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Amidst requests for transparency, Bedford Humane Society provides an update on its adoption center

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Bedford, Virginia – The Bedford Humane Society (BHS) is holding open forums regarding its proposed adoption center in response to a group of volunteers and former staff who have demanded transparency.

These requests center on the donor records for the planned structure and the reason the center’s construction has been delayed so long.

At the exact moment when the humane society is about to make its last push for funds, the group shared their worries on social media.

“We’re so close and it doesn’t make sense as to why,” BHS vice president Marc Nevin said.

Former volunteer Shana Sayers founded Citizens for a Transparent BHS, an organization that is part of the Bedford County Humane Society. She clarified that a lot of people are worried about the non-profit adoption center’s lack of development, as it has been planned since 2009.

“Through the years more people have asked and it always just gets brushed off,” Sayers said. “We wanted transparency about the building, we wanted to know how much money they had raised, how much they had left to raise, when they were going to break ground.”

Donations made expressly for the adoption facility are deposited into a different account from the non-profit’s operating costs, according to the Humane Society.

Since then, the building’s anticipated cost has increased, particularly in the previous four years.

“The beginning of 2020, we had the architectural plans, we had contractors, we had preliminary approvals from the county, we were ready to go, until COVID hit and that really put a squash on things,” Nevin said.

Nevin clarified that the humane organization was unable to disclose the total amount donated up until this point.

“If you’re asking people for donations, you don’t want to say, ‘Oh we’ve got $1.2 million please give us more’ until you know how much you need,” Nevin said. “We weren’t sure what the building was going to cost, we weren’t sure what it’s going to cost us to furnish it and operate it for at least the first year. Now we have those numbers.”

To reach its $2 million goal, the Humane Society needs to raise an additional $750,000. Michelle Behrns, a former employee, stated that she has asked to view such records but they have not been made available.

“It’s not just a few people that are complaining, it’s a community that’s complaining, it’s donors that are complaining that they want to see action,” Berhns said.

BHS said they want to begin construction on the adoption facility in the fall and is aware of the numerous social media posts calling for openness.

“If you have a question, ask. Come to board meetings, they’re open,” Nevin said. “Come in, we’ll set up an appointment, we will share everything. We have nothing to hide.”

On Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., BHS will have an update meeting regarding the adoption center at the Moneta Library, located at 13641 Moneta Road.

 

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