ASHLAND, Va. – A local canine rescue group is one of five finalists in the Animal Planet Pet Nation Shelter Renovation contest, and all they need is your vote on the website to win $180,000. Bandit's Adoption and Rescue of K-9s (BARK) -- named in honor of Bandit, a neglected dog rescued in 1987 -- is headquartered in Ashland.
The kennels are located on a big piece of property in Ashland, that serves as a safe-haven for abused and neglected dogs rescued in the Richmond-metro area.
They rescue over 300 dogs a year, most come in from other shelters. A good percentage of the dogs BARK takes are within 12 hours of being euthanized. All dogs get a bill of health from the veterinarian, are spayed /neutered, microchipped and given a temperament test.
“We find homes for them, or give them good homes,” said Dave Harless, who has worked with the organization seven years.
BARK hopes to win the contest because it would be a huge, much-needed opportunity to renovate. The grand prize renovation is worth $180,000, and they said it would definitely be a game changer for their organization.
“One of the projects that we always have ongoing is repairing the main kennels within the facility,” said board member Bob Adams. “One of the great needs we have is for a modern heating and air conditioning environment for the dogs.
“Currently we use space heaters during the cold winter periods, and we use fans during the hot summer periods,” Adams continued. “We think we would do a much better job, save on electric bills and offer a much safer environment for the animals.”
“One of the primary renovations we would use this money for is outside play pen areas,” said Clair Tetrick, BARK board member. “We really rely heavily on the use of those playpens to get the dogs out for fresh air and to get the kennels cleaned while the dogs are out.”
“Unfortunately we have horrendous drainage issues with those outside playpens,” Tetrick explained.
“If we get any sort of rain or snow, they are totally muddy – all the grass is gone. The dogs love the mud, the volunteers, not so much,” she added.
BARK relies entirely on a team of approximately 100 volunteers to help exercise dogs, feed them, clean them and distribute medicine.
Part of the renovation plan would be to create an inside bathroom for the volunteers, who currently use an outdoor toilet.
And lastly, the bridge that volunteers, organizations and visitors drive over is in disrepair. The money would go towards fortify that bridge so people can access the kennel.
Here is how to help the local organization, who is up against kennels in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, and Florida. Just click over to Animal Planet: http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/pet-nation-renovation
Select BARK as the organization and hit “submit your vote” at the bottom.
The contest will be open for public voting from March 21-April 4. It appears that people can vote more than once – so the group said “vote early and vote often.”
The entry video for the group is below.