It was a warm welcome for the man city and county leaders named as the new executive director for the Roanoke Center for Animal Control and Protection, David Flagler.
"I do not sense I am coming in and correcting a big problem," Flagler said. "We just need to find new direction."
For years, the pound was criticized for its euthanasia rates. Flagler wants to turn things around by increasing the live release rate, specifically for cats. As you may remember, Botetourt County removed its cats from the pound when they feared they may be euthanized. County representative Tony Zerrilla says he hopes to bring them back.
"We are looking for improvement in that area, and with David's experience we are hoping he will be able to manage that process and improvement compared to where we are now," Zerrilla says.
Facility improvements are another priority, to make sure there are things like proper medical care. Roanoke City is prepared to give an additional $150,000, says Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill.
But the changes need community support, says Flagler.
"Our future is in our placement partners. The future of this animal shelter is in the community."
He says he plans to partner with adoption groups to get more animals adopted, like the recent event at Dickens of a Christmas, when pound dogs in downtown Roanoke were adopted.
"He brings the willingness to partner with others," Morrill said. "It needs to be a community effort to reduce the euthanasia rate."