Elk Grove’s animal shelter could open as soon as spring 2019, which could ease some of the strain on Sacramento County’s Bradshaw Animal Shelter.
City Council members gave the green light to the long-awaited project Wednesday night. The county shelter has been housing Elk Grove’s escaped or abandoned animals since 2013. Since the shelter is often crowded, Elk Grove officials weren’t sure the county would continue the agreement when the contract runs out in June 2019.
Bradshaw Animal Shelter had taken in 1,251 animals from Elk Grove this year as of Wednesday afternoon, about half dogs and half cats, said David Dickinson, director for Sacramento County Animal Care. That’s close to 10 percent of the overall intake of 12,800 animals.
“Right now, we are not overcrowded, but we have operated at above capacity at certain times during the year,” he said. “So if Elk Grove does in fact get a shelter built, that would greatly reduce the pressure.”
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To be built at the corner of Iron Rock and Union Park ways, the shelter will operate under the Police Department. Capt. Tim Albright, head of the Investigative Services Division, is overseeing the project, though eventually there will be a shelter director to run the day-to-day operations. He said the shelter is designed to be a welcoming place.
“When I was a kid, there was the pound ... It was just a really depressing place,” Albright said. “We’ve progressed as a society to ... shelters are a storefront. Families can come and enjoy the facility and find ways to connect with an animal.”
The shelter will be have between 40 and 56 units each for dogs and cats depending on the final design. It will take 19 new staff members to run and will cost about $18 million to build and $3.1 million to run in its first full year of operation.
The shelter will offer low-cost spay and neuter services and employ a veterinarian. The city already offers free microchip services and recently hosted a drive-through vaccination clinic.
Albright said the shelter will have a multipurpose room that will be able to host birthday parties, fundraising events and community meetings. The shelter could be open seven days a week and Albright envisions long hours so that a resident who realizes after 5 p.m. that their pet is lost will be able to go to the shelter to look for it that same evening.
“It’s a community center of sorts,” he said. “We really just want to be a service to our community.”
The county stepped in to take Elk Grove’s animals when the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals abruptly ended its contract with the city in January 2013. Elk Grove first held public meetings on building its own shelter in fall 2014.
“I think it’s time for them to build their own shelter and take care of the animals from their community,” Dickinson said. “We were happy to help out (when the SPCA contract ended) but we’ll probably be much better off when they are sheltering their own animals in their city.”