Animal advocates in favor of keeping SVASC run by localities

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 11:52 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - In Waynesboro, animal advocates were back Monday night asking the city to keep the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center with the localities. But Waynesboro, which oversees the management of it, says it’s having trouble keeping it staffed.

Waynesboro City Manager Mike Hamp says it’s not an issue of high turnover, but rather filling open spots. Animal advocates say raise the pay.

During a City Council meeting Monday night, Mike Hamp shared the motive for getting bids from outside agencies to potentially run the shelter.

“The primary objective initially in the RFP is to explore the ability to furnish adequate staff capacity to operate the facility presumably at the current service level,” Hamp said.

He added that it’s not an attempt to cut costs. Hamp pointed out three key things speakers said at the last council meeting. They wanted a minimum 90% animal save rate, no reduction in medical care for animals, and a desire to preserve relationships with rescue agencies and advocacy groups.

“I wanted to acknowledge the emotion and passion that most of those speakers presented with, but also point out that much of the content of their message are expressions of ideas that we can incorporate into the process as we move forward,” Hamp stated.

Animal advocates say it’s time for other localities to take a turn at managing the shelter and pay staff a better wage.

“The people who are there are committed to what they are doing,” shelter volunteer Jean Fraser said. “I mean, and they are being paid a ridiculous amount of money compared to what you would make at a turkey plant or a fast food joint.”

“I’d really like for you guys to consider some adjustments in the budget that one would accommodate the salary of the director to be comparable to the market in other localities that are paying those positions and also the staff,” Renee Clark, a Cat’s Cradle board member, said.

Rescue agencies, specifically Cat’s Cradle and Augusta Dog Adoptions, say they want to help localities and are encouraging them to reach out.

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