While the initial focus of the GMHS was on the humane treatment of farm animals in this rural, agrarian community of the early 20th century, the decades to follow would bring additional attention to the treatment of companion animals, and to the growing number of homeless animals in Gloucester, Mathews, and Middlesex Counties.
The new shelter facility of the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society, named the Gloucester-Mathews Animal Shelter in recognition of the counties it serves, is a blend of artful architecture designed for light openness and the technology necessary for hospital-worthy cleanliness standards. The shelter’s main lobby features an open ceiling with exposed beams and braces, set off by up-lighting and plenty of natural sunlight.
In 2015, GMHS committed to improving the quality of care of
every animal in our shelter, increase adoptions, and increase live release
rates (i.e., adoptions, transfer to guaranteed adoption facilities, and
return-to-owner). We successfully met each one of these goals.
As a part of our goal to improve the quality of care, GMHS committed to not euthanize animals for treatable diseases like ringworm and heartworms. Cats are tested for FeLV/FIV and dogs are tested for heartworms. All heartworm positive dogs are treated. All animals are treated for parasites and upper respiratory infection (if applicable) spayed/neutered, and most other medical maladies are addressed. Dogs are given a behavior evaluation upon intake, and, based on the results, our Behavior Coordinator develops a program of enrichment activities specific to each dog’s needs that allow them an outlet to release the stress inherent to a shelter environment that can lead to negative behaviors, such as resource guarding. We have noticed a significant drop in negative behaviors developing since the implementation of the behavior programs.
In 2015, GMHS adopted out 4% more animals than 2014, a statistically significant improvement given GMHS remained an open-admission shelter, meaning we accept every animal surrendered to us despite age, pre-existing health conditions, or temperament. GMHS implemented an aggressive transport program to move animals to guaranteed adoption facilities in areas of the country that enjoy fewer homeless pet populations or are more populated so the ratio of homes to homeless pets is greater. With this program coupled with an increase in adoptions, GMHS saved 99.9% of dogs in our care, 97% of cats, and 100% of pocket pets in 2015.
In 2016, GMHS is working toward becoming financially solvent and to become known as a community resource for pet related concerns.
Our greatest material need is a panel van to
assist with our transport program. Without the Highway to Home transport
program, which moves animals to guaranteed adoption facilities where they have
a better chance at being adopted, GMHS would not be able to save as many lives
as we have been. Currently, we rent vehicles, but this strategy is not
financially sustainable. We are raising funds to buy a pre-owned panel van
costing approximately $30,000. .
We have implemented a free spay/neuter program to address overpopulation of cats at the source, as we intake more cats than dogs. The program costs $1200/month. We are greatly in need of financial support to sustain this vital program.
GMHS spends about $50,000 of our budget treating heartworm positive dogs, a preventable disease. As heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, coastal Virginia animals are at an increased rate of infection. Financial support may allow us to expand our Pet Pantry program, which provides free pet food to struggling families, to include heartworm preventative.
GMHS needs to develop a greater volunteer base, as well. We foster, transport, and dog-walking volunteers. The success of many of our programs hinges on volunteer participation. Our greatest need is financial support. Saving lives is expensive.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia7501 Boulders View Drive, Richmond, VA 23225804-330-7400 | www.tcfrichmond.org