Changes may be in store for the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — A recent incident involving a beloved neighborhood stray being euthanized has lead to a petition calling for change in policy at the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA.

The petition has close to 2,500 signatures in support of the RHSPCA becoming a no-kill shelter.

Anne Anderson is the executive director of the RHSPCA. She said they strive to treat animals in a responsible and ethical manner, but this is a policy she can't stand by.

Anderson said becoming a no-kill shelter would create barriers in the intake process.

"We would have to change things such as setting up surrender fees, such as establishing waiting lists, such as refusing admission to animals that weren't adoptable," said Anderson.

If the city tries to change the policies that are already in place, Anderson said she'll most likely have to step back and end their partnership.

Anderson said they already work with many different rescue organizations to manage their numbers, sending some animals to different states in order to increase their chances of being adopted.

She's urging those who don't support the RHSPCA to come by the shelter and see how hard the staff works to ensure the animals are well cared for.

Anicira Veterinary Center is also getting involved in the situation.

The staff at Anicira has submitted a proposal to the city asking to take the place of the RHSPCA. This is the second time since 2010 that Anicira has submitted a proposal.

"We realize that with the high euthanasia rate, currently, that there's a need for someone to step in and to provide a better service for the area," said Jessica Roach, office manager at Anicira.

Anicira's adoption program has been up and running for one year. In 2016, they found homes for 300 animals. Roach said they're on track to adopt out over 400 this year.

Anicira also plans to turn its old location into a shelter.

Roach said this matter isn't personal and that both sides are just trying to do what's best for the animals.

The petition and future plans will be discussed at 7 p.m. on May 23 during the public comment portion of the city council meeting.