San Luis Obispo County leaders celebrated a milestone for animal services Wednesday.
"It's been eight years and coming, it seemed like it was never going to happen, but I'm so excited," said Lynn Compton, San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors member.
County leaders unveiled the new animal services building complete with updated medical care facilities, dog runs, outside play areas for dogs and cats, a rabbit yard and living areas for exotic animals.
They are also planning to construct a barn on-site in the near future that would allow them to bring in livestock including small hoof animals, horses, cattle and pigs.
"It's definitely an upgrade for the animals. If you go through the facility, you will see literally smiles on their face," said Robert Ruiz, Animal Services Project Manager.
"So I brought this forward to put it on the agenda, to take a vote on it and see if we can move forward with it," said Compton.
Compton describes the old animal services building as dilapidated and in desperate need of repair.
"It's horrible! The other building, the roof is open, birds fly in the building, there are cracks all over, the parking lot is a mess," said Compton.
Many people looking to adopt went to other nearby shelters, and the county is hoping this new building will encourage them to adopt from animal services instead.
"Fortunately, or unfortunately, it was next to Woods which is a beautiful facility. So when people would go to adopt animals they would bypass us at the shelter and they would go to Woods," said Compton.
Though impressive, the creation of the new shelter was not easy. Some of the setbacks the county faced include the COVID-19 pandemic, a shortage of building materials and personnel, and negotiating contracts with all seven cities involved.
"This animal services facility is approximately 15,000 square feet where the prior one was about 7,000 square feet," said Ruiz.
The additional square footage allows for better treatment of the animals.
"No kill shelter. Basically, we don't euthanize here unless it's an extreme condition," said Ruiz.
Meaning there are plenty of animals looking for a home.
"By adopting an animal here you are contributing to the need of animals needing homes in our community," said Ruiz.
Depending on the sizes of the animals they are taking in, this new facility can house up to about 50 dogs and 80 cats.
The new shelter is located on Oklahoma Avenue in San Luis Obispo. For more information about their services, click here.