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New Dare County Animal Shelter officially opened

On a gloriously sunny and warm March 31, Dare County officials and partners cut a long blue ribbon in front of the new county animal shelter.

Commissioners and directors of Outer Banks Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and animal shelter staffers cut that ribbon, celebrating a brand new, equipped shelter that’s safe and comfortable for animals in the county’s care.

The project started a year ago in April 2020. The ribbon cutting marked its completion.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert L. Woodard presided over the ceremony. He credited commissioner Rob Ross with getting the shelter project started. He quoted Ross as saying “we could do better for the animals and staff.”

The new shelter is located at 378 Airport Road on Roanoke Island. It’s next to the Emergency Operations Center and Dare County Regional Airport and across from the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. In front of the shelter is a fenced dog park.

The old shelter on Driftwood Drive frequently flooded, forcing animal evacuation. Equipment and space were inadequate.

The new shelter and adoption center is a one-story, masonry and steel, brick veneered and metal panel sided building. The building is about 8,700 square feet with a finished elevation around 13.5 feet. Sound boards are installed to reduce noise. Water hoses are suspended from the ceiling on reels. The HVAC system recycles all air several times an hour.

Woodard said the facility is “a more welcoming and nurturing atmosphere for adopters.” In a cat and kitten adoption area is an area called “Book Buddies” with instructions to “grab a book, pick a spot and read! – please use inside voices.”

Directly off the lobby area are two areas where adoptable dogs and cats in a playroom are featured.

Dare County and Outer Banks SPCA have a 30-year partnership. That partnership started in 1992 when the county agreed for the society to take over animal control and the county’s shelter. In the new building, animal control officers have an office. Space for dogs in protective custody is available.

At the podium, Chrissea Rothrock, director of shelter operations, said “I have worked at the Outer Banks SPCA for 11 years and to walk into this new facility brings me to tears. I am so overwhelmed with joy knowing that all our animals will be safe and can rest comfortably while they wait for their forever homes.”

A highlight of the ceremony was a parade of animals.

Both Woodard and Rothrock acknowledged boards and staff that made the project happen.

Woodard acknowledged commissioners present: Vice Chairman Wally Overman, Jim Tobin, Ervin Bateman, Danny Couch and Steve House. Commissioner Rob Ross was out of town.

Both Woodard and Rothrock saluted the Outer Banks SPCA Board of Directors: Mark Strausbaugh, president; Laurie Amatucci, secretary; and directors Tracey Swain and Amy Seyler. Those board members who could not be present are Bobbie Stager, vice president; Laura Twichell, treasurer; and Janie Walters.

Woodard and Rothrock saluted Dare staff members who worked on the project: county manager Robert L. Outten, finance director David Clawson, project manager Brent Johnson, purchasing agent Dustin Peele and public information officer Dorothy Hester.

Also praised were architect Dan Costello with the firm Waller Todd & Sadler and contractor Whiting Turner Contracting Company of Chesapeake, Va. and its representatives.

Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie gave the invocation. Rothrock thanked the sheriff and town police departments for assistance provided to the SPCA’s animal control department.

Also praised by Rothrock were all the local veterinarians and staff for “tireless dedication in helping us save and ensure these animals get the care that is needed.” Volunteers and staffers were also named.

The cost of the new facility is $6,596,988.

Adoption hours at the new animal shelter are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March through September the shelter is open until 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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