The Fredericksburg SPCA has been awarded $16,240 through Best Friends Animal Society with the ‘Rachael Ray Save Them All Grant’ for its ‘Closing the Lifesaving Gap in Virginia Planning District 16 Project’. The Rachael Ray Save Them All Grants support initiatives aimed at enhancing the lifesaving rates of cats and dogs in shelters across the United States. A community is deemed to have achieved no-kill status when each physical shelter within the county maintains a save rate of 90% or above. This grant will provide the Fredericksburg SPCA with the chance to collaborate with county shelters in District 16 to boost their annual save rates.

“Through conversations with our local county shelters, we’ve found that there is a lifesaving gap in particular with the feral cat population being surrendered by their community members,” says Laurie Webb, Executive Director of the Fredericksburg SPCA. “Feral cats are rarely deemed adoptable and have little to no pathways for live outcome out of a shelter. Through this grant, we hope that by providing sterilization and vaccination through our Fred SPCA Locke Community Medical Center as a humane alternative to surrendering, we can help these municipal shelters increase their save rates.”

The Fredericksburg SPCA is focused on both Stafford County Animal Shelter and Caroline County Animal Shelter to increase live outcomes for their feline populations. The grant will be used by both shelters to provide the opportunity to divert the intake of otherwise unadoptable cats through a temporary Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release (TNVR) initiative, a program that is so far non-existent for animal shelters in PD 16. 

“The biggest challenge we face as a shelter being brought feral cats is the lack of resources to offer as an alternative to owner surrender at the shelter that ultimately results in euthanasia,” states Lieutenant Heffler, Caroline County Sheriff’s Office. “It is important that our community realizes that feral/community cats are still a responsibility.  Maintaining a healthy community does not happen by itself, it takes collaboration and a community effort.

The Fredericksburg SPCA knows that this grant is only one piece of the puzzle in decreasing euthanasia for shelters in the area, but hopes it opens doors to more opportunities in the future. A program will be temporarily set up for community members in both Stafford and Caroline County to receive free spay/neuter and rabies vaccines through the Fred SPCA Locke Community Medical Center. 

  • Stafford County Animal Shelter had a feline live release rate of 82% in 2023
  • Caroline County Animal Shelter had a feline live release rate of 70% in 2023
  • 132 cats are needed to fulfill the grant, but the Fredericksburg SPCA is arranging for at least 200
  • Residents in Stafford County and Caroline County who have community cat colonies or feral cats in need of services are encouraged to reach out to their shelters for instruction on participating

“We are so excited that this grant has opened doors and created new collaboration between three shelters,” says Captain Joe Bice, Chief Animal Control Officer for the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office. “This is the start of some long standing relationships that will benefit our communities and pets.”

“Best Friends is proud to support the mission of these organizations, as they work to improve the animal welfare opportunities for their cats and their citizens and cross the finish line to Virginia’s next No-Kill communities,” said John Graves, Manager, East Region, Best Friends Animal Society.