Consultant has ideas for Vance animal woes

Jan. 26, 2013 @ 02:19 PM

A Virginia architect who specializes in animal shelter design said this week that after a recent presentation to Granville County animal welfare leaders he became interested in advising Vance County’s efforts toward shelter upgrades.

Bill Dagget, a Charlottesville, Va., architect and board member of his local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chapter, said that he heard some basics about the Vance County animal shelter problem. He said he wants to help.

Dagget said he does not know details yet about the Liberty Kennels offer or the donated land option, as far as location issues are concerned, but looking at possible advantages and disadvantages is important.

The purchase of a developed kennel may present cost savings, but some disadvantages should be kept in mind.

“The function of an animal shelter is quite different from a typical boarding kennel,” Dagget said. “There are many more aspects to how it runs.”

New, unknown animals should be kept in an observation area, and quarantine operations are another separation factor — with facilities that negate possible contact, according to Dagget.

The fact that the animal control operation would deal with additional animal types is also a factor, along with needed triage and spay-neuter capacity if the county chooses to add those features to the animal control department.

Depending on location issues, developing on donated land may look good as a cost saving option — one with which Dagget said he can offer some direct assistance.

“Our goal is to provide these shelters at lower cost, and in less time,” Dagget said. “We say, save money, save time, and you save animals.”

Dagget’s work in Charlottesville included the distinction of developing one of the first “no-kill” shelters in the nation, a cause he continues to be passionate about.

He said that he shares specialized knowledge about the “no-kill” mission, but because not all localities are ready to implement it, he is willing to work with all local efforts at providing improved facilities for the animals.

“I understand how no-kill works and what is required for it,” Dagget said, adding that he has seen increased adoption rates everywhere improved shelters have opened, “and that’s a start.”

In North Carolina, his shelters are up in Beaufort, Henderson and Iredell counties, under construction in Transylvania and Catawba counties, and in the design or early concept phases for Moore, Currituck and Lenoir counties. He said a needs assessment study is taking place in Surry County.

Eastern North Carolina Humane Society President Peter MacQueen III said that engaging an architect for one of the first open-admission shelters in the country to go “no-kill” is an asset for any county’s efforts for an animal shelter upgrade.

“They have been saving about 90 percent or more of the animals that come in each year since 2006,” MacQueen said. “Animal control is a niche business for (Dagget). He has worked on shelters in several states.”

According to MacQueen, going “no-kill” is a program that includes incremental implementation of methods to increase animal save rates, with the goal of staying on schedule toward never having animals euthanized.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.