Sanctuary History

CatHistory-Image

Carol Reichert founded our organization in the 1980s when she discovered an overwhelming number of feral cats in Richmond. These cats and kittens had not been spayed or neutered, had not received veterinary care or the basic necessities of life. They would have been immediately euthanized if they were taken to any of the municipal shelters in the Metro Vancouver area.

Carol and her dear friend and fellow cat-lover, Becky Reitman, formed a small grassroots organization. They named it Richmond Homeless Cats Society and this was the precursor to the Richmond Animal Protection Society. Richmond Homeless Cats was incorporated in 1995 and a small group of dedicated volunteers spent the next several years providing homeless cats with food, shelter, vet care and – always – spaying and neutering. These volunteers tirelessly attended to over 40 feeding stations daily. Over 1,000 cats were fixed, which made a major contribution to reducing the feral overpopulation problem. Kittens and cats were adopted whenever possible and, because no shelter was yet in existence, volunteers often fostered in their own homes.

In 2005, the society’s name was changed to Richmond Animal Protection Society when the decision was made to extend care to all of Richmond’s animals. Under Carol’s leadership, RAPS won the City of Richmond Animal Shelter contract, and introduced a no-kill policy to the City Shelter. After lobbying by RAPS, Richmond became the first municipality to introduce a Spay and Neuter Bylaw for cats, and to ban the sale of puppies and dogs in pet stores.

Carol retired in 2014 after more than 20 years of rescuing and fighting for the rights of Richmond’s animals. The people and animals of RAPS are forever grateful for her extraordinary dedication, which included countless nights of feeding in the bush, trapping cats and staying up all night attempting to save ill kittens and puppies. Her hard work and fearless attitude were the driving force behind the existence of RAPS today.

Richmond Animal Protection Society has a world-class Cat Sanctuary that serves as a model for other animal rescue groups. Our Sanctuary has been toured by volunteers and staff from other municipal shelters in Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan, veterinary students, and animal rescue workers from other countries.

Our dream is of a community where no stray cats roam the streets, where all animals are loved and respected and have lifelong homes.