A few weeks ago I spoke with a local animal lover who asked my help in “settling a disagreement” with her granddaughter. It seemed that her granddaughter also cares about animals and had insisted that “the ASPCA and the SPCA are two different organizations,” and the caller asked me if she was correct.
Her granddaughter is mostly right. Actually, the name SPCA is common to hundreds of different organizations, which all operate independently of one another. Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were formed in cities across our country, starting with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York City in 1866 and followed a few decades later with our own Richmond SPCA in 1891.
While there are many organizations whose names share this common abbreviation, it does not indicate a common source of funding or shared operating procedures. This has to be the most frequently heard confusion about the Richmond SPCA, so I’m always glad for an opening, like the one this caller gave me, to clarify that our organization is an independent nonprofit and not a chapter or affiliate of any other SPCA or humane society. People are often surprised to learn that we are not connected to the organization that has gained such recognizable status through the repeated airings of commercials with music by Sarah McLachlan.
Now that you know, we’d love to have your help. Look for an opportunity to tell someone what you’ve learned about the Richmond SPCA. The next time you hear the mournful lyrics, “In the arms of the angel,” don’t be sad about the images on your TV screen, be reminded to share this message. By visiting www.richmondspca.org/donate, you can be assured that you’re providing essential resources that will be put to work delivering lifesaving programs and services directly to the pets and people of Richmond.
Tabitha Hanes is the director of advancement 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.