CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville-Albemarle Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is saving the lives of dozens of cats and kittens from a county in Florida that’s working to go from one of the highest kill rates in the country to a no-kill county within a few years.

The shelter in Polk County, Florida, is among the top 10 for euthanasia rates in the United States.

As it desperately works to become a no-kill shelter, the CASPCA is stepping in to help.

"Their ordinances require that neonatal kittens without mothers are euthanized automatically when they come into the shelter," Angie Gunter, the executive director of the CASPCA, said.

Four workers from the CASPCA left on Tuesday, April 16, for Florida.

Their work marks the first time a shelter is taking cats from this Florida facility to save their lives.

"SPCA Florida - they are really trying to do life-saving work now,” Gunter said. “Unfortunately, they do rank number one in the state of Florida for euthanasia and number 10 in the country for the highest euthanasia rate."

Now, the team is back home in Albemarle County with over 70 felines and it’s time for a full physical exam.

"We initially just look at the kitten and kind of see its general attitude,” Sarah Towler, a surgery assistant, said. “If it's bright and alert, we look through their coat and their eyes and their ears and make sure everything's clean and we don't see any wounds or parasites."

Gunter says this is the first step to helping save even more animals in the future.

"I think they can make such a big impact with life-saving if they can just start doing this, so we just want to sort of give them the inspiration they can to move forward," Gunter said.

Now, these critters are with partnering shelters for fostering until they find a forever home.

"All of the cats so far look really good,” Towler said. “Most of them that we looked at so far are around eight weeks, so in the next couple of weeks we'll be able to spay and neuter them and get them ready for adoption."

Some of the cats and kittens will be staying at the CASPCA, while others are at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Alexandria.

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