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RAPS stays as animal shelter operator

The Richmond Animal Protection Society will continue to operate the city’s animal shelter despite a push from two other potential bidders for the contract.

“We’re very happy,” said society president Carol Reichert yesterday, one day after learning the news from the city. “It’s a whole new start for us.”

Reichert said contract details, including length and cost, have not yet been finalized.

RAPS, which has operated the city’s shelter for four years, will report to the city’s parks department under the new contract. It previously fell under the responsibility of the community bylaws department.

The final contract is also expected to require RAPS to continue offering daytime animal control services.

Reichert said RAPS will continue to operate the pound as a “no-kill” facility by treating and sheltering rescued animals rather than euthanizing them.

“With the city being willing to work with us, they know what they’re getting. We’ve proved that you can operate without killing. It’s twice the work for us, but it can be done, and it’s very rewarding to operate that way.”

That doesn’t come without its challenges. Reichert said many animals the shelter receives are abandoned or dropped off because they have problems.

“It’s much easier to just euthanize that animal, but that’s not an option to us, so we’re always challenged with that. But we’re looking forward to working with a department that feels the same.”

In 2009, the city awarded RAPS with a two-year contract worth $320,000 per year to operate the shelter and provide daytime animal control services.

That contract expires Feb. 28, according to city spokesperson Kim Decker. According to Decker, no proponent has officially been selected for the new contract.

The animal shelter is located at 12071 No. 5 Rd.

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