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Animals move into new quarters at the Prince William County Animal Shelter

The new Prince William County Animal Shelter opened to the public last Saturday, Nov. 27., and animals are now housed in new quarters of the building of about 28,000 square feet. This is more than four times the size of the 6600 square foot facility it is replacing.

Phase I of the $16.7-million project includes administration sections of the building, said Eric Brunner, assistant director of Facilities Construction Management. Brunner said Phase I is the non-public side of the facility where all of the animals are housed and the veterinary suite.

Phase II, scheduled to open in March 2022, will include housing, play yards and visiting rooms for dog and cat adoptions. There will also be rooms for small mammals. birds, reptiles and a three cat group housing areas.

Anthony Cleveland, chief of the Animal Control Bureau, said, “The new animal shelter features skylights to provide natural lighting that contributes to the health of the animals.  It’s wonderful for them. They’re exposed to sunlight and moonlight and those natural circadian rhythms that keep the animals’ behavior much more normal.”

In addition to its size and amenities, the new shelter will be safer for the animals. Wall and floor surfaces of the new shelter are made of impervious, easily cleaned materials. The heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system will also help keep the shelter clean.

“I think one of the best things about the new shelter is really the health maintenance of the animals,” Cleveland said. “The new facility will allow us to better maintain the health quality of all the animals housed within the facility. We have true isolation for animals who are sick to minimize the spread of illness. Even in the routine housing, the amount of disease spread, and the ability for disease to spread throughout the building is greatly minimized.”

“The existing 6,600-square-foot shelter, which opened in 1975, will be demolished to make room for employee parking, equipment storage, and a barn to house larger animals such as horses, cows, pigs, and goats,” Brunner said.

People who visit the new shelter will feel less cramped. “I think they’ll say it’s a lot more spacious. It’s a lot more open than the old one. It’s going to feel less crowded,” Cleveland said of the new building where construction began in May 2020.

“As far as the new building goes, it’s a huge step up from what they had. If you wander through the old building and then wander through the new building, the difference is remarkable,” Brunner said.

Adoptions will continue as Phase II is being completed.

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