City council votes to keep Harrisonburg's contract with the RHSPCA

Published: Apr. 10, 2018 at 11:12 PM EDT
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A discussion that began last summer came to an end Tuesday night at Harrisonburg City Council.

Council voted unanimously to continue its contract with the RHSPCA as the city's animal shelter, but not without some changes.

The city was considering a proposal from the no-kill shelter and veterinary clinic Anicira to become the city's animal shelter.

Council heard city staff's recommendation to continue a relationship with the RHSPCA, but before any motion was made, some council members had opinions of their own.

City manager Eric Campbell encouraged council to accept the city's recommendation to remain with the RHSPCA, however, he commented he believes the euthanasia rate is still too high.

Vice Mayor Richard Baugh made a motion to amend the current contract with the RHSPCA to include progress reports to council every six months.

With that, the vote was unanimous.

Both sides say they are happy to see a solution.

"Our goal was met, you know? We offered a solution to try to get the euthanasia rates down. The city opted not to go with that, and that's ok, but that they're gonna work on another solution is so important," said Anicira's community outreach and engagement coordinator Kelsey Cler.

"We have nothing to hide. We are transparent in what we're doing and we would like to continue to keep city council and the community informed as to the good progress we're making," said RHSPCA's adoption and rescue coordinator Jo Benjamin.

The RHSPCA says they will continue to reduce their euthanasia rate.

Before a vote was taken, council member Chris Jones added that he would like to see both shelters work together toward the common goal of finding good homes for animals.

Both parties said they were hopeful for that possibility in the future.