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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Nelson County, VA

Nelson County, Virginia, is a rural county midway between Charlottesville and Lynchburg. The population is about 15,000.

Nelson County Animal Control (NCAC) is the municipal agency that takes in strays and owner surrenders for the county. In November 2012, a new animal control director with a background in management took over. The new director stated in a January 2013 interview that euthanasia is generally performed only on animals who are aggressive or sick.

The Humane Society/SPCA of Nelson County (HSNC) is a private agency that pulls animals from NCAC and has an adoption center. In an article about its medical fund, HSNC reported that it takes in about 1000 animals per year. HSNC also accepts owner surrenders, but only if they have space and evaluate the animal as adoptable. In addition to its adoption center, HSNC uses transports to rescues to place animals. I confirmed in a phone call to HSNC that all transfers are to No Kill organizations.  HSNC has a stated goal for the county of ensuring that “no healthy, non-aggressive animal is euthanized.”

NCAC and HSNC both report to the Virginia state database. In 2014, the combined live release rate for both NCAC and HSNC was 92% (88% if animals who died or were lost in shelter care are counted as euthanasias). This number probably understates the actual live release rate because I did not count any transfers from NCAC as live releases. The purpose of this was to avoid double counting of live releases since the majority of the transfers went to HSNC. In 2013 and 2012 the combined live release rates for NCAC and HSNC were in the 80th percentile.

Nelson County has a very high intake of dogs and cats. The combined total intake of NCAC and HSNC for 2014, not counting transfers from NCAC, was 1386, which is 92 animals for every 1000 people in the community. Average intake for the US as a whole is thought to be from 15 to 30 animals per 1000 people.

Nelson County, Virginia, is counted in the blog’s Running Totals as a 90%+ community.



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