“Pure and simple, we need a place to take animals and this controversy had drawn on too long,” said Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle who has four Animal Control officers on the road in Botetourt County. He was pleased with the decision for the SPCA and Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection or plainly called “the pound” to operate separately on Baldwin Avenue in Roanoke City. Botetourt County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton built the building and funded it with SPCA contracted management.
Recent events in the summer brought to light allegations and factual information about kill rates at the pound under SPCA management. Botetourt County was contributing over $100,000 annually to the regional animal control center under SPCA management.
Yesterday, Nov. 1, the SPCA ended the affiliation. Commonwealth’s Attorney Joel Branscom said of the situation, “Ultimately no man can serve two masters. Both entities will be better off and the animals and the money we contribute to the pound will be used the way we (localities) intend. Hopefully they will be able to co exist beside each other on friendly terms.”
County Administrator Kathleen Guzi described what happens next. “As I understand we are coming off really several years of issues and concerns with the existing arrangement to contract services with the SPCA. Now these will be totally different operations. The localities felt things had changed enough to pursue alternate arrangements. It is time we take ownership.”
Guzi continued, “The four localities’ administrators and managers will form an Executive Committee to hire a manager for the pound.” (Also called Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection or RCACP.) Until then, they will oversee the operations. “The current advisory board is trying to develop policy for the newly independent agency. We are also looking at best practices management for pounds and other animal shelters through out the state.” Ultimately she says the four localities hope they can work to become a no kill shelter.
The Board of Supervisors fund the pound by majority vote. This summer two of the five weighed in about the situation. Blue Ridge Supervisor Billy Martin and Valley Supervisor Mac Scothorn had been an outspoken about their feelings that the operation had to change.
Martin said this morning after the end of the relationship between the pound and the SPCA, “I am so happy that the decision was made to break away from the SPCA in order to protect these animals. They have no one to speak up for them and I think it is shame to be able to kill these animals at someone’s discretion. This will give many dogs and cats an opportunity to live their life at in a loving home.”
Scothorn at his office this afternoon said, ” It was time to change. You have to make sure the public funding is going to serve what it is supposed to serve. There were questions about that and it has even more implication. Thousands of animals were euthanized, most with no opportunity for adoption. It’s over now. We need as communities to move forward and make this an exceptional regional animal pound.”