• Susan Houser

Lynchburg, VA

Lynchburg is an independent city of about 76,000 people in Virginia, located southwest of Charlottesville and east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Lynchburg Humane Society (LHS), is a non-profit that has a contract with the city of Lynchburg for animal services. LHS requires an appointment for owner surrenders and charges a small fee, but states that it will make exceptions for people who need to surrender a pet immediately or cannot pay the fee.

The shelter reported a 90% live release rate for the year 2011. LHS did not do quite as well in 2012, when it had an 87% live release rate. For 2013, LHS was back over 90%, reporting a live release rate of 92% for the year, with an intake of 1537 animals. The city of Lynchburg animal control euthanized 25 animals, and the live release rate for the community as a whole in 2013 was 90%.

LHS has been struggling with a relatively high number of shelter deaths. They attribute this in large part to their badly outdated shelter building, which has made it difficult to control infectious diseases. If animals who died in shelter care are counted in with euthanasias, the modified live release rate for 2013 drops to 83%. There is hope on the horizon, though, because LHS has almost completed its fundraising for a new building, which they expect will be completed this fall.

In 2013 LHS transferred only 15 animals, a relatively small number. This is a good sign because it means the shelter is finding permanent homes for animals rather than transporting them to other states or to rescues. LHS is thus freeing up capacity for transporters and rescues by taking care of its animals within the community.

Many shelters have blogs, but the LHS blog is particularly worth following because it occasionally has posts that analyze its programs from a statistical or outcomes point of view. Three posts that are worth reading for their statistical analyses are linked here:

  1. Owners Are Helping Us Save Lives By Waiting

  2. TNR Opinion – It Is Time We Fix The Problem

  3. Can You Wait Please? It Means Life To Us!

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