A months-long legal battle between the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke and area neighbors won’t end for at least another month, according to Executive Director Sabrina Garvin. Not due to an issue with either side, she said, but because of busy court dockets.
On Friday, a court mediation ended without a solution.
“It was emotional and exhausting,” Garvin said.
She says, despite having a number of permits from several government organizations, surrounding neighbors have brought forth legal challenges including zoning, licensing, and more.
“So we would like to be left alone. Again, we never had any problems until the first one moved, I believe in August of 2017. We didn’t have any issues until the first property was purchased, and then the second in December,” she said.
Garvin says she suspects the complaints are an effort to force the center to move, something she says would be expensive, complicated, and unnecessary.
WFXR left requests for comment with the plaintiffs’ lawyer, which were not returned by news time; Stanley Seymour, a nearby neighbor, told WFXR on August 16, 2018, that there is nothing sinister about requests to obey the law.
“I’m not trying to shut them down, I just want them to be good neighbors,” he said.
Garvin says it costs around six figures to maintain the facility, and added legal costs make it difficult to continue serving animals.
She says she’s not sure what to expect from future negotiations.
“I couldn’t answer that right now,” she said. “I just know I couldn’t be where I am right now without the support of the community and the continued support they’re giving us.”