Thanks to your support, the ARL was honored to comfort and care for 4,407 homeless, lost, abandoned, abused, unwanted, injured or ill animals in 2019. Continuing the lifesaving work we began in 2018, we are thrilled to report we maintained our 88% live release rate for the year, which enabled us to adopt nearly 3,000 animals, return more than 400 animals back to their homes, and place nearly 350 animals with our rescue partners. Throughout the year, we also investigated more than 1,500 animal cruelty and humane law cases and responded to hundreds more complaints. More than 1,250 animals went through our foster program last year, and our new surrender prevention program allowed 127 families to keep their beloved pets rather than give them up to the shelter system.

Even though 2019 was a challenging year with municipal contract negotiations and decreased funding as a result of that, our new executive director, Alexis Pagoulatos, came onto the job in the middle of the year and learned and listened and adjusted our policies so that our community could depend on us to continue to investigate humane law cases and be a safe haven for lost animals in the county. As a result, we rely on fundraising even more than before as our budget has shifted from 15% municipal funding in 2018 to just 11% in 2019–and likely even less in 2020. Our donors are such an essential and needed part of our success; when we say “thanks to your support,” we mean it in every which way. We truly cannot do what we do without you. Thank you!

At times, we know that the ARL has seemingly been a place of disorganization as we’ve rebuilt ourselves and as we’ve re-learned how we can be exactly what our community wants us to be. Today, we are on the cusp of achieving the vision that we set forth when we transformed our way of doing business and decided to become a safe haven and place of second chances for animals who have nowhere else to go, a provider of animal cruelty and humane law investigation, and a reliable and professionally-run non-profit organization. Yes, there have been bumps along the road. Yes, we have made some mistakes. But we have done our very best to learn from them and to do better each and every day. We dig deep because we owe that to the animals in our care, our community and our donors. At the end of the day, we are really, really, really, remarkably proud of the work we’ve accomplished over the past two years and the number of lives we have saved despite our steep learning curve as we’ve completely transformed our organization and its policies.

In 2020, we have exciting plans. We will be launching a new website soon that offers our community a better opportunity to find lost pets quicker than ever before. We plan to offer new events to raise needed funds for the animals in our care. We plan to go on a listening tour throughout the county to hear what municipal leaders want animal control in Berks to look like, and how we can come up with creative solutions together to pay for these services. We hope to freshen our look to reflect who we are today and where we’re going. We plan to rekindle relationships–like we have recently with the Humane Society of Berks County–because we believe passionately that we can do more for the animals in Berks County when we work together rather than against one another.

More than ever before, we’re grateful for your support of our heart-filled, mission-based work. Thank you.