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Letters: RAPS balances business, care of animals

Dear Editor, It has been an honour for the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) to operate the City of Richmond Animal Shelter since 2007.
raps
RAPS has been delivering the city's animal control and shelter contract since 2007. File photo

Dear Editor,

It has been an honour for the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) to operate the City of Richmond Animal Shelter since 2007.

However, as the city begins  redeveloping the shelter, council has decided to partner with our friends at the BC SPCA to accommodate the animals during the next two-year period of construction. BC SPCA has a constellation of shelters that can welcome the animals from Richmond, whereas RAPS would have needed to construct an entirely new, temporary shelter, something RAPS could not afford. RAPS understands the city’s decision.

A recent letter in these pages imagines some sort of intrigue in which the city conspired to deprive RAPS of the shelter operations. In fact, the city’s decision makes sense.

More concerning are assertions that the governance of RAPS is somehow prioritizing “successful business infrastructure” over “compassion and care.” 

As nonprofit organizations grow, successful ones adapt and apply best business practices to the nonprofit sector to better save funds to invest in community programs.

Since 2016, RAPS has gone from assisting 1,500 animals to 15,000 animals per year.

We have more volunteers, more members, our administrative costs are among the lowest in the nonprofit sector, and we have been recognized this year with several community awards.

To interpret these achievements as demonstrating anything but great support for RAPS requires a very particular sort of misunderstanding.

There is no conflict between applying the “head” of business principles with the “heart” of caring for animals — indeed it is the ideal path for a future of more and better care for the animals.

As we have made changes, a small number of disgruntled individuals and online warriors have disapproved of our progressive initiatives and professionalization.

We owe it to the animals to operate the most efficient, effective charity possible. That is what we will continue to do — without apology.

Happy holidays and we look forward to even greater achievements in 2021!

Eyal Lichtmann

CEO, RAPS

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