Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Best News To Come Out of Va Beach Since....I Don't Know When

"Brainstorming how to replace the city's run-down animal shelter has hit a new high, but progress remains elusive," reported Aaron Applegate in The Virginian-Pilot on August 11. "The sheriff says inmate labor could renovate a vacant big box store into a new city pound, maybe at the former Kmart on Holland Road."

Well, hot diggity damn, it looks like the Va Beach City Council has a damn fine idea on the table. I believe that where the shelter is located now is actually on Va Beach Police Department property. Once the new shelter has been finished and everyone has been moved in, get the old shelter torn down. I'm sure the VBPD would be able to use that property for training or other purposes. The land doesn't have to go to waste.

I really hope they move forward with it for a few reasons:
  • Va Beach Animal Control is in dire need of replacement and the city just can't swing a brand new building right now. (I've been there...it is kind of a dreary place, but the employees and volunteers there are doing the best they can with what they have. And if they can get a new facility with better drainage and plumbing, this is going to help animals in the long run to stay healthier.)

  • Revamping a currently empty, already existing building could be the quickest (and possibly, the greenest) way to create a new facility for Va Beach Animal Control. And in all honesty, if the shelter can move into another building, maybe it will get them a little closer into town. It seems like quite a haul to get out there. Maybe more people will go to adopt from them if they were in a new location.

  • In the short run, starting work on this might educate the general public about parvo, and how it can be a hard thing to treat. The shelter had an outbreak of it in March of this year. It's a difficult virus to deal with, especially in a shelter. And unfortunately, the bad stuff is what people want to talk about, not about parvo outbreaks that happen other places too. That outbreak will be rehashed again in the media at some point.

  • Why shouldn't some local inmates, those that aren't violent offenders, be able to do some of the work? If the city of Va Beach has to pay to house, feed and care for them, then let them do some work to pay back the city. They shouldn't be getting a free ride while they are locked up.

  • With the economy the way that it is, it makes more sense for the city to take over an empty building. Right off hand, there's the Circuit City building on Independence; what about the old Dell place on Va Beach Blvd (I think that whole strip mall might be empty, near the Bill's Flea Market lot). The article mentions the old K-Mart on Holland Road and the empty Farm Fresh in Centerville. How many other buildings are sitting vacant, looking like abandoned eyesores? I'm sure, from a practical point of view, that local inmates wouldn't be able to do all the work themselves, so the city would have to hire some people, which is good for local employees that need jobs. Shoot, make the shelter bigger than it currently is, and you might have to hire more employees...another bonus!

  • Aside from the possibility of a tax increase to pay for this, this is a money making entity for Va Beach, albeit somewhat of a smaller revenue source. From the shelter's own website:Adoption Prices: Altered dogs $25, Altered cats $20, Unaltered dogs $75, Unaltered cats $70, All other companion animals $15

  • I suppose that if the city pours an extreme amount of money into the new shelter, then adoption prices might have to be raised. But in all honesty, $20-25 for a spayed or neutered animal sounds like a hell of a good price to me. I am biased...pet adoption is the only way to buy love. But then again, you can't beat what the SPCA is doing...WVEC reported there are so many cats and kittens at the Va Beach SPCA is offering free adoptions with some guidelines.

    "Mayor Will Sessoms says maybe the city can partner with the local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to build a new shelter and share services." I hope Mayor Sessoms isn't talking for the sake of a soundbite, considering according to "...Sharon Adams, SPCA executive director...conversations with the city are 'very fluid,' she said. 'Nobody's agreed to anything or talked money.'"

    The city of Va Beach needs to treat their animal control shelter like the investment it is. One way or another, Va Beach needs to find a way to make this work out for Animal Control, and in this case, it's going to require the city to spend some money on it. This is not a business or a charity that's bleeding money. Their current building has served it's purpose and needs to be replaced. Animal Control is not just about adopting out animals that have been turned in, or picking up strays. "The mission of the Virginia Beach Bureau of Animal Control is to balance the health, safety and welfare needs of the people and animals in our City.

    "Our mission is accomplished by working with our citizens and other animal welfare organizations; by enforcing the domestic animals laws of our Commonwealth and our City, providing educational programs and humanely providing care, nourishment and a safe environment for the unwanted, stray, abused and abandoned animals in our City.

    "We will educate the public about responsible companion animal ownership, aggressively investigate animal cruelty cases, find homes for the homeless animals and humanely euthanize the unwanted animals in our community."


    1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



    2. Betty--
      Thanks so much for reading! I checked out your site this morning...a fellow pet lover! Very cool!