City paying $2.3M for animal shelter project - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

City paying $2.3M for animal shelter project

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

If you're planning on adopting an animal in the City of Richmond, you'll soon see a completely different shelter. The city has awarded $2.3 million contract to a construction firm to expand and renovate the Animal Care and Control Center.

That $2 million of your taxpayer money will lead to about 50% more space at the shelter, but there's a bigger endgame in sight for the construction.

The new Richmond Animal Care and Control Center will go from about 8,000 sq ft to more than 11,000 sq ft. That means they'll be able to take in more abandoned animals. But Acting Operations Manager Chuck Marchant says life for the furry friends and the staff that takes care of them will be improved when this project is complete.

"It's going to be a lot safer and healthier for everybody," he exclaimed.

The new construction will tackle a problem with the layout of two-tiered adult dog runs.

"What that is, is to increase the amount of animals we can keep on the footprint of the site but ultimately it actually endangers both the staff and the animals in the fact that you have to lift the dogs to the top," Marchant explained.

Crews will build three new areas, all ground level.

"All caging that's being brought in is modular caging," Marchant added. "It's got actual stainless fronts so the bacteria, the feces and everything won't adhere to it."

But for a city in tight economic times, some are skeptical about the large sum of money going to this project and not to others who are hurting. Marchant says this shows a dedication to all populations of Richmond and an investment for the future.

"It's going to be a much more inviting atmosphere," he described. "So when people come, it's not going to the old pound facility. They're going to be coming to a state of the art facility that's going to make people happier and more eager to adopt animals and that's really what we're all about."

The project is being done in phases. They're going to have to move some of the animals around, so they don't have to euthanize any of them in the process.

Crews are expected to complete all phases of the project by June 2014.

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