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Lorton’s new animal shelter will host critters from Fairfax County and city

Rendering of the new South County Police Station and Animal Shelter in Lorton (via Fairfax County)

When Fairfax County’s new animal shelter opens next year, some of its first residents will likely come from across jurisdictional lines.

Last week, the Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with the City of Fairfax to provide services and housing to animals under their care. The city cares for fewer than 100 animals a year. In 2021, it cared for 31 dogs, 20 cats, and 11 other small animals.

On track to open in the spring, the new South County Animal Shelter in Lorton is expected to provide plenty of space for these furry friends.

“[The Department of Animal Services] already has a long history of supporting the City with meeting their animal welfare needs,” a county staff report said. “With the opening of the second facility in Lorton in Spring 2023, DAS will have ample space and appropriate staffing to accommodate additional animals from the City.”

The 23,000-square-foot facility on Lorton Road will be the second county-operated shelter, joining the existing Michael R. Frey Animal Shelter on West Ox Road in Fairfax.

The South County Animal Shelter will likely begin operations in late spring when construction is completed, DAS Director Reasa Currier confirmed to FFXnow.

The board is expected to approve about $2 million to help provide services, staff and maintain the shelter as part of a fiscal year 2022 carryover package.

“This facility will allow us to substantially grow the geographic reach and impact of our work for the residents of Fairfax County,” Currier said by email. “Not only will we be able to create even more families through adoption, but the second shelter will provide a hub for essential services from behavior and training support, veterinary medical care, pet supplies, and other critical services that help keep pets together with their families.”

Currier says the Lorton shelter will be “similar in size and footprint” to the Fairfax one, with 88 dog kennels, 42 cat condos, 2 catios, and a “state-of-the-art” veterinary clinic. There will also be an 20,000-square-foot outdoor space for the animals.

Like other shelters nationwide, the county’s lone animal shelter has faced its share of capacity challenges. Even before recent influxes of rescued beagles as well as cats and rabbits, there was a clear need for more shelter space in the southern part of Fairfax County.

“For too long, the many services and resources provided by [DAS] have been inaccessible for the residents in South County,” Currier said. “We are very excited about the location and are looking forward to serving South County residents and their pets. We are already hearing from residents who live nearby the new shelter who are eager to begin volunteering and participating in our programs.”

The shelter will share a new $30 million building with the South County Police Station, which will be about 31,000 square feet and is expected to open at the same time.

The building will have a number of sustainability features, including electric vehicle charging stations and space for solar panels, and energy-efficient systems. Landscaping will be made up of native plants and be bird-friendly.

The facility is on Lorton Road between the intersections of Workhouse and Hooes roads. Called the “Triangle” by the county, the parcel was specifically acquired in 2001 for public safety use.

In 2015, voters approved a $151 million bond referendum that included money to fund the Lorton project, which broke ground last May.

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