(Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.timesdispatch.com)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The city of Richmond’s animal shelter says it has made huge strides in reducing euthanasia rates to well below the national average.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Wednesday that over the past five years, the shelter’s “save rate” has climbed from 63 percent to 89 percent.

Christie Chipps Peters, who directs the department, says the new rate is “incredible” compared with the national average of around 60 percent.

She says the change is due in part to the rise of social media, which has allowed the shelter to put out calls for adoption when the population reaches critical levels.

(Photo: Shelby Lum/Times-Dispatch)