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Mediation between Community and SWVA Wildlife Center of Roanoke Postponed

Friday, March, 22, 2019

The ongoing battle between the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke and the surrounding community could be settled in mediation – but not any time soon.


According to Executive Director Sabrina Garvin the mediation between the two sides will not be scheduled until at least April. She did point out that it is due to busy court dockets and not because of an issue with either of the parties involved.


This upcoming mediation will be the second. The first ended without a resolution and Garvin called it “emotional and exhausting.”


According to Garvin, despite there being permits from several government organizations, the community has filed a legal challenge that includes zoning, licensing, and additional complaints.


She went on to explain “…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 did not have any issues until the first property was purchased, and then the second in December.”


She believes the complaints are an attempt to get the center moved, which she said is not only unnecessary, it would be expensive and complicated.


Stanley Seymour, a member of the community and a neighbor of the center told local radio station WFXR, "I'm not trying to shut them down; I just want them to be good neighbors.”


Garvin said she is not sure what to expect from the upcoming mediation, but noted that the legal costs associated with the process is expensive and it is making it difficult to be able to afford to care for the animals at her facility.