Animal Shelter Spotlight: Richmond SPCA
The Richmond SPCA, located in the capital of Virginia, is a very special place. Their mission is to be an advocate for animals, always and in every possible way. One of my own cats even came from the Richmond SPCA.
I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Tabitha Treloar, Director of Communications, as well as Bri Green, Special Tails Liaison and Adoption Coordinator, about the work Richmond SPCA does for animals. We’re also highlighting two long-term, adorable residents who are looking for the perfect forever home.
Outside of the Richmond SPCA
What Makes Richmond SPCA a Stand-Out Place for Animals
According to Tabitha, the Richmond SPCA was founded in 1891 and operates as a non-profit organization. At its core, finding the perfect home for pets remains a priority, however, they’ve also been operating as a no-kill shelter for the last 20 years.
Since pivoting to the no-kill model, Tabitha says it has been “lifesaving for tens of thousands of homeless dogs and cats. We were able to broaden our focus to offer more proactive programs to address the reasons pets end up in shelters. Adoption remains a big part of what we do — evidenced by finding loving homes for more than 4,000 pets this year. However, as a full-service humane center, we’re a resource for pet guardians throughout their pets’ lives, no matter where they’ve acquired their pets. We provide behavior support, operate a full-service veterinary hospital and even host children’s birthday parties and summer camps here.”
Richmond SPCA is also heavily involved with other organizations around the country dedicated to advocating for animals, particularly in response to disaster or cruelty cases.
Animal Advocacy Work
The Richmond SPCA has been involved in advocacy efforts at the state-level. These efforts include providing additional protection for dogs and cats who are bred and sold to laboratories for research purposes. In July of 2022, Virginia’s General Assembly unanimously passed five pieces of legislation in the 2022 session for the protection of animals. At the same time those laws took effect, the U.S. Department of Justice was pursuing a case against Envigo for repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act at their Cumberland County facility.
Because of this case, nearly 4,000 dogs went into the custody of the Humane Society of the United States, and many of those beagles ended up in the care of Richmond SPCA, who stepped up to help.
Tabitha explains, “This work was shared among 120 organizations who made it possible to find homes for thousands of dogs who had been bred for research without having a negative impact on the broader lifesaving done in our field. [The dogs’] adjustment to life as pets is ongoing, and our trainers have offered a special section of our Canine Manners class just for the special challenges these adopters face.”
The Adoption Process at Richmond SPCA
The humane center is open to the public, so potential adopters don’t need an appointment to come visit. The process is an open, conversation-based adoption method and is operated on a first come, first serve basis.
All available pets are listed on the website, so if there’s one you want to see, you can let an adoption counselor know. Counselors are always happy to give recommendations or let you know which pets are the right fit for homes with other pets or children.
If you see a pet that catches your eye, you can spend some one-on-one time in a special visiting area to see if you are a good match. Once you find your new best friend, a counselor can start walking you through the adoption process.
After all necessary paperwork is signed, you get to ring a celebratory bell, signifying that a pet is heading to their forever home!
Pippin on his adoption day.
Advice for First-Time Adopters
According to Bri Green, it’s always best to visit with multiple pets before making a decision. She says, “All of the animals are great and easy to love, but you truly want to make sure you are making a good match for you and your lifestyle that will set the new pet up for success. A new pet in the home can be stressful, as it’s a big change for everyone involved. It can take some time for you to both adjust to the change in routine. Giving your new pet a lot of structure and routine will help them adapt to their new life as you bond with each other.”
Your New Best Friend Is Waiting for You!
In her role as Special Tails Liaison, Bri works to promote Richmond SPCA’s longest residents. Here are two of those special pets:
Mia is a 4 ½ year old gray and white beauty who has made quite the name for herself. Bri says that Mia is a very spunky and sassy cat—who will let you know exactly what she’s thinking. “She was originally transferred into our care in March of 2022. Since then, she has made a name for herself around the shelter,” Bri says. Mia will meow for attention and loves to have company—but on her own terms.
“Too much petting can easily overstimulate Mia, so she’d do best with a cat savvy guardian who knows about cat body language and overstimulation. She also needs someone who is willing to understand and respect her boundaries. They should be OK with letting Mia set the terms for when and how she wants attention,” Bri explains.
Mia gets plenty of attention from folks in the adoptions department, since she resides in one of their offices, and loves to spend her days playing with interactive toys.
If you’re interested in adopting Mia, visit the Richmond SPCA to get to know her, although—she may be the one interrogating you!****
Flash is a big, handsome boy that has been with Richmond SPCA since August 2019, when he was transferred from a Florida shelter after Hurricane Dorian. Bri says that “foster care has been wonderful for Flash, preparing him to find a lasting home. He’s a very energetic, smart, and curious boy who needs a guardian who doesn’t take life too seriously.”
She also advises: “Being around Flash can be a lot of fun, but you do need to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get into any trouble. His eagerness to explore can sometimes make him act on impulse, but with a quick reminder of what he needs to do, he’ll be back to his best respectful self.”
Flash needs a lot of structure inside and outside of the home. His mind is always busy and he’s always looking for something to do. He does enjoy walks but gets very distracted by all of the amazing things to sniff outside!
This pup needs someone who will continue with his training and dedicate time to managing him and “Flash-proofing” their home. Flash adores his people and needs a home with no other pets or children—he wants to be the love of your life!
Bri says that “Flash has spent over a year living in a foster home where he has thrived and learned so much. He is ready to show off all his tricks to someone new who is going to fall in love with all his silly antics.”
Does this sound like you? Call to make an appointment to visit Flash and tell him how handsome he is!
Richmond SPCA information:
2519 Hermitage Rd
Richmond, VA 23220
Hours of operation:
Monday 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday 12 p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m.