Placer County supervisors want new Auburn animal shelter

Roseville out and North Auburn in as county moves on long-delayed shelter improvements
By: Gus Thomson, Auburn Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Long-stalled plans to build a new Placer County Animal Shelter in North Auburn have taken an important turn forward with the Board of Supervisors committing more than $5 million in funding that had originally been earmarked for a Roseville facility. The decision came Tuesday, more than three years after the board directed staff to proceed with the design and construction of a West Placer Animal Shelter, with cooperation from the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln. But with the city of Roseville taking over project management responsibilities, there has been little significant progress on the West Placer shelter, Facility Services Department Deputy Director Joel Swift told supervisors. The original plan was to follow the completion of the West Placer shelter with a start on the North Auburn facility. The county’s current shelter is located at the Placer County Government Center in North Auburn. Plans now call for the buildings to be demolished and animals normally sheltered there will be housed at other sites in the center while work is taking place, Swift said. With $5.1 million appropriated from the West Placer fund and another $3.8 million already set aside for the Auburn Animal Shelter, the county will be budgeting for a $12 million facility. A request for bids on designing and building the shelter, which would be located off Richardson Drive, could be ready by late 2012, Swift said. The decision to proceed with the Auburn Animal Shelter was greeted by animal rescue group supporters with praise. “The greatness of a county can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” said Suzy Bayne of Weimar’s Angels Rescuing Kritters. Marilyn Jasper of Loomis, a volunteer for several rescue organizations and owner of a rescued dog, said the new shelter will be more inviting for people to visit, while helping to keep the stray and unwanted animal population down by promoting more adoptions. Julie Anderson, a founding member of North Auburn’s Animal Spay and Neuter clinic, said that over 18 years, her group has spayed and neutered a total of more than 175,000 cats and dogs. “We had a vision that the numbers would decrease and animals released to shelters would be minimal,” Anderson said. “But all rescue groups are bursting at the seams. There is still a need for a shelter to manage things.” The number of kennels or cages has yet to be established but Lynne Howe of New Hope Animal Foundation in Loomis said that she would be in favor of the county considering spending more than $12 million to maximize shelter quarters for animals and promote adoptions. Howe also asked the county to expedite the building process. “It’s been a long time coming,” Howe said. “Are animals more important than human beings? Absolutely not. But it’s very clear the current animal shelter doesn’t fit the bill.” Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery said she was glad to see the shelter plans for North Auburn moving ahead. "My understanding is that the Roseville shelter isn't going forward and we're directing existing dollars to the Auburn facility," Montgomery said, before a 5-0 vote by supervisors.