Richmond County moved into its new animal shelter on July 16 and has wasted no time putting the facility to use. “We took in our first animal that same day at 3:30,” Sheriff Stephan Smith told the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.
In the span of two weeks, the shelter had taken in 19 dogs and one kitten. Four adoptions were processed and two animals were returned to their owners, Smith said. He attributed the smooth start to the work put in by his staff in the months ahead of the opening, as well as to the wealth of support from Tractor Supply, local businesses and the county’s citizens. “The whole community really got behind this,” he said.
For the past 20 years, Richmond County had a contract with Westmoreland to house its dogs. About three years ago, “the Board of Supervisors had a vision and decided it was time we build our own shelter,” R. Morgan Quicke, county administrator, told those gathered at the event.
The county worked hard to come up with a suitable arrangement to design this facility to meet the county’s needs but not break the bank. With construction, furniture and other associated costs, the animal shelter cost about $575,000. It can house between 12 and 20 dogs, and includes features such as quarantined dangerous dog area, a laundry room and a kitchen. “I think we got a really good product out of it,” said Quicke. He also noted that “this project would not have been possible without a lot of our key partners who guided us and worked with us.”
“It’s important to remember that an animal shelter is not always for animals that run away. Sometimes people can no longer take care of animals for financial reasons or for health. For the community to come together to support a place where they can be adopted is truly special,” said Senator Ryan McDougle.
“And that’s what makes our area a great place to be. Everyone comes together when there is a need to find a solution,” he added.
Delegate Margaret Ransone also attended the ribbon cutting. “I cannot tell you the joy an animal brings into a home. That’s the importance of the shelter being in this community. The shelter fills a void for the animals and it fills a void for families. You really are doing a great thing here in the community and beyond. We appreciate that you saw the need and you picked up a task and ran with it,” she said.
The animal shelter is located at 12941 Historyland Highway, Warsaw, VA 22572, the site of the old Richmond County Intermediate School. It sits behind the new bus garage. It was important to both the county and the school board to ensure that the campus didn’t become a dilapidated site. The animal shelter is another element in the plan to repurpose that site for good community efforts, said Quicke.
The Richmond County Animal Shelter has already made it possible for four families to adopt local animals in need.