ASHLAND, Va. -- A local canine rescue group won the Animal Planet Pet Nation Shelter Renovation contest, which will afford them around $180,000 of desperately needed renovations. The Ashland-based Bandit's Adoption and Rescue of K-9s (BARK) is named in honor of Bandit, a neglected dog rescued in 1987.
The kennels are located on a big piece of property in Ashland, and serve 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 and many are within 12 hours of euthanization.
Voting lasted over a three-week period and the organization was officially notified that they won on May 10.
"We were astounded," said Claire Tetrick, BARK board member. "One, that we had so much support from the community and also that we came out as the winners of it!"
"It is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity," she said. “I’m not sure we could have ever raised that amount of money.”
Though it was almost a missed opportunity.
Tetrick said a volunteer originally forwarded the link to the contest, with the sentiment "can't win if we don't enter."
BARK was one of five finalists, the other shelters were located in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, and Florida.
Tetrick isn't sure if Animal Planet will give them all of the renovations they requested in a submitted video.
BARK is in need of money to repair the main kennels, install a modern heating and air conditioning environment for the dogs, install drainage in the outside playpen area, create an inside bathroom for volunteers, and fortify the bridge going into the kennel.
"I have no idea how much some of the things we brought up, actually cost," Tetrick said.
BARK has to keep quiet about details of the renovation and timetable for work. The actual renovation will be recorded and televised in September.
But Tetrick wanted to extend "a huge thank you to everyone in the community who supported us and voted for us in the process."
The entry video the group submitted is below: