Construction is nearly complete on the new San Luis Obispo County Animal Services facility on Oklahoma Avenue.
In just a few short months, the brand new facility will be ready to house animals and provide care to those animals from all over San Luis Obispo County.
From puppies to cats and smaller animals like rabbits, San Luis Obispo County Animal Services takes in and handles roughly 5,000 animals each year.
Sometime this summer, they’ll have a new and improved facility to call home.
“What we're really looking at is really a significant increase in the quality of care and the quality of housing that the animals will have,” said Dr. Eric Anderson, San Luis Obispo County Animal Services Manager.
Dr. Anderson says the building will have an improved animal medical facility. It’ll also have an increased capacity for exotic and smaller animals, dog runs, and a space for cats to play outside.
He says they’ll be making changes to current practices and procedures.
“As far as like where we house animals, how they're segregated, some of the health processes, cleaning and things like that,” Dr. Anderson explained. “It's all updated.”
Construction on the project started in late 2020 with anticipated completion this year.
“Unfortunately, with the supply chain issues that the construction industry has experienced we're now looking at May of this year,” said Robert Ruiz, San Luis Obispo County Public Works Division Manager.
The 15,000 square foot building is about twice the size of the existing facility which was constructed at a time when Dr. Anderson says animal sheltering and care had a different philosophy.
“It was built basically just as a warehouse for animals and there wasn't much thought given to their mental wellbeing, their health and proper care and humane housing,” Dr. Anderson said.
“I just think having a nicer, better shelter that's more healthy for the animals and for the people will be better for adopting them and they'll get homes,” said Lynn Compton, San Luis Obispo County District 4 Supervisor.
Talks of the new facility have been going on for about seven years with local leaders like Supervisor Compton advocating for the project.
“I knew that there was a report that had been done by the Grand Jury many years ago that talked about how dilapidated it was,” Supervisor Compton said. “I had been out to the facility before so it was kind of one of the priorities that when we looked at capital infrastructure improvements.”
The project has a price of $20,300,000 with each of the seven incorporated cities within San Luis Obispo funding the project.
“They all had a say what the design, what the budget and ultimately, how this facility takes care of the animals here in this county,” Ruiz said.
The official opening date to the public has not yet been nailed down.
At this point, only a few more things need to be done like landscaping and plumbing.
A decision has not yet been made on what will happen with the old Animal Services building located next door also, on Oklahoma Avenue.
The county says the project is within budget despite the few-month construction delay.