Orange County, California will be getting a much needed and long overdue shelter revamp thanks to a county land swap agreement settled this week.
Construction is set to begin in June 2017 on a brand new $25 million animal care facility. It will sit on 10 acres of land at the site of the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station.
The current OC Animal Care facility, constructed in 1941, has received public backlash for its rundown structure, overcrowding, inadequate staffing, and low morale. They have managed to drop their rate of euthanasia from 50% to 33% over the past two years, but the organization continues to struggle. In 2014 alone the shelter took in 31,527 animals.
They currently serve 18 cities from one outdated facility. Horrible publicity has convinced many municipalities that formerly contracted with OC Animal Care to search elsewhere for their animal services. The hope is that the new shelter will convince more of the county’s 34 cities to do business with OCAC.
Plans for a new shelter are nearly 30 years in the making, with the Orange County Board of Supervisors finally approving a plan to trade the 10 acres of land pledged to the county at the Marine base for a parcel nearby that’s owned by South Orange County Community College District.
Deed transfers from the Navy have been held up due to contamination at the site, causing the shelter project to remain in limbo for the past several years. Thanks to the decision by the Board, plans can go forward to seek out bids for the new facility.
At this stage, the proposal calls for a 50,000-square-foot building plus plenty of outdoor space. The facility will have upgraded kennels, a separate area for cats, private rooms for potential adopters to get to know the pets, and a generous exercise yard.
Although an important step towards improving Orange County’s shelter system was taken this week, many still fear that one facility is just not enough to handle the needs of the entire county. A group known as Citizens for Animal Shelter Orange County plans to continue to fight for the needs of homeless pets in their community.
H/T to OC Register