Using the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, FOX 21/27 has obtained a PowerPoint presentation from the Botetourt County Commonwealth's Attorney's office outlining more possible cases of animal neglect at the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection.
The Botetourt County Commonwealth's Attorney's office visited the Regional Center around April of last year, documenting cases it believed could rise to the level of animal neglect.
The Commonwealth's Attorney's office presented the PowerPoint to representatives from the four localities involved with the Regional Center the following month, May 2011.
Botetourt County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, and Vinton combine to give the Regional Center almost $1,000,000 annually in taxpayer money for the center's operations.
The PowerPoint outlines several cases of alleged animal neglect, including cases where animals went without medical treatment for more than a week.
At least one animal is alleged to have died at Virginia Tech after spending three hours in seizures at the Regional Center, according to the presentation.
Botetourt County administrator Kathleen Guzi said she wasn't in that position during that time frame of April to May 2011.
Guzi said her focus is on assessing the Regional Center's operations today, and that she has seen some improvement over the past few months.
Roanoke County sent us the following statement:
"Roanoke County takes seriously the care and welfare of all animals. County Administrator Clay Goodman was at the May 27, 2011 meeting and was in agreement with the rest of those present that the situations described were totally unacceptable. Following the meeting, Mr. Goodman and the other government managers present sought to establish a program staffed by volunteers to assist with care of the animals at the Regional Center. While this program was being established, Mr. Goodman continued to meet with representatives from the other localities served by the Regional Center to better understand and work through the issues raised regarding how the Center was being operated."
Vinton town manager Chris Lawrence sent us an email with his response:
"I did attend the meeting in May of 2011 as well as several throughout the past year. We expressed our concerns to the executive director and members of the board of the SPCA at that time. The individual concerns over the alleged mistreatment of a couple of [animals] specifically was given to the executive director to respond to. We discussed three goals to address the general issues identified. First, increase volunteer program. Second, reduce the euthanasia rate through increase partnerships. Third, increase the spay and neuter program. Over the past year we have seen improvements in these areas. We do still have concerns and expect more to be done.
We expect to review the Roanoke City auditor's report, once complete, and the special committee established by the SPCA. We are committed to continuing to see improvements at the center to ultimately reduce the euthanasia rate and decrease the huge number of animals sent to the shelter throughout the Roanoke Valley membership communities in the RCACP."
We are still awaiting a response from Roanoke City.
To be fair, we are asking them about a meeting that happened in late May of last year, so it may take some time for them to get back to me.
We will keep you up to date on their response.