IOW breaks ground for animal shelter

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Isle of Wight leaders broke ground Tuesday for the county’s new animal shelter. From left, Supervisor JoAnn Hall, board Chairman Thomas Wright, Sheriff C.W. “Charlie” Phelps, Supervisor Stan Clark, Supervisor Al Casteen, Animal Control Chief Wilbur Sullivan and Supervisor Kenneth Bunch raise their shovels. - Nicholas Langhorne

ISLE OF WIGHT—After about two years of planning, county officials on Tuesday broke ground on a new, nearly $1 million animal shelter.

“We’ve been working trying to get this shelter for quite some time, and it finally looks like it’s going to become a reality,” said Sheriff C.W. “Charlie” Phelps. The new facility is expected to be completed by June 2011.

The facility will have 36 indoor-outdoor kennels, three double indoor-outdoor kennels and 30 cages in the cat adoption room. The building is expected to cost about $953,250.

Newport District Supervisor Stan Clark said Animal Control Chief Wilbur Sullivan invited him to visit the county’s current animal shelter about two years ago, and he was shocked by what he saw.

“I was struck by how inadequate it was, and I was struck by the fact that we made good people like Chief Sullivan and all the other animal control people work in those conditions,” Clark said.

Several members of the Isle of Wight Country Humane Society also attended the groundbreaking. Member Cindy Emanuel said animal control officers are going to need a lot of community support to operate the new facility.

“We’re a growing community, and unfortunately in growing communities animals get turned in,” she said. “They’re just going to need a lot of community support and donations.”

While the new facility is meant to be more “adoption friendly,” humane society member Kim Horne said once families adopt, they should be sure to spay or neuter pets and make sure they have adequate veterinary care.

“If you’re going to adopt, be responsible,” she said. “Don’t just give them a home and tie them in the back yard.”