The Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection is barking, celebrating a milestone for its brand new pet adoption program. Monday, a cat named Tobi became the 100th animal it successfully placed in a new home.
"It's critical for us and it's critical for the animals that we serve," said David Flagler, executive director of the center, which provides animal control and protection services for Roanoke, Roanoke County, Vinton, and Botetourt County.
Flagler says when he was brought in six months ago, he was tasked with finding opportunities to get animals out of the center's kennels and into loving homes. RCACP continues to work with local shelters and rescues to make that happen, but he says it was getting to a point where the number of strays coming in was overloading the system.
"It became a necessity that we had to become involved in the placement of animals," Flagler said. "We become one more place that people can go to adopt an animal."
RCACP began doing its own adoptions in October following several months of careful planning, converting an old conference room into an adoption room, and setting up an adoption database on its website.
Flagler says he's pleased with their early adoption rates: about 40-60 animals per month. While that's fewer adoptions than local rescues and shelters, it's in line with other facilities like theirs.
"In my mind, we were right on task," Flagler said.
RCACP currently has a live release rate (the percentage of animals not euthanized) of about 85 percent for dogs and 30 percent for cats. Flagler says he hopes this new adoption program will help increase those numbers, and he says the community can have the biggest impact.
"What I'm hoping is that given the surplus of animals we have in the community, our future is not in adoptions," he said. "Our future is in convincing the community to be responsible pet owners and to start spaying and neutering their animals."
Still, he says adoptions will continue to play an important role in what RCACP does. On Sunday, Dec. 1, the center will host a special event from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. where people can adopt dogs for a discounted rate of $35 and adopt cats for free.
For more information about the center and animals available for adoption, visit http://www.rcacp.org/.