By Jill Vacchina Dobbs, J.D.
Executive Director SPCA of Northern Nevada
Twenty years ago, a group of concerned locals recognized there was a huge animal welfare problem in Reno: too many homeless pets in an overwhelmed and under-resourced Reno Animal Control. These compassionate people pulled adoptable pets from that facility and took them to a PetSmart on Plumb Lane for adoption. Their efforts saved these animals’ lives and proved there was hope for homeless pets in Washoe County.
This was the humble yet impactful beginning of the no-kill movement in Nevada. As Margaret Mead astutely said: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Thanks to them and thousands of others over the years, Washoe County now has one of the highest save rates in the nation.
The SPCA of Northern Nevada has continued the no-kill movement in Nevada and saved tens of thousands of lives over the last twenty years! We help create loving families and spread joy throughout our community. Through our dedicated team and supporters we give animals a second chance at life and love. We proudly work with all of our urban and rural partners to lower euthanasia rates statewide. And our Shelter Feeding Program directly served 51 other shelters and rescues in northern Nevada so they can provide medical care and other necessities to homeless pets in their care.
We also work with other rescues and shelters throughout the country to offer critical assistance when we can. In addition to over 1,200 lives saved in northern Nevada, we saved hundreds of cats from Utah. We saved homeless pets from Louisiana during the deadly hurricane season, cats from the horrific fires in Ventura County, and dogs scheduled for euthanasia in central California. Adoptable homeless pets in northern Nevada continue to have priority, but we help pets in need from other areas when we can because they are worth saving too, and it is beyond their control where they were born or abandoned.
These life saving efforts take a tremendous amount of hard work, compassion, logistics coordination, and perhaps most importantly, collaboration between animal welfare organizations. Saving homeless pets is not about one group or one city, town, county or state. It is about millions of people coming together nationwide to find loving homes for adoptable pets. We are grateful for all of our supporters and those who give to us financially so we can save even more lives in 2018!
Our positive impact doesn’t stop there. We do what we can to support humans in our community too. The SPCA of Northern Nevada believes its mission includes being a good citizen creating positive impact community-wide. For example, we are honored to partner with the Eddy House, Education Alliance of Washoe County, Ridge House, Habitat for Humanity, Reno Bike Project, Lions’ Club, Sally de Lipkau Cancer Resource Center at Renown, and Big Brothers Big Sisters among others. Of course we also benefit greatly from other organizations that provide volunteers, work experience programs, and donations to our Adoption Center and Thrift Store. We will be sharing stories of impact throughout this year in celebration of our 20th Anniversary.
Thank you to our staff, volunteers, donors, adopters, and supporters for everything you’ve done during the last twenty years of saving lives!