Floyd County’s Board of Supervisors surprised some this week with a 3-2 vote to reject a plan that would allow volunteers from the Humane Society to help out at the county animal shelter.

The vote left at least one supervisor — Bill Gardner — visibly angry. Gardner voted to accept the plan that would have allowed the volunteers to help staff the center at no cost to the county. The action came after county administrator Dan Campbell spent several months working with the Humane Society to hammer out a deal.

Courthouse supervisor Jerry Boothe said the "only people" in his district who seem to support the proposal are members of the Humane Society. However, another source tells me that some board members got an earful from another county official at the recent Virginia League of Counties meeting. That official claimed letting the Humane Society into their animal shelter operation ended up with the them building a new $5 million cat shelter.

Just because something like that may have happened in another county doesn’t mean it would happen here. Even our supervisors aren’t that gullible — I hope.

I wonder if something more basic is at work here. It could be a resurfacing of the old "us vs. them" mentality that pits Floyd County locals against the alternative lifestylers.  Listen to the breakfast conversations at The Blue Ridge Restaurant and you hear the guys in the overalls and John Deere hats say the Humane Society is "run by hippies" and shouldn’t be allowed into any part of county government.

If this is really what sent Boothe and fellow supervisors Virgel Allen and Fred Gerald scurrying for cover and voting against the animal shelter then they should be ashamed. They owe the Humane Society and the residents of Floyd County an apology.


  1. I agree with Jeff 100%. I do not condone the fact that animals are being killed the day they are brought in. Thats ludacris. I am not up to date with Animal Control Laws but there has to be a minimum waiting period so that an owner can have the time to locate a lost pet. I don’t think if they pick up my cat/dog today, and I call all around the neighbors and wait a day or two to see if it comes back before I check with the pound that my cat/dog will die by lethal injection.

    My only concern is that the volunteers understand that ACO’s have a job to do and that some animals unfortunately are going to be put down. I think that you have to look at other programs in the NRV as well. I know that some jurisdictions have had volunteers/pound pals and the program takes off great, the pound increases hours and adoption rates and then the volunteers fall away and the ACO’s are left with a overpopulated pound and no help and a county that expects the same level of support from them as they were getting with the help.

    Just give up on the conspirancy theories. There is nothing to hide at the pound. Just procedure and laws to follow that may upset some volunteers.

  2. I see the answer to the question “should I stay in animal welfare once I get to Floyd?” staring me in the face. (It’s a yes.)

    The shelter here in Santa Fe entered into a partnership with city and county Animal Control some years ago. AC does enforcement and we do care. It has worked out very well in terms of operations and over the last decade the shelter has been transformed from a place of death and misery to a place of hope and even joy. It was all due to a few people who had a desire to make the shelter more humane and who showed up week after week to do so. These days we’re considered one of the best in the country. A big part of why is because we provide a clean and healthful environment for the animals as priority number one.

    Floyd sure seems to have gotten it together in so many ways other places have not that I’m sure there’s enough pressure to get the best thing done. I’ll be getting my hands dirty with the rest of the partnership’s supporters very shortly!

  3. First of all, I’m a proud member of the Floyd County Humane Society. We’re a small, all volunteer organization that works hard to find homes for as many “dumped” animals as possible. The negotaions between the County Administrator and the Humane Society to address the request to volunteer at the pound was thorough and detailed with respect for the role of all parties involved. It has never been, nor will it ever be, the goal of the Humane Society to “take over” the pound. A lot of hard work goes into deciding which dogs we can take from the pound, foster and find homes for. As Ms. Luster pointed out, we want to increase adoptions. If you are at all interested in this issue, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR BOS representative. Let your voice be heard. Thank you.

  4. First, I’m not all that informed on the pound/humane society issue but would like to say this..I’m sure the pound could use the help, but I do think there should be ground rules that keeps the ACO in charge and unless it be a violation of law they should make the decisions and those decisions should stand with-out causing issues. I know that some people are just cut out to be trouble makers and those need not apply and I think the ACO should be able to say with reason why someone should be removed as a volunteer. But I think with someone level headed leading the volunteer program it would work.
    I’m not for putting animals down but realize sometimes that it has to happen, Maybe the volunteers could conduct spay and neutering classes to train folks.
    And couldn’t there be a trial period for the volunteers?

    Second, Wasn’t it those so called hippies that raised all that money to make the library project happen..looks like we could use that to modernize the pound..

    And Third…Them Hippies been here long enough…I just call them NEIGHBOR…thats whats so great about Floyd.

    ohhhh…who said it was just hippies that wanted to volunteer??? I might would also…can I wear my tie-dyed shirt?

  5. Jeff, your comment made me laugh out loud….with joy. Very well put, your thoughts. Thank you. The Pound may not have anything to hide, but bringing the Humane Society (or anyone else) in would create more work initially. I’ve never been to the pound…but I imagine it is not as clean as it should be, and that it is set up more for a VERY temporary stay…and not for sustaining health and life for animals. BUT in the long run…the Humane Society could also be involved in regular cleaning and fixing up to make it nicer. I say, let’s keep this issue on the front burner and not get discouraged. New ideas take time to cook and take shape and they might come around. This is a GREAT cause, one long in coming to Floyd (just like recycling) and I ask the Humane Society to keep the public informed in what we can do to help create this cooperative, and keep the faith, all.

  6. I spoke with David Ingram on Friday, I learned two points from that brief discussion.

    He and Mr. Gardner supported the proposal worked out between the Administrator (Dan Campbell) and the Humane Society. In order for the proposal to be revisited one of the Supervisors that voted against, must bring it up for discussion. That would be Virgil Allen, Fred Gerald or Jerry Boothe.

    The proposal included language in which the Administrator would have the authority to continue or decline the involvement of volunteers.

  7. The Pulaski County Humane Society would be happy to discuss our arrangement that we have with Animal Control in the county owned shelter with any Floyd county goverment official. Our door is open. The key is defining who does what and non-interference with each others agencies and respecting differences and working on solutions to help each other to help the animals. The arrangement is not perfect but we have come a long, long way. Our shelter fundraising project opened our eyes to the large number of citizens that truly cared about animals in our community. Last year we sterilized 750 animals utilizing our Spay Clinic located in the county owned facility (plus other venues). That’s a record for us and a win/win for the local tax payer, animal control, and the humane society. We decided to partner with our government for a host of reasons but the first reason was that the most critical animals in need are at the county kill facility and if we opened our own facility we would not be on the front lines, helping those that needed us the most. We also would have spent a lot more tax payer dollars building 2 facilities OR would it have been fair to leave the dumpy county kill shelter and build a nice humane society shelter – leaving them in the dust? We didn’t think it was the right thing to do. Sadly, it sounds like that’s the way Floyd County officials prefer it at this juncture. I hope they can remain open minded and reconsider or at least research the issue further. Humane Societies have a LOT to offer because those that care most about animals in your community are most likely affiliated with them. Floyd county needs to take advantage of all they have to offer – spay/neuter coordination, free donations, supplies, animal treatment funds, donated labor, ETC.

Comments are closed.