Photos by Marty Gordon
Montgomery County’s new animal shelter is located at 480 Cinnabar Road in Christiansburg.

The new facility sits just a 100 yards from the former dog pound that had drawn complaints and kept the county jumping through hoops to even stay open for the past decade.

The county hopes to demolish the old structure sometime in the future, but for now, all eyes are on the polished 16,300 square foot new shelter at 480 Cinnabar Road in Christiansburg.

A member of the county’s board of supervisors, Mary Biggs, has been instrumental in pushing for the project.

“This has been a project near and dear to my heart for nearly two decades,” she said.

“I’m honored to have been a part of the design of the center and to have help facilitate the true mission and intent of this project—a place for adoptable cats and dogs to find care, aid and forever homes, as well as a pleasant and welcoming resource for the community.”

Dogs now have a more comfortable place to lay their heads and seek a forever home with the opening of a new county animal shelter.

Biggs convinced past supervisors to place money into a reserve fund that covered the $4 million price tag. For the most part, the new shelter was financed through those reserve funds and leftover monies from the new courthouse and public safety building projects.

The facility almost triples the space from the old dog pound, and in addition to areas for strays and adoptions, the center now includes clinical and office spaces along with public classrooms and meeting areas.

Approximately 12,000 square foot is enclosed and 3,700 is a covered space. There is also plenty of room for the dogs to roam outside when they need to stretch their legs. The new facility will be able to handle 68 dogs and 64 cats.

“That is something we really were never able to do, but now we can take cats being surrendered by their owners. We will still not take feral or stray cats,” said Marylyn Wheaton, the shelter’s volunteer and education coordinator.

“One of the biggest things added was a new private isolation area. At the old one, we did not have proper drainage and it was tough to separate the animals from the others. Also, we now have an indoor food storage room. Before, we stored food in a plywood shed and an old ambulance that sat in the parking lot,” she said.

“One of the biggest things added was a new private isolation area. At the old one, we did not have proper drainage and it was tough to separate the animals from the others. Also, we now have an indoor food storage room. Before, we stored food in a plywood shed and an old ambulance that sat in the parking lot,” she said.

There is also a grooming and exam area with a room for surgeries. The county’s recreation department will hold dog training classes in a conference room that community groups can also use upon request.

“This facility is a big improvement on what we used to have,” Wheaton echoed over and over during a tour on Tuesday.

With the expanded facility, the county has also added more staff. Six full-time positions have now been created including a shelter and volunteer director.

The biggest emphasize with the new larger facility is that fact it is a completely no-kill with adoption as its underlying slogan.

Hours of operation will also be expanded at the new shelter—Monday through Friday, 11-6, and Saturday and Sunday 11-4.

Eileen Mahan is the executive director of the animal care and adoption center and said in addition to the services related to animal care, her hope is that people will see the center as a destination place and one for community engagement.

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