Whenever I tell anyone that I volunteer at an animal shelter, the first question I am inevitably asked is “Is that a No-Kill shelter?” I then launch into my explanation that the VAO strives to meet a live release rate of 90% or better, which is the definition of “no-kill”. I explain that as a municipal shelter, we are obligated to take in ALL animals from the 26 towns with which we have contracts. That includes animals that are in very poor health and animals that are dangerous to the public and therefore cannot be safely adopted. I talk about the feral cats that come to us, and how sometimes they are unable to be socialized and again, cannot be safely adopted to the public. I will go into more detail about TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) and how if more towns would allow us to TNR and return the cats to structured cat colonies, then we would be able to save more feral cats. I say that we never euthanize for space, age, or treatable medical condition. All of this is true, and all of this affects the number of live outcomes that we have at the shelter.
But this year it’s different. 2020 was a year for the record books, but this is a check in the positive column for sure.
I am thrilled to announce that for the first time in the Voorhees Animal Orphanage’s history (at least as far back as anyone here can remember), we have achieved true no kill status! 2020 saw a live release rate of 92.75%! 2020 adoptions were up 12% vs. 2019, and total number of lives saved was up 6.4%. All of this happening during a year that we were closed to the public for over 3 months due to COVID-19.
These amazing statistics are a testament to the staff, volunteers, fosters and supporters of the VAO. Our staff has worked tirelessly and selflessly on the front lines during a time of global pandemic, to ensure that the health & well-being of our animals was always paramount. Our dedicated volunteers rolled up their sleeves helping wherever and whenever they could to help ensure that the shelter continued to run smoothly. Our Foster Program grew and we were able to place many more kittens and animals in need into loving home environments. As for our supporters, when the chips of 2020 were down, they stepped up and came through for the shelter with generosity and kindness that sometimes left us speechless.
Everyone, please pat yourselves on the back for an exceptional job well done! 2020 has set the bar for excellence at the VAO. There is no doubt in my mind that nothing but great things lie ahead in 2021 and beyond.
Congratulations to everyone who has been a part of the Voorhees Animal Orphanage’s journey. We would be nowhere without you.
Wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year.
Board of Directors, Secretary