Today, a letter to the editor from Daphna Nachminovitch of PETA was published in the Virginian-Pilot. Ms. Nachminovitch, who is PETA’s mouthpiece these days, wrote her letter in response to the one I wrote for the Virginian-Pilot responding to an editorial and discussing the services that can and should be provided to a community in order to reduce the number of animals entering and dying in shelters. Her letter to the editor, which is entitled “PETA steps in,” would have been more accurately entitled “PETA steps in it.” Ms. Nachminovitch, casting desperately about for something to criticize the Richmond SPCA for, makes this ludicrous statement: “it is not unusual for shelters that boast high 'save rates' to have high rates of unassisted deaths. In 2012, 15 animals were euthanized at the Richmond SPCA, but 97 animals died while in that shelter's custody.” Note she does not actually provide the calculated rate although she says that it is “high.”
So, let me do the math for her. In 2012, the Richmond SPCA cared for 3,761 dogs and cats. So, 97 unassisted deaths amounts to 2.5%. Yep, that is right 2.5%. That is what Ms. Nachminovitch calls a high rate? Well, if that is a high rate then what on earth is their 89% of animals at their shelter who died in 2012 at the hands of PETA? Monumental, I suppose. There probably is not any word big enough for it.
And, those 97 “unassisted” deaths, as she likes to call them, were largely neonatal kittens whom our staff and foster care volunteers fought valiantly to save even though they came to us with no mother and needed around the clock care and feeding and veterinary care. No, Ms. Nachminovitch, we did not assist their dying, we assisted their attempt to live. And, we were successful for nearly a thousand neonatal kittens we did save that year. They are now having good lives.
If Ms. Nachminovitch wants to criticize us for that, then be my guest. We will keep working at saving lives while PETA keeps working at assisting deaths.
Robin Robertson Starr is the chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires both your first and last name to be used as your screen name.