New Prince William County Animal Shelter

The wait is over! The New Animal Shelter is now open!

We advocated for this new shelter for more than a decade and officially began the campaign on September 28, 2014.  There were postcards, essay contests, poster contests, citizens time presentations, meetings with board members, newspaper articles, and yes, some tears (of frustration early on, of joy now!).  In November 2021, the half of new facility opened and all of the shelter animals moved over into their new homes. A somber sight was seen in January 2022 when the old shelter was demolished. For anyone who has lived in Prince William County and is an animal lover, this is a wonderful time and a huge win for the community.  We are very proud of the work our organization did over these last 8 years.  We were the first to lead the charge and worked tirelessly until the doors of the new shelter opened.  While we may have been the driving force, we were backed by thousands of supporters who wrote letters, filled out post cards, called their supervisors, posted on social media and backed our campaign. Thank you to the community, the Board of Supervisors (especially those members in 2014 who first agreed to listen and make a change) and to the dedicated shelter staff who never waivered for the animals. May the new shelter be a beacon of hope for our beloved companion animals for many years to come.

How did we get here?

September 2014

10th Anniversary Cake PWSPCA

As part of the Prince William SPCA’s 10th Anniversary in September 2014, the board announced it would begin advocating for a new shelter. They announced: “We know this will be a long and difficult journey, but it is necessary. We are the voice of companion animals in Prince William County and they need us.”  

“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

May 2015

Essay Contest

To kick off the advocacy campaign, the Prince William SPCA sponsored an 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. All of the essays were printed, compiled into a booklet and sent to all of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

October 2016

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors unanimously voted to build a new animal shelter and renovate the current HVAC system. The HVAC project was set to begin in January 2016. This is the farthest the project had ever gotten and would be included in the FY2017 budget process. If approved, a new shelter could open in 2019. Read the full Inside Nova article here.

January - May 2016

  • January Budget approval issues.   Community asked to contact Supervisors for support of shelter in 2017 budget.
  • February Support needed to keep the shelter 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). All  citizens were asked to to voice their support during this critical time. The budget was slated to be approved in April.’
  • April Prince William SPCA sponsors poster contest to promote awareness for new shelter.
  • May 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. 
  • May Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) moved the vote on all CIP projects, including the animal shelter, to June 21st. The shelter was competing with several other projects and there was 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. Citizens asked to keep speaking up in support of the shelter. 

June 21, 2016

Vote is Yes! Prince William SPCA thanks 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!

February 14, 2017

Push back for new shelter. At the Board of County Supervisors  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.

May 14, 2017

A news release was posted on the county website 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.

August 1, 2017

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

September 5, 2017

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 bocs@pwcgov.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. #raiseyourpawPWC 

September 19, 2017

Board Approves $14 mil Animal Shelter.

Three years! Yes, 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.

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. Prince William SPCA led three long years of advocating for a new shelter.  The community rallied behind the campaign and all the hard work finally paid off!  Thanks to everyone who emailed the BOCS, spoke at Citizens’ Time and sent in postcards to support this cause. 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

April 2019

Disappointing News.

On Board of County Supervisors received a status update on the new animal shelter. Public Works confirms the shelter will be “Option C” but it is now about 1000 sq. ft. smaller due to combining dedicated space into multi-use space. The project is slightly behind schedule but the County plans to make up time by doing the bid process and plan review simultaneously. Design is complete. Construction begins in August 2019. The full presentation is at 32:00.

October 8, 2019

Another Delay.

Throughout the past five years, our community has overwhelmingly voiced support to address the critically undersized and outdated facility built in the 1970s. We were elated when the Board of County Supervisors approved the new Prince William County Animal Shelter in 2015. We advocated  that “Option C” was an efficient yet not excessive building design. We waited patiently until the construction plan was released in Spring 2019. And now, we continue to wait as the new animal shelter is once again delayed.

The Board of County Supervisors meets on Tuesday, October 8 with Citizens’ Time scheduled on the agenda at 2:00pm and 7:30pm. Be the voice for the animals and help finally move this project across the finish line! Prince William Board of County Supervisors’ meeting agenda for October 8, 2019:

 https://eservice.pwcgov.org/…/agendas/currentagenda.pdf

January 2020

Call to Action!

The construction for the new animal shelter has once again been delayed. Read article here. Due to the delays, costs have increased, and size and quality of the shelter is being decreased. Prince William SPCA is urging all citizens to call or email their Supervisors and ask why this project is taking so long. The community advocated for “Option C” and the Board approved funding for that option, but the specs for the shelter no longer support that option. The longer the county waits, the more will be cut from an already very “basic needs” shelter. County taxpayers asked for, and the county funded, a modern, efficient facility in 2017. Where is that shelter and the accountability? Community asked to take action one more time.

February 18, 2020

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors will hear a presentation on the animal shelter on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 2 PM in the Board Chambers of the McCoart Building, 1 County Complex Court, Prince William, VA. Supporters of Option C are encouraged to attend the meeting to speak at Public Comment (formerly Citizens’ Time). Below are some important talking points about the shelter. Can’t attend the meeting? Email the Board and Chair Wheeler at bocs@pwcgov.org.

Prince William Times Article on Shelter: Delays, cost-saving cuts to new animal shelter spark concerns 

  1. There is a desperate need for a new shelter, yet numerous delays have occurred since funding was approved in 2017.
  2. Construction costs keep rising and the size and quality of the shelter keeps decreasing with each month we do not proceed with this project.
  3. The community advocated for, and the Board of County Supervisors approved funding for, Option C, yet the County is proceeding with a shelter that no longer resembles Option C.  Square footage has decreased by 3,000, the veterinary suite has been removed, cage sizes have been reduced, quality of materials have been downgraded, natural lighting and windows have been removed, ceilings have been lowered, and community/staff areas have been eliminated, reduced or combined. These are not simple design modifications; they are significant changes that should be reviewed by the BOCS and made transparent to the citizens before proceeding with construction.
  4. All Supervisors and Chair Wheeler are urged to visit the animal shelter to see first-hand how deplorable conditions are not only for the animals but for the staff who work there and citizens who visit.  No county building is as run down and antiquated as the shelter.
  5. Delaying this project continues to negatively affect the staff’s ability to do their work, puts the animals at risk of euthanasia and deters the citizens from coming in to adopt. The county needs a modern facility and the staff deserves to work in an environment that matches the standards of all other county facilities.
  6. Prince William County should be like Loudoun County and approve additional funds to build an animal shelter that is right for our community.
  7. Prince William should not be like Stafford County, which cut their animal shelter budget so far that the facility didn’t meet the needs of the community the day it opened.  Less than two years later, it is showing signs of deterioration due to inferior building materials.  Prince William County is better and smarter than that.
  8. In the last five years, Prince William County has built two new $15 mil libraries, taking the total count to 11 in the county.  While we all love our libraries, it is perplexing how we can balk at the cost of one animal shelter, which, unlike libraries, requires specialized building materials and must meet strict standards for care.
  9. The Prince William SPCA has supported the shelter with funding and volunteer hours for 15 years.  In 2019, Prince William SPCA spent $27,000 on microchips, adoption fees, medical expenses, and other supplies that helped support shelter operations. The P.A.W. Express Mobile Adoption van exclusively showcases animals from the Prince William County Animal Shelter.  Prince William SPCA does all of this without funding from the county or national organizations.  All of our funding comes from private donations and is returned to the community in programs that increase adoptions and lower euthanasia rates at the shelter. The work we do is impactful, but it is not enough.  A new shelter, built to the specifications of Option C, is needed and long overdue.
  10. We will not build another animal shelter for 50 years, nor will we get a second chance do this right.
  11.  

February 25, 2020

A special meeting of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors will be held Tuesday, February 25, at 7:30 in the Board chambers of McCoart. All shelter supporters are urged to ATTEND or WATCH this meeting, which will have significant implications on Option C or any newly built shelter.

The board will decide if a new shelter is going to be built or if other options will be pursued. PLEASE ATTEND!

No presentation or documents have been shared with the public except the agenda linked below. CXO Martino will present ”Animal Shelter Options / Alternatives” and Public Comment Time will follow. If you are at the meeting, please speak up. If you cannot attend, use the county’s SpeakUp Prince William. You may also email the full board and Chair Wheeler at bocs@pwcgov.org.

There will be a very short window (two days) for the decision that can have lasting impacts on the shelter, its staff, the animals and community.

Help give the shelter one last push! Let’s get this project across the finish line.

February 25, 2020

New shelter approved!

Finally, we made it across the finish line! Six years and lots of work and effort paid off. Huge win for the animals, staff and community. Congratulations Prince William County, Va.

More on the news.

 

March 13, 2020

New Shelter moves forward!  Construction contract signed. 

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors approved moving forward with the new shelter. The contract was signed in March and surveying has begun at the site.  COVID-19 Update: The new shelter construction will not be affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

Note: We were very fortunate to have the contact signed when it was. Three days later, the county would close due to COVID and halt any pending construction contracts. 

 

November 27, 2021

New Shelter Opens!

WOW! We are super excited to see this $16.7 million project come to life. The new shelter, which partially opens today, replaces  the old shelter that was donated to the county in 1975. The old shelter was 6,646 square feet and the new shelter will be 25,760 square feet once fully completed in the Spring of 2022.

The Prince William SPCA Board of Directors visited the animal shelter for a tour in December 2021. We were blown away by the building, which was only partially opened to the public.