training, socialization, resources, information, supplies and advocacy tools … a one-stop destination for animal care and the people who love them.
We are creating a Regional Animal Hospital, which will provide the centerpiece of an entirely new model of community-supported, social enterprise NO-KILL animal care. This major but entirely attainable initiative will ensure that RAPS does more than find homes for animals … We will continue to be a part of their lives – and the lives of their people – as they require routine and other medical treatments, training, socializing and every range of resources that companion animals require throughout their lifetimes.
This is a whole new approach to animal care. We want you to be a part of it. Please find out more about how you can play an important role in making a bright future a reality for countless numbers of animals.