New Lorton Animal Sanctuary will house critters from Fairfax County and City


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

When the new Fairfax County Animal Shelter opens next year, some of its first residents will likely come from different jurisdictions.

Last week, the Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with the City of Fairfax to provide services and housing for animals in their care. The city takes care of less than 100 animals a year. As of 2021, he was caring for 31 dogs, 20 cats and 11 other small animals.

Set to open in the spring, the new South County Animal Sanctuary in Lorton should offer plenty of space for these furry friends.

“[The Department of Animal Services] already has a long history of supporting the city in meeting its animal welfare needs,” said a county staff report. “With the opening of the second facility in Lorton in the spring of 2023, DAS will have sufficient space and appropriate staff 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 Sanctuary will likely begin operations in late spring when construction is complete, 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 carryover from fiscal year 2022.

“This facility will allow us to significantly increase the geographic reach and impact of our work for residents of Fairfax County,” Currier said via 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 ranging from behavioral support and training, to veterinary medical care, to pet supplies and to other essential services that help keep pets with their families.”

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

Like other shelters nationwide, the county’s only 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 to South County residents,” Currier said. “We are very excited about the location and look forward to serving South County residents and their pets. We are already hearing from residents who live near the new shelter who are eager to start volunteering and participating in our programs.

The shelter will share a new $30 million building with the South County Police Station, which will be approximately 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, as well as energy-efficient systems. Landscaping will consist of native plants and will 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 purposes.

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

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Jennifer R. Strohm