Waynesboro’s Next Steps to Saving Local Shenandoah Animal Shelter


LYNDHURST – The Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center continues to endure the stress of endless animals and limited staff. In the most recent alternative effort to save the refuge, citizens want to make sure everything is done right.

Waynesboro issued a request for proposals on October 19 to begin the process of selecting a contractor to take responsibility for the shelter, including:

  • Monitoring of all animal inputs
  • Billings
  • annual state inspections
  • report preparation
  • staff recruitment and training
  • implement volunteer service programs
  • community education programs
  • Fund raising
  • facility management
  • disaster preparedness

The decision to offer the shelter comes after years of staff issues and challenges with large numbers of animals, issues former manager Hannah Richardson spoke candidly about when working with the shelter during the summer.

In July, the shelter was half-working and looking for more people to apply, with support from city council and the Waynesboro city manager. Currently, the shelter works with three full-time and seven part-time employees.

One of the reasons the shelter has such a high capacity is because of its policy that the shelter cannot refuse animals and is obligated to accommodate stray animals, Richardson said this summer. The shelter will help animals who need medication, amputations and 24-hour care.

It’s an emotionally demanding job to work with any pet store, but according to Amy Hammer, a former shelter worker who posted her experience with the shelter on Facebook, the animal center has one of the best savings rates. state, and she wanted residents to know what was at stake.

“I ran the shelter when it opened until a manager could be hired. They first told me that I was not allowed to adopt animals. I could have them saved or slaughtered. . There were no vaccines, no dewormer and only a vet to take care to avoid the worst suffering until an animal could be euthanized, ”Hammer, a former animal control officer, wrote publicly. , on Facebook. “It was hell.”

But things have changed, she says. The refuge has gained a foothold. During its nearly decade of existence, the refuge has managed to maintain a high savings rate, despite its constant challenges over the years.

“The SVASC staff have achieved this incredible rate of savings with a building that is too small, a workweek that is too long, and a salary far below what it is worth,” Hammer said on Facebook. “They can’t keep a manager because the pay is too low for a position that is so exhausting mentally, physically and emotionally. I think that’s why SAW got frustrated and just wants to give this job to someone else. ‘other.”

During the last state inspection of the Animal and Food Industry Services Division of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the inspector reported that there were no significant findings of non-compliance, despite the difficult staffing situation throughout the summer.

“The success of the shelter and its service to the animals in the community is deserving of gratitude. The staff and volunteers of the shelter should be honored for their success and dedicated service,” said Waynesboro City Manager Michael Hamp. “The various rescue, support and defense groups in the region are also recognized. Their contributions and support over the years have been essential to the success of the shelter.

Hamp also serves as the authority figure for the shelter, along with Augusta County Administrator Timothy Fitzgerald and Staunton City Manager Steve Rosenberg. He added that the RFP is a way to provide adequate and skilled staff to shelter operations, especially during such a tough job market.

While the RFP may offer a viable solution to shelter management issues, it depends on who is applying.

In the application form, the Town of Waynesboro details the responsibilities of the contractor if he assumes the management of the refuge. It also includes the 2022 budget for the shelter, and 2021 expenses and income.

Shenandoah Valley Animal Service Center Income and Expenses

Following:The Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center is half working, and they feel the shortage.

Applicants for the proposal will be graded and evaluated in five categories to determine if they would be a good fit for the takeover of the shelter, including:

  • Experience in operating animal shelters (25 pts)
  • Knowledge and understanding of VA City and Commonwealth Code requirements (15 pts)
  • Operating model and methodology (25 pts)
  • Qualifications of staff assigned to the shelter and experience (15 pts)
  • Demonstrated ability to meet scope requirements (20 pts)

Proposals will be accepted until 2 p.m. on December 1, 2021 before officials close the tender window and assess applicants. Waynesboro plans to complete evaluations of the proposals by the week of December 13.

Advocates for the shelter in the community, including Hammer, encourage citizens to speak with their local governments to ensure the right contractor is chosen to continue the shelter’s legacy and high savings rate.

“Board members may not realize the extent of how this could affect everyone,” Hammer said in his community call to action. “This contract could very well rob us of what we have been working on over the past decade and cost thousands of animals their lives in the future! We expect the animals in our community to be rescued and cared for, no matter who runs the shelter!

For more information about the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center, visit https://svasc.net/.

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– Alison Cutler (she / she) is the government watch reporter at The News Leader. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Contact Alison at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ alisonjc2.

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