Just five months after the Scott County Animal Shelter was destroyed by fire, volunteers representing the Scott County Humane Society and county officials held a ceremonial ground-breaking event last week at the site of the new shelter.
Located adjacent to the Solid Waste Convenience Center in Daniel Boone, the new facility is much more visible and easily more accessible from Highway 23. And that should help increase the number of dogs adopted and reduce those that have to be put down.
Under beautiful blue skies on Thursday, officials tossed the first bit of soil in honor of the new 30-foot by 100-foot steel building that is under construction. The shelter is expected to be open sometime this summer.
From the ashes of the fire at the former animal shelter that occurred Dec. 3, 2014 at the county landfill has grown a unique partnership between Scott County officials and the Scott County Humane Society. The humane society, in conjunction with local veterinarians, found homes for the 13 dogs housed in the shelter when the fire struck. And they have discovered a brand new role for the organization as they led efforts to raise funds for the new shelter.
Bob Barker, a member of the Scott County Humane Society Board of Directors, explained that the organization had brought in more than $22,000 in donations and goods since the fire had destroyed the shelter.
“The charitable donations we have raised thus far are in excess of $22,000,” Barker said. “Of this total the humane society has spent nearly $6,000 for indoor kennels and the remaining balance will be used as needed to equip the building.”
He added that the Scott County Humane Society intended to continue its quest to assist the animal shelter.
“We expect this new location will greatly increase the adoptions and placement of more dogs and a smaller number of euthanizations being done,” Barker stated. “We appreciate the work that Rick Barger, Ted Ross and Jake Dougherty have done over the years and I know they are looking forward to the opening of this new facility.
“This new location will also encourage more volunteers to assist with adoptions and our low-cost program for spay and neuter. Our group will be a visible presence here as we will conduct our monthly meetings in the new meeting room being built.”
An animal welfare organization in Staunton offered 70 dog kennels, valued at $1,000 each, to the county for $150 per kennel. The Scott County Humane Society bought the kennels for the new animal shelter.
They have also secured the promise of funds from the Wadlow Gap Ruritan Club to be used to purchase furniture for office/reception areas.
The new shelter is located on 6 acres of county-owned property, off of Singletree Road. It will be three times the size of the former shelter and will include a meeting room/classroom.
Construction of the new facility is estimated at $150,000 with $60,000 from insurance proceeds from the December fire paying the majority of the cost. The additional funds needed will come from the sale of surplus equipment.
According to county officials, the insurance money plus sales from the surplus equipment enabled the county to pay for the new shelter without using funds from next year’s budget.
Scott County Public Works Director Bill Dingus believes there may be a slight increase in operational funds due to the larger-sized facility but thinks the number of animals adopted will also increase.
“More than 20,000 cars travel this road every day,” he said. “We expect that more people will go by this site then have in the past 40 years at the old site. We have taken an adverse situation at the former shelter and have made it an asset and improvement for the county…it’s a good feeling when you see this kind of cooperation.”
The humane society hosts its annual yard sale later this month with proceeds benefitting the new animal shelter. The sale will be held Saturday, May 30 at the former Food City location in Weber City.
Local persons who want to donate items for the sale can drop them off on the Saturdays preceding May 30 (May 9, 16 and 23) from 10 a.m. to noon at the site.
The society is also seeking some other items to be used at the new shelter.
”Our other needs are a bathing and grooming area with an elevated bath tub, a heavy duty washer and dryer for cleaning bedding and storage cabinets for supplies,” Barker explained. “Another top priority is an outside door that will provide easy access to a large fenced area for dogs.”
Tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Scott County Humane Society, P.O. Box 1535, Gate City, Va. 24251. Donations are also being accepted at all New Peoples Bank locations.
Donations can also be made through PayPal on the humane society’s website, www.scotthumane.org
During Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Scott County Board of Supervisors Chairman Danny Mann noted “a dire situation in Scott County has really turned into a positive for the county and animals that end up in the shelter for whatever reason.” He added, “We are looking forward to the Ribbon Cutting and Open House of the new Animal Shelter. This is going to be a facility that can meet the needs of the county’s animal population with care and dignity.”
Mann added that the board had originally considered selling the Daniel Boone property but its new use was a “win-win” situation for the entire county. He also publicly thanked Charles Bullock of Stonebridge Kennels, who has provided a temporary shelter for county use at a minimal cost.
To get involved with the Scott County Humane Society, contact Robin Skeen at 479-3179. The group meets the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Family Bakery in Gate City. All interested persons are invited to attend.