This is an FAQ about the SPCA's Community No-Kill Initiative.
Is the SPCA of Wake County a No-Kill organization?
Yes we are!
What do you mean when you say that the SPCA of Wake County is a no-kill humane organization?
By “no-kill,” we mean that once we admit an animal into our care, we treat that animal no differently than we would expect a loving pet owner to do. We do not take the life of any animal in our care for reasons of length of stay or our shelter capacity. If our veterinarian determines that a pet in our care requires veterinary care, we provide that care so as to return that pet to a healthy or a manageable state. We euthanize a pet only if our veterinarian determines that the pet is too sick or injured to recover to a life of quality and is suffering or if our animal behavior specialist determines that a pet is so behaviorally aggressive as to present a material danger to human safety.
Why are you going No-Kill?
In 2009, the SPCA of Wake County helped a record-breaking 12,831 needy animals in our community. It wasn’t enough. Thousands of homeless animals still died. We have to change the status quo. By fulfilling our goal to be a No-Kill organization, we are taking a huge step forward towards a No-Kill community.
I thought the SPCA was already No-Kill.
For the past six years we have operated an Adoption Guarantee (or No-Kill) adoption program. Now, with this change, we are going completely No-Kill and we are making a promise to save all the healthy or treatable animals in our care as well over 1,800 needy animals transported from other area animal shelters, mainly the Wake County Animal Center.
I heard that the SPCA of Wake County is no longer taking animals from animal control. If the SPCA of Wake County no longer receives animals from animal control, where are you going to get animals?
Right now there is no shortage of animals who desperately need our help. We have established a high-volume transfer program with the Wake County Animal Center. The SPCA of Wake County plans to receive approximately 40% of its animals from people giving up their own pets and Good Samaritans who find animals, and 60% from the local government shelters in Wake, Durham, and other surrounding counties. Our staff members visit the local municipal shelters regularly and frequently to transfer animals into our care.
If you are no longer taking animals from animal control, where are all of those animals going?
As of July 1, 2010, all Wake County animals will be taken in by the municipal shelter, the Wake County Animal Center, which completed its building expansion to accommodate the increase in animals. One major advantage of this consolidated impoundment system is that owners will now have to visit only one shelter to search for a lost animal, eliminating ongoing confusion about where a lost animal might be taken. It is our hope that this will help save the lives of more animals by reuniting them with their owners.
Are you worried more animals will be euthanized at the County Shelter?
We are concerned about any animal at risk of being euthanized but we are very pleased with the County’s recent efforts to increase adoptions. This transition of animals has been an incredible catalyst for an unprecedented effort by our local government to save animals.
I heard the SPCA Lost & Found Center is closing, is this true?
No, not true. We are renaming this facility “The SPCA Holding Center” and this Holding Center will be a vital step in the SPCA’s rescue efforts. This is where pets transferred from other animal shelters will stay until space is available at the SPCA Curtis Dail Pet Adoption Center. The Holding Center will have no public hours, ; instead animal intake from the public can be done by appointment.
What is the difference between a public animal control agency or municipal/government shelter and a private humane organization?
Public animal control agencies and municipal/government animal shelters are legally charged with enforcing animal control laws and the laws protecting animals from abuse or neglect. They respond to citizens’ complaints about animals and impound stray animals (thus the name “pound”). They are responsible for investigating instances of animal abuse or cruelty and are supported entirely by tax revenue.
Private humane organizations receive no government funds and carry no legal authority. The role of a private humane organization, such as the SPCA of Wake County, is to provide resources to save healthy, treatable animals from death, to treat animals with more compassion and understanding, and to help people have happier, more fulfilling relationships with their pets.
What is the SPCA doing to prevent an increase in euthanasia at the Wake County Animal Center?
High-volume transfer program into the SPCA: We have made a strong commitment to taking as many animals as possible from the Wake County Animal Center through a high-volume adoption program whereby we pickup animals at least twice a week and transport them to the SPCA Holding Center.
We will be taking animals that are adoptable but our foster care, behavior, and veterinary resources will also allow us to take some of their neediest animals as well. With the SPCA’s move to a no-kill organization, we will shift 100% of our resources to rescue and prevention. The Saving Lives Spay/Neuter Animal Clinic (an initiative of the SPCA opened in January 2009) is this community’s most powerful tool to reduce the number of animals coming into area animal shelters and subsequent killing of adoptable pets. In the first year of operation (January 2009 - January 2010), the clinic performed 5,766 surgeries for low-income families and rescued animals. Our mission is to decrease the euthanasia of this community’s animals by preventing them from entering the shelters in the first place.
We will be asking more of people who are looking to give up their pet. By offering owners other options if they need to give up their pet, we will be able to assist pet owners through our pet retention resources and work cooperatively with them to resolve their problems with their pet. As a result, we foresee a community where there are fewer unwanted litters of puppies and kittens entering shelters and where more and more pet owners are working to resolve their problems satisfactorily so that they are keeping their pets rather then surrendering them to a shelter.
When you say that you are working to save the lives of all of the healthy animals in Wake County, what will happen to the old, the sick, and the injured?
We will save the lives of thousands of them as well! The SPCA is fortunate to be able to provide support and care to thousands of animals not considered adoptable at other shelters. The SPCA Foster Care Program, Veterinary Care Program and Behavior Programs all contribute to our ability to provide care to these animals most in need of care.
We do not regard age as a consideration in determining whether a pet is healthy. Older pets may be in great health and are usually wonderful companions. Second, we do not automatically regard pets with behavior issues or pets that are sick or injured as unhealthy. In fact most of those animals have behavior or health issues that, given enough time and resources, are treatable and rehabilitable. Please see “What is the difference between the terms "healthy" and "adoptable" when used to describe pets in a shelter?” for more information about how we make these decisions.
What is the difference between the terms “healthy” and “adoptable” when used to describe pets in a shelter?
“Adoptable” is a term used by many people and organizations in the animal welfare field to refer to an animal that is capable of being immediately adopted into a home because he is healthy and free of legal impediments to adoption. The term has been the subject of considerable disagreement because some people believe that it is highly subjective.
We prefer to use the word “healthy” which is more simple and clear. A healthy pet is one that is free of any significant physical or behavioral problems. We do not consider the lack of a limb, eyesight or hearing or the age of a pet to be a problem that makes a pet unhealthy. We accept pets that are healthy and also pets that are not healthy but are treatable (meaning that they have an injury or ailment that we will treat to return them to a healthy condition for adoption such as an upper respiratory infection and other infectious diseases that can be remedied with medicine and/or supportive care). We also offer pets for adoption from the SPCA of Wake County that are not healthy but are manageable, meaning that they have a chronic ailment that will require ongoing care but, with that care, they can live a life of quality.
Do you believe that an end to the killing of healthy, homeless animals in Wake County is achievable?
We do believe that an end to the killing of healthy, homeless animals in Wake County, North Carolina is achievable. But, we do not believe that the outcome can only come through our efforts. It is our hope that given the necessary education, tools, and resources, the citizens of Wake County, the Wake County Animal Center, animal advocacy groups, and other local rescues will fully embrace our vision for a no-kill community. Every member of the community who adopts a pet from a shelter rather than purchasing one from a breeder or a pet store and every pet owner who has his pet spayed or neutered and every feral cat caregiver will also be responsible for this victory. An educated community will continue to be a vital partner in guaranteeing life to Wake County’s homeless dogs and cats.
Has this worked in other communities?
Yes. Communities across this country have transitioned to No-Kill, where adoptable animals are no longer euthanized. So we aren’t reinventing the wheel – we know this can be done because other communities are doing it.
Our community already has FOUR of the elements that are vital to creating No-Kill success: 1- A high-volume, low cost spay/neuter clinic (Saving Lives Spay/Neuter Animal Clinic) 2- A strong No-Kill humane organization to lead the charge (SPCA of Wake County). 3- An engaged local government shelter that cares about rehoming animals (Wake County Animal Center). 4- A community that cares about homeless animals and wants to end the use of euthanasia as a means of controlling the pet population.
The blueprint for a no-kill community was first devised and implemented by the San Francisco SPCA in the Bay Area in the early 1990s. They achieved enormous lifesaving success there. The Richmond SPCA was the first humane organization to replicate that model in another community. They have demonstrated that this operating model is very effective at saving lives and will work in communities with different characteristics. We look forward to repeating the success of other communities right here in Wake County.
What programs and services that you offer contribute to the creation of a no-kill community?
The SPCA of Wake County has developed and implemented a number of highly effective pet-retention, spay/neuter, and humane education programs and services which have directly contributed to the reduction of homeless animals in Wake and surrounding areas by offering pet owners alternatives to relinquishment, access to low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for their dogs and cats, and responsible pet ownership learning opportunities. Pet-retention programs include behavioral assistance, pet food pantry assistance, foster care, and in-shelter consultations that offer pet owners an alternative to relinquishing their animals to the SPCA of Wake County or to any other shelter.
Did you know?
The SPCA of Wake County served as the only animal shelter in Wake County from 1971 through the late 1980s when the first Wake County Animal Shelter was built.
Did you know?
The SPCA first took on impoundment duties in 1974 at the request of the Raleigh City Council after the city pound was shut down for animal cruelty. It is only our impoundment duties which are ending on July 1, 2010. Our commitment to the animals that have been impounded does not end.