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County, cities look at animal shelter renovation

Solano County Animal Shelter

Volunteer Barbara Schacherl assesses a dog that was brought to the Solano County Animal Shelter on Monday in Fairfield. The shelter is planning to build a new clinic in the area behind Schacherl along with $5.4 million in renovations. (Conner Jay/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | December 04, 2012 |

FAIRFIELD — Work could begin next year on a $5.4 million Solano County animal shelter renovation designed to better handle the 9,400 animals received there annually.

That’s much cheaper than the new animal shelter envisioned in a 2009 county animal shelter master plan. The county and its seven cities decided the $28 million to $34 million price tag for that ideal shelter at a new location is too steep.

The latest proposal calls for keeping the shelter at 2510 Clay Bank Road, near the county jail. The existing building would be renovated, keeping its 114 kennels and adding three new cat rooms.

In addition, a building would be constructed with 54 indoor kennels and 54 covered, outdoor kennels, a puppy room, quarantine room and recovery room. A new spay-and-neuter clinic would generate money to help pay the shelter’s operating costs, a county report said.

County supervisors on Tuesday will consider a proposed animal shelter agreement between the county and its seven cities. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the county Government Center, 675 Texas St. The item is on the consent calendar, which means it could be passed without discussion.

The proposed agreement among the county, Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville, Vallejo, Dixon, Benicia and Rio Vista divides up payments for the new shelter. The county would issue $5.4 million in debt at an estimated interest rate of 3.5 percent.

Annual payments would be about $467,665 for 15 years, with amounts varying per jurisdiction depending on how many animals they send to the shelter, according to the proposed agreement. Fairfield would pay an estimated $131,525 annually, Vallejo $130,043, Vacaville $90,539, the county $45,503, Suisun City $40,340, Dixon $17,539, Rio Vista $6,824 and Benicia $5,352.

Also, the proposed agreement will have the county continue to operate the shelter for the next 15 years, with each city paying a share of operating expenses.

The animal shelter built in 1986 has been an issue for years. The 2006-07 grand jury issued a report calling it “inadequate in size and design” and urged the county to make building a new shelter a “high priority.”

A 2009 master plan by DLR Group and Jackson & Ryan Architects recommended the county build a new shelter at a different site. The Clay Bank Road shelter is too small and the location has poor visibility, it said.

That master plan never went to the Board of Supervisors. Rather, the county and its seven cities looked at other, less expensive options.

In 2011, then-Sheriff Gary Stanton said he had looked at shelters in other counties and believed that the existing animal shelter could be renovated for a cost of about $5 million.

County spokesman Stephen Pierce said the shelter with the proposed renovations should be able to meet the animal population needs for the foreseeable future. He also said the spay-and-neuter clinic should help at least limit the number of dogs and cats that end up at the shelter.

“Ideally, it should be an empty facility,” he said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
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