Wonderful News! BOCS Votes to Approve $14 mil Animal Shelter
On Tuesday, September 19, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) voted 7 to 1 to approve funding Option C: New Construction for the Prince William County Animal Shelter. After three long years of advocating for a new shelter, WE DID IT! Thanks to everyone who emailed the BOCS, spoke at Citizens’ Time and sent in postcards to support this cause. Our community rallied to make this happen! Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Well, we changed the world for thousands of companion animals! Great job Prince William County! #raiseyourpawpwc
How We Got Here: Advocacy Timeline
Three years! Yes, the Prince William SPCA began advocating for a new animal shelter in 2014. We announced at our 10th anniversary celebration that the group’s efforts would focus on educating the community about the need for a new shelter. While there were many ups and downs, we are thrilled that on September 19, 2017, the BOCS voted “yes” to building the much-needed shelter. Here is the timeline of the last 3 years…
September 19, 2017 – Final Vote Scheduled
On Tuesday, August 1, 2017, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors heard a presentation from county staff on several options for a new animal shelter. Based on that presentation, the Board will vote on a funding plan on September 19, 2017. The Prince William SPCA, which has been at the forefront of the advocacy campaign to build a new shelter, endorses Option C: New Construction. The organization is asking the public to join them in their support of Option C and be the voice for companion animals in the community.
September 5, 2017 – Show Your Support for a New Shelter
The final vote is expected to take place on September 19, 2017. Before that time, the Prince William SPCA is asking everyone in the community to contact the supervisors at firstname.lastname@example.org and urge them to vote for Option C. There is a board meeting on September 5th where citizens can come and speak in support of the project. We need the community to get behind this effort one more time to push it across the finish line. Animal lovers, citizens, shelter volunteers, vet offices, animal rescue organizations, pet sitters, dog trainers—it’s time to speak up. We won’t get a second chance to do this right.
August 1, 2017 – BOCS Presentation on 4 Shelter Funding Options
County staff made a presentation to the Board of County Supervisors on Tuesday, August 1 at 2 PM in the Board Chambers of the McCoart Building (1 County Complex Court). They were given four options to consider for the new shelter. The public was asked to weigh in on the options and contact their supervisors with feedback. The Prince William SPCA endorses Option C: New Construction. Review the presentation here: New Animal Shelter Presentation
May 24, 2017 – Discussion to Take Place Summer 2017
A news release was posted on the county website May 23 updating the community on the progress of the new animal shelter. County staff will bring forward animal shelter improvement options to the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) this summer, and then move forward with final architectural and engineering designs in Fiscal 2018. Read the news release here. Support this very important campaign!
February 14, 2017, At the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) meeting, funding for the new animal shelter was briefly discussed as part of the proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP). While the new animal shelter is still in the planning and design phase, there appears to be push back from several members of the BOCS on the potential price tag to address the under-sized and outdated shelter that has been ignored for decades. The BOCS approved $1 million in funding for planning and design of a new animal shelter and allocated the debt service in the CIP for a new shelter. Despite this initial investment, and the overwhelming support for this project from the community, the BOCS may not move forward with a new, centralized animal shelter based on this recent discussion. The animal shelter is not part of the 2018 budget, but funding to move the project forward will be voted on in May/June 2017 with the CIP.
June 21, 2016 – Vote is Yes! Thank you to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for listening to the citizens who wanted a new shelter. They voted to fund the planning and design of the shelter and the funding for the building and operations in the 5-year plan. A huge shout out to everyone who called, emailed and visited their supervisors and for all who spoke at Citizens’ Time. We are proud to have led the charge and so very happy for the animals this new shelter will help. The work on the shelter plans should begin in the county’s FY 2017 (which began July 1, 2016). We will keep up with this process and post more information as we learn more. Thank you to everyone who helped with this successful campaign!
May 11, 2016 – Budget Passes; No Animal Shelter Vote Until June 21
Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) moved the vote on all CIP projects, including the animal shelter, to June 21st. The shelter is competing with several other projects and there is a risk of not receiving funding this year. This is too large of a problem to push off until next year or beyond, especially since it will take years to build. Keep speaking up in support of the shelter. Contact Chairman Stewart and the supervisors at to let them know that funding anything less than a new shelter is ignoring the problem that will not go away.
May 10, 2016 – Budget Vote on the Animal Shelter is May 10!
In October 2015, the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) voted unanimously for a resolution to build a new animal shelter in Prince William County. The BOCS was expected to decide how to finance the new building in December 2015. Funding options included end-of-year savings from the fiscal year 2015 budget or the BOCS could have opted to finance the project through bonds. Now seven months after the initial resolution, the BOCS is soon to complete the fiscal year 2017 budget cycle and funding for a new animal shelter is still uncertain. Please contact Chairman Stewart and the supervisors at email@example.com to let them know that funding for a new animal shelter needs to be a priority for the county. Thank you for being a voice for the animals!
February 28, 2016 – Shelter in Proposed 2017 Budget, BUT needs your support to stay there!
Show your support for the shelter and help keep it in the Proposed 2017 Budget (page 497 of the budget and 514 of the entire PFD file) as part of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). We need all citizens to voice their support during this critical time. The budget will be approved in April so please don’t wait!
January 30, 2016 – Our Work is Not Over! We STILL Need Your Voice! There is plenty of work that still needs to be done to keep the shelter improvement plan moving. While the Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted unanimously in October to move forward with a new animal shelter, the funding has not been identified or approved. The budget process for 2017 is now underway and we need your voice to let them know you want the shelter included in the 2017 budget.
October 6, 2015 – New Animal Shelter for PW County! The Prince William SPCA thanks the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for their unanimous vote to build a new animal shelter and renovate the current HVAC system. The HVAC project will begin in January 2016. The new shelter will be included in the FY2017 budget process and, if approved, expected to be completed in 2019. Read the full Inside Nova article here.
May 31, 2015 – Essay Contest Raises Awareness for Local Animal Shelters The Prince William SPCA sponsored the 2015 Essay Contest: Why Animal Shelters are Important to Communities. Students in grades 3-12 living in Prince William County submitted essays and competed for than $1,300 in awards. The contest inspired young animal lovers to write about the importance of local animal shelters. The contest gave them a medium to express their feelings and thoughts on the topic. Many students visited a shelter, talked to shelter staff, discussed the topic with teachers or classmates, and researched the topic on line. Read their inspiring essays here.
September 29, 2014 – PWSPCA Launches Shelter Campaign As part of the PWSPCA’s 10th Anniversary in September 2014, the board announced it would begin advocating for a new shelter. “We know this will be a long and difficult journey, but is necessary. We are the voice of companion animals in Prince William County and they need us.” More on the launch of this campaign…
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead
Here are ways you can help:
- Educate yourself about the issue. Used this webpage to learn about the facts and why the need for a shelter is so great.
- Spread the word to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Used Facebook, Twitter, email and other electronic media to share the message and help to educate others about this issue.
- Join the #RaiseYourPawPWC campaign! Showed us your fur baby and tag the photo on social media.
- Visit the shelter at 14807 Bristow Road, Manassas, VA 20112. Take a virtual tour here.
- Write a letter to your County Supervisor and to Chairman Stewart expressing your support for this initiative. Sent your letter electronically to the entire Prince William Board of County Supervisors, use this email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Email/Phone/Address for individual Board members: HERE
- Visit with your elected official. More on their office can be found here.
- Speak at a Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting during citizen’s time. The schedule is available here. Citizens may address the BOCS for no more than 3 minutes.
Why we need a new animal Shelter:
About the Shelter Prince William County has a municipal animal shelter that serves the needs of more than 450,000 residents. The Prince William County Animal Shelter has reached a critical point where it can no longer adequately serve the residents or the animals in its care. On an annual basis, the shelter receives 180,000 walk in requests, 12,000 calls for service, and 7,000 animals that need processing. In 2012, 47% of all animals were euthanized. The Prince William County Animal Shelter’s intake numbers are comparable to Fairfax County’s Animal Shelter, which was recently renovated and expanded at a cost of $11 million. Additionally, Fairfax County is building a new animal shelter as part of a new $30 million police station. Stafford County, which has 136,000 residents, is currently building a $5.6 million animal shelter.
The Problems The antiquated, 42-year-old facility has insufficient space for the intake numbers, and lacks necessary features such as separate areas for exams, adoptions, grooming, quarantine, euthanasia, training, visitation and equine/livestock. The living conditions at the shelter threaten the health and safety of the staff and animals that are exposed to diseases that require weeks of antibiotics, and often result in euthanasia for many animals.
County Recognizes Shelter as a Critical Need According to county documents, the shelter is well beyond its useful life and is deteriorating rapidly. A new shelter has been on the county’s “Unmet Critical Needs” list since ‘12. The county has never built an animal shelter. The current facility was built and donated by a nonprofit in 1975.
“Adoption Guarantee” Recently, the shelter has become an “Adoption Guarantee” facility, however, animals are still being euthanized because of the inferior living conditions offered by an inadequate, outdated facility. Due to lack of space, animals that enter the shelter system healthy often become sick, need medical attention, are administered costly treatments, and are often euthanized despite the shelter staff’s efforts. The “adoption guarantee” policy cannot be fully effective until a new shelter is built.
Need for a Solution By Virginia law, the county must care for abandoned or stray animals, so eliminating this service is not an option. The only solution is for the county to immediately invest in a shelter improvement plan that will not only improve conditions for the animals and staff, but will result in saving money and generating more funds for the county through adoption fees. A new shelter will expand and improve the living environment which will better contain disease and outbreaks, resulting in healthier animals. Fewer sick animals means more animals will be available for adoption, which will increase revenues and attract more residents to visit the facility. An expanded working space will aid in the efforts of caring for animals involved in cruelty and hoarding cases as well as provide a more professional working environment for the shelter staff. Residents are more likely to visit a new facility with a dedicated adoption area and a reputation of animals that are healthy. A new facility will:
- better serve the growing demands for providing shelter and care to the abandoned, abused and neglected animals in PW County
- include a state-of-the-art air exchange system, the use of lots of natural light and larger kennels and cages.
- improve the living conditions of the animals and workers
- save the county money by euthanizing fewer animals/adopting out more healthy animals
- assist in caring for animals involved in cruelty and hoarding cases
- attract more residents to the facility, resulting in more adoptions
- improve the shelter’s ability to control disease outbreak, resulting in euthanizing fewer animals
- keep residents from seeking out newer, more attractive animal shelters in other jurisdictions.
The cost for the Shelter Improvement Plan will be approximately $12.5 Million (according to county plans). The new plan would:
- Renovate existing facility.
- Build a new 37,000 sq. ft. shelter that includes an adoption room, exam room, equine/livestock area, feed and equipment area, grooming area, quarantine area, and visitation room. Dog and cats will be housed on separate sides of the new facility.
- The Board of County Supervisors will be presented with 3 options in May or June of 2017. We support one, centralized animal shelter that meets the needs of our community.
Did you know?
- The county has never built an animal shelter. The existing shelter was donated to the county by a local nonprofit group in 1975.The shelter has been on the county’s “Unmet Critical Needs” list since 2012
- Prince William County is the second largest county in Virginia with a population of 450,000 people, is the 12th wealthiest county in the United States, and is 1 in Virginia for job growth
- A new animal shelter has been included in county budget discussions appearing as a Board of County Supervisors unfunded strategic goal priority for 2013-2016 and again during discussions on the FY 2014-2019 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). It is currently in the 2017-2022 CIP.
- Stafford County is currently building a new $5.6 million animal shelter and their population is 136,000 (Prince William’s is 450,000)
- Fairfax county’s animal shelter was just recently renovated at $11 million with an additional animal shelter included in a new $30 million police station
- The current shelter receives 180,000 walk in requests, 12,000 calls for service annually
- In 2012, 47% of the animals were euthanized
- The cost to euthanize and dispose of an animal is $25.79
- The cost to house an animal for one day is $164.26
- Sick animals, on average, cost the county approx. $72.93/stay above the housing cost
- Fee charged for each animal adopted is $45
- The county would not need to invest in any additional property for the new facility. The current property is large enough for expansions.
- By Va. law, the county must provide a shelter for stray, abandoned or unwanted animals