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Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA achieves 93 percent save rate for its animals

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA has achieved the no-kill benchmark after increasing its overall save rate for its animals to 93 percent.

Huck Nawaz, executive director of the RHSPCA, said over the past two years, the organization has worked hard to increase its save rate from 40 percent for cats to 90 percent, and for dogs from 80 percent to 98 percent.

Save rate, also referred to as the live release rate, is calculated by dividing the number of positive outcomes by the total number of outcomes (including euthanasia). A live release rate of 90 percent is the industry benchmark for a shelter to be called “no kill.”

While the shelter achieved this save rate, Nawaz said the RHSPCA will not use the title “no-kill shelter” out of respect for the community and other shelters doing great work.

“The language has just been so divisive in our community, and I think that it’s caused fractures that we are just healing from and moving past,” Nawaz said. “Our goal today is to save every animal that comes into our care is that — always realistic. Maybe or maybe not, but we’re certainly going to try.”

Nawaz said many different programs helped the RHSPCA increase its save rate this year, including addressing each animal’s individuals needs through the Have a Heart Fund.

The program is paid for by the community and helps with medical expenses for animals, including some who may otherwise have to be euthanized.

The fund has helped the shelter reduce medical euthanasia from 634 in 2018 to 72 in 2020.

“That fund has allowed us to get to that 93 percent rate,” Nawaz said. “We are in dire need of more money for that fund this year so all proceeds raised during the Great Community Give this Wednesday, April 21st for the SPCA will go directly towards that goal of $25,000.”

You can help the RHSPCA continue its mission of creating a community free of pet homelessness and animal suffering by clicking here.

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