Regional Shelter Dog Run Project

Here you will find all the “down and dirty” details of our dog run project at the Regional Animal Control Shelter located on Beacon Road in Melfa, VA.

If you wish to donate towards this project please click here.

The Regional Shelter does not have a dog run or turn-out. This is a shortfall in design and highlights the changes in care that have occurred in the last ten years. This also compounds the problem of poor cooling in the kennel areas. It is now almost unheard of for a shelter to lack a dog run. Much research has been done since the Regional Shelter was constructed which shows the many benefits of having such a run. The well trained staff at the shelter are very well aware of and deal with the shortfalls of a facility lacking a dog run each and every day. They desperately want one. We heard their pleas and the unheard pleas of the animals they house and decided to take action.

Here is a general idea of the MINIMAL area required for a run. Please keep in mind that these are the “bare bones” minimums and we would not ever dream of providing runs this small for any animal. The chart below is provided for reference only.

dog run size

There is land available at the facility to add a dog turn-out. There are many benefactors and local businesses who have reached out to make this project a possibility. The run we plan to install is nearly identical to what the SPCA has on each side of their shelter, except with a concrete pad instead of bare dirt. To get a general idea of what the proposed run looks like, please stop by the SPCA and check it out.

We visited the Regional Shelter and did a preliminary walk-thru of the facility with shelter management to assess their needs and survey where the best place to install a dog run would be. We conversed with shelter staff regarding ease of use and maintenance. Based on our visit the following layout was proposed (measurements are close but not exact):

shelter project

The proposed layout provides two adjoined runs with roughly 500 square feet each, plus a narrow run of around 144 square feet. All three runs are designed so they can be connected as one continuous run when the animals are not required to be separated. The total proposed footprint of the full run is 1,144 square feet. The initial walk-thru showed that the septic tank may cause an obstruction for the pouring of a concrete pad in the selected location. We are currently awaiting a response from Accomack County on exactly where the septic tank and drain field are located on the property.

5/11/2015 – UPDATE: Septic Plans Received


The septic plans have been received. Unfortunately, the septic tank is directly under where the dog run was being proposed for installation. Because shelter management has deemed that a concrete pad is the only acceptable surface for the proposed dog run, we must now go back to the drawing board and redesign the turnout to comply with state and local building codes. Once a new plan is drafted, we will need to do a walk-thru with shelter managers again. There is an e-mail chain for the project. If you wish to be added, please send a message to with “Dog Run” in the subject line.

7/8/2015 – UPDATE: Ground is being broken for the Dog Run!

Thanks to the efforts of Andrea Johnson Derby and Run For The Animals the project has come to fruition. The concrete pad will soon be poured. A great deal of gratitude goes out to all the unspoken heroes that worked behind the scenes to make this project a reality. We encourage everyone to make a donation to Run for the Animals to help them recover some of the funds put forward toward this project. They do awesome things for the animals in need on the Eastern Shore and could always use the extra funds. If you make a tax deductible PayPal donation to AAL and flag it for Run for the Animals, we will see that they get it.