The Prince William Board of County Supervisors agreed to construct a new 28,105 square-foot animal shelter, which will cost $14.1 million.
The new shelter will be constructed according to the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. The material to be used and the ventilation system to be installed will provide a more lasting and humane facility for the animals and staff.
The new shelter will have 106 double-sided cat kennels and 56 double-sided dog kennels. Separate spaces will be provided for small mammals, reptiles and birds. The new shelter will also include offices for animal control, dedicated rooms for animal isolation, quarantine and recovery, a multi-purpose room for staff and the community, an adoption lobby and complete veterinarian space.
The current shelter, which was built in 1975 by community volunteers and expanded in 1990, has been in need of replacement for many years. "I've been on the board almost 14 years, and we've been talking about the need for a new shelter for at least that long," said Marty Nohe, Coles District Supervisor. "For years…we had other public safety priorities. But after hearing from citizens and the many emails we have received on this, the time has come to make this a priority for the community."
The cost of the animal shelter was a significant point of consideration for the board. "All of our options are expensive; there's no doubt about it," said Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson. "I asked for the audit on the animal shelter, and I think the audit was clear. We have some high risk problems, and most of them were related to the facility itself."
To the critics who questioned whether the County spends money on other priorities, Anderson noted that the board budgets $70 million per year to help homeless and people in need in the county. She also stated that, "[Fire and Rescue] Station 26 cost over $11 million. Central District Police station about $30 million. The Parkway Elementary school that is going to open in 2019, $32 million. We're adding 13 rooms to three of our elementary schools in the Occoquan District; each one of those schools is going to be about $11 million."
Prince William Board of County Supervisor's Chairman Corey Stewart noted, "In 2006-2007 timeframe, this county had a massive recession. We froze everything with a couple of exceptions. We continued to build schools, and we continued to hire police, fire and rescue, and teachers," Stewart said. "When we came out of the recession, our priorities were to get the road program going again…Then we turned our attention to parks, we put probably around $60 million into our park system. In the last couple of years, we opened two new libraries — one in Gainesville, one in Montclair — and now we are turning our attention to the animal shelter. It's a long time coming. It's the right thing to do. This is going to take care of our animal shelter needs for the next 40 years."