Pittsboro, NC – Members of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office recently unveiled a newly redesigned Animal Resource Center (ARC) on Renaissance Drive in Pittsboro. The ARC Grand Opening event was a week-long celebration, running October 25th – 29th, which highlighted different groups of visitors each day, such as county leaders and employees, volunteers, rescues and non-profit organizations, medical professionals and veterinary students, fellow law enforcement agencies and first responders, ranchers, agriculturalists, and more. The event drew a diverse crowd with one thing in common: a profound love of animals.
Visitors were treated to a guided tour of the sprawling new facility, which boasts almost triple the floor space (nearly 11,650 sq. feet) and roughly double the housing capacity of the old shelter (now able to house over 200 animals). The ARC also features state-of-the-art technology and design elements to improve safety and cleanliness, maximize animal enrichment opportunities, streamline services to the public, and provide enhanced care for lost, abandoned, or injured animals.
Each visitor received a free, pet-friendly token of appreciation and entry into the ARC Grand Prize Drawing to be held at the end of the week. Phillip Spangler of Pittsboro was announced as the lucky winner on Saturday, October 30, at the Pittsboro Street Fair.
“I was extremely impressed with the facility and the professionalism of the staff,” says Ashley Robbins, Dairy Specialized Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. “It is obvious that a lot of effort went into planning and anticipating potential demands. They really thought of everything! From animal enrichment spaces to isolation rooms for sick animals and whelping rooms for expecting or recovering mothers, every space has a purpose and fulfills a need.”
Robbins adds that she was also surprised to learn about the many partnerships between the Sheriff’s Office and other organizations, such as the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine and several local businesses.
“I had no idea, but it is great to hear that kind of teamwork is going on behind the scenes for the benefit of local animals and residents,” says Robbins. “Taking the tour was a really cool, eye-opening experience! I’ve never heard of an animal care facility offering so many free services.”
Indeed, the ARC routinely provides a wide array of services ranging from low-cost spay and neuter clinics and microchipping to rabies vaccinations and public safety talks. In the future, staff members say they hope to expand educational programming and volunteer opportunities to offer an even more robust visitor experience. According to Sheriff Mike Roberson, opening a new facility is only the beginning of a long list of improvements planned for the future.
“The dream of constructing a pet adoption center began many years ago, so it is an honor to be able to present the finished project to the people of Chatham County,” says Sheriff Roberson. “The new facility is beautiful and will serve as a model for other agencies across the state. However, we need additional ARC staff positions to keep up with demand as well as more preventative efforts to slow the influx of animals into the facility. It is vital that we receive funding for additional staff members to meet the increasing needs, expectations, and responsibilities that come with caring for animals.”
Sheriff Roberson says he would like to see expansion of educational and adoption programs as well as more widespread participation in the ARC Barn Cat Initiative, which transforms feral cats (which are traditionally unadoptable and at highest risk for euthanasia) into working farm sentries who help manage the rodent populations and minimize disease spread among livestock.
“Our goal is to never euthanize animals unless absolutely necessary,” says Sheriff Roberson. “If an animal is gravely sick or injured, or if it has shown aggression or attacked a human, our options are limited. However, we have amazing relationships with rescues and rehabilitation facilities that are sometimes able to assist us by accepting these animals and providing specialized care.”
“We are currently looking for residents who may be interested in fostering an animal, cuddling cats, walking dogs, reading to animals in their kennels, or becoming an advocate for pet adoption,” explains ARC Director Karen Rogers. “The ARC cannot succeed without support and participation from members of the community. We can achieve more when working together!”
Those who missed the Grand Opening or wish to learn more about Chatham Sheriff’s Office Animal Resources, including ways to volunteer, are encouraged to visit the ARC Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chathamsoar. Those looking for other ways to help may consider making a no-contact donation of supplies through the ARC Pet Supply Wishlist at bit.ly/arcwishes, or a financial contribution via bit.ly/supportarc. Chatham residents can also call (919) 542-7203 to schedule a visit to the ARC or make an appointment to adopt or donate supplies.