Volunteer program back, tensions remain at Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection

Published: Jul. 11, 2016 at 10:36 PM EDT
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After a weekend lockout, volunteers are back at the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection, but there's still tension between the volunteers and management.

The director says he never did away with the volunteer program, but the shutout was necessary to protect the animals and staff. Volunteers are happy they're allowed back in, but still frustrated with how it was all handled.

Inside the RCACP, the sign says "We Love Our Volunteers."

Elise DeMoss, RCACP Volunteer, said, “We are not feeling the love.”

DeMoss says she's never felt that from upper management.

"We've felt the hate from them, unfortunately,” she said.

Even so, she's celebrating a small victory Monday. The volunteer program was reinstated after a weekend lockout.

"We certainly did not expect it to be this quick, but I am so excited that it was,” she said.

David Flagler, Executive Director RCACP, said, "All of our volunteers are welcome back."

Tempers flared over the euthanization of two dogs, Murray and Smokey. Volunteers shared this video of Smokey last week, saying he was friendly and adoptable. Last Thursday, Director David Flagler says the dog's condition deteriorated. He says Smokey was aggressive and a danger.

"As much as the volunteers want to save them, I'm not going to keep an animal in my facility that places my employees at risk,” said Flagler.

DeMoss said, "We all should have the same goal -- to get animals to safety."

Flagler says volunteers are important, but some may not be the right fit because the facility euthanizes.

"If they cannot accept that, then it's quite possible that this isn't the right place for them,” said Flagler.

DeMoss wants this to be the right place for her, and the other volunteers.

She thinks there's plenty more work to be done.

DeMoss said, "If the management is not going to change, they need to allow us to help."

There's a regularly scheduled meeting of RACAP's board this Thursday to talk about the issue and how to move forward. Both sides expect a packed meeting.

We want to clarify that this issue does not involve the Roanoke Valley SPCA. That is a separate non-profit shelter.