It appears Roanoke County leaders are taking the first of many steps in running the regional pound, following the pound's split from the Roanoke valley SPCA's in November.
"It was a step that had to be made," says Chairman Richard Flora. "You do not want to get into the business unless you have to, and in this case, I think we had to do something, and this is the best alternative."
The agreement is the blueprint for running the regional pound. Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Botetourt County, and Vinton will take over. They will also later lease the current pound building from the SPCA, with the option to buy.
The most important part of this agreement is hiring an executive director to start on April 1, 2013. Roanoke City will pay for that position and others.
County Administrator Clay Goodman calls this a joint effort not only between localities, but within the county.
"We want to look at new programs, the best practices throughout the region, pick up on those, and make sure we implement them at the pound," Goodman says. "We also want to bring in our animal control officers to be more involved."
For some time, the pound fell under scrutiny for euthanasia rates. That is not outlined in the agreement, but Flora hopes it is a change that happens with them taking over.
"I want credibility to the pound," he says. "I would hope we would have a positive procedure to allow for maximum adoptions. I don't know that you can adopt 100 percent, but I would hope to adopt out as many animals as possible."