Friday, January 27, 2023

There’s more than just adoptions going on at this animal shelter
The cat portion of the shelter has separate cat condos for cats that need more room in addition to the kennels. (Melanie Occhiuzzo/HNNDaily)

The Peninsula SPCA is not just a space for adoptable animals.

It’s a space for education, healing and community.

Three years ago, the Peninsula SPCA split from the City of Newport News and decided to run as an independent animal shelter to better serve the community, said Megan Steele, its interim executive director.

She described the shelter as an adoption guarantee-shelter where, on average, the longest an animal is in their care is two weeks.

In addition to the adoptions, the Peninsula SPCA has a vaccine clinic and offers low-cost spaying and neutering of animals.

It also has a humane education department that uses camps to teach children how to take care of animals and treat them them with compassion.

What animals does the shelter take?

The SPCA is a space for pet owners to surrender their pets; the group does not take strays.

Any stray will go to the regional animal shelter, and the SPCA works with that shelter to transfer animals that have been cleared, Steele said.

Each animal is given a checkup to look for heartworm, cat leukemia, fleas and anything other problems.

After that, the animals are put up for adoption.

The SPCA takes cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, small birds, guinea pigs and ferrets.

The shelter doesn’t take reptiles, amphibians or fish. If one of those animals is brought to the SPCA, staff will refer the owner to a regional shelter, Steele said.

The Barnyard

Behind the shelter’s main building sits an open barn area complete with a farmhouse and separate outdoor kennels.

That’s where the dogs are taken to exercise, and the fenced in area is for the petting zoo.

The animals spend their time inside the barn when its too hot to go out. (Melanie Occhiuzzo/HNNDaily)
The animals spend their time inside the barn when its too hot to go out. (Melanie Occhiuzzo/HNNDaily)

The SPCA charges $2 admission to the petting zoo, which has donkeys, chickens, goats, llamas, alpacas, bunnies, peacocks and a tortoise.

All of the animals were either donated or surrendered to the shelter, Steele said.

The operation is run by 15 paid staff, half of whom are part-time, and about 200 volunteers, 100 of whom are currently active, she said.

At capacity, the shelter houses 40 cats and 24 dogs in addition to the smaller animals.

Right now the shelter has a donation wish list set up on its website for items it needs to run, including office supplies, laundry detergent, blankets, towels, paper towels, cleaners, and wet and dry food.

To learn more about the Peninsula SPCA, click here. 

This story was published in partnership with our sister publication, HNNDaily.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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