Approve a No-Kill Shelter in the City of Harrisonburg
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For too long, the city of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley have been without an official no-kill shelter. The current shelter, the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA, euthanizes 6.8 cats per 1,000 taxpayers supporting the shelter, a rate over double the next-closest shelter in Virginia. An independent study found their adoption and website protocols out of date, preventing the adoption and ensuring the euthanization of a large number of healthy, adoptable animals.
One of these animals was a friendly, loving, beautiful community cat named Phez, whose picture you can see in this petition. Phez was a resident of Pheasant Run Townhomes, cared for by the management office and with a home in the maintenance shed. Phez was loved by the residents of Pheasant Run, often following them on walks or making himself at home in apartments. He was never once aggressive to anyone, even other animals, and seemed to only want love and attention. On April 28th, Phez followed a resident into their apartment, as he so often did. This resident, wanting Phez out of their apartment, called Harrisonburg Animal Control, who picked him up that evening. Animal Control posted a picture of an officer with Phez on their Facebook page, describing him as a "friendly fellow." The next day, a resident of Pheasant Run commented on the Facebook post, naming him as belonging to the complex's management office, but no attempt was ever made to reach the management office by Animal Control. A few days later, in early May, Phez was taken to the RHSPCA. By the time the management at Pheasant Run located Phez on May 10th, the RHSPCA had already euthanized him. After struggling to receive any paperwork or explanation from the RHPSCA, one of the apartment managers was told that he had been put down the previous day. Phez had allegedly bit an employee but did not break the skin, so he was going to be placed for adoption - but later, when being transported, bit another employee, deemed "aggressive," and euthanized. The partial paperwork, eventually received by Pheasant Run's management, had a significant amount of information crossed out and re-written, and a large number of dates contradicted each other - four dates were listed on the same paperwork regarding his intake from Animal Control. The RHSPCA has declined to release the rest of the paperwork, forcing a request to be filed with the state of Virginia for access to the rest of Phez's records. This seems to indicate some element of wrongdoing or cover-up in Phez's death, and for many, this has been the final straw in the already-tumultuous relationship with the RHSPCA.
Several local organizations have no-kill adoption centers - for example, Cat's Cradle for cats and Anicira Veterinary Clinic for dogs. Why, then, is the RHSPCA not no-kill? Anicira has presented a Public-Private Partnership proposal to Harrisonburg's City Council, requesting the contract to become the locality's animal shelter. They have the resources, facilities, and drive to be the best they can be for the Valley's animals, and provide our best hope for replacing the outdated, high-kill shelter that is our current RHSPCA. This proposal will be addressed soon by City Council; an exact date will be posted in an update to this petition once it is confirmed. For animals like Phez, who deserve so much more than the RHSPCA offers, please consider signing, to send the message to the Harrisonburg City Council that we can and must do better, by partnering with Anicira and making Harrisonburg as friendly of a city to animals as it is to its people.
For those located in Harrisonburg and able to attend the City Council meeting, please find a Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/301710236922342 where you can mark yourself down as attending with other Friends of Phez and supporters of Valley animals!
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