The long-awaited Elk Grove Animal Shelter opened to the public over the weekend, offering services and housing for escaped, abandoned and adoptable pets in the growing suburb.
The $18.5 million shelter, at the corner of Iron Rock Way and Union Park Way off Highway 99, will provide spay and neuter, adoption, foster and reunification programs for hundreds of animals in Elk Grove each year, said animal services manager Sarah Humlie. The shelter will cost about $2.5 million to operate annually.
“It’s a very warm, fun building,” Humlie said. “It’s a beautiful building that the city will be really proud to have in their backyard.”
The new shelter comes as Elk Grove’s animal population balloons along with its resident population.
“We see a lot of animals that have gotten lost (because) a fence was left open, or the dog bolted out of the house,” Humlie said. “We’ve had an escaped rabbit that got out of its enclosure.”
For years, Elk Grove has been contracting Sacramento County’s Bradshaw Animal Shelter to house stray and lost animals found within its city limits. Under the $950,000 contract last year, Elk Grove sent 1,352 animals to the county shelter, said spokeswoman Allison Harris.
“It became pretty apparent as the city continues to grow, an animal shelter was definitely going to be necessary,” Humlie said.
The new city shelter will reduce the “sporadic overpopulation and capacity issues” at the county shelter, and lower the stress on the animals cared for, according to director Dave Dickinson.
“The reduced numbers will allow us to provide more one on one time with the animals we do have here to get them ready for new homes,” Dickinson said in a statement.
The shelter will be able to house a maximum of 65 dogs and 55 cats, Humlie said. When fully staffed, the shelter will have 26 employees helping run the 17,000-square-foot facility and its field activity.
The shelter will operate Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. A grand opening for the shelter is scheduled the morning of Oct. 12.
“Hopefully we’ll dispel the myth that a shelter is a sad place,” Humlie said. “When you step through those doors ... you’re going to be excited about what new pet you’re going to possibly find and take home.”