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Construction to start on new SLO County animal shelter

San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Works
A rendering of what the 16,000-square-foot new facility will look like.

After several years of planning and overcoming financial hurdles, construction is set to start this month on San Luis Obispo County’s new regional, public animal services facility.

The new facility will replace the 43-year old animal shelter that SLO County Public Works' Robert Ruiz said has deteriorated beyond repair. 

“It’s a much needed facility," Ruiz said. "The building that the current operation is has outlived its useful life.”

The project—a 16,000-square-foot complex—is expected to cost $20 million. That’ll be split between the county and all seven incorporated cities who signed on to the project. Ruiz said the building will provide an appropriate environment for animal care that the older building could not.

“It’ll have sufficient kennels for dogs, and cats," Ruiz said. "It’ll have the ability to care for and treat reptiles and even some farm animals.”

In the next couple weeks, crews will begin constructing the building on vacant land next to the Woods Humane Society on Oklahoma Avenue, between SLO and Cuesta College. 

“It’s off of Highway 1, so it’s away from public streets and we are not anticipating any impacts to the public,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz said construction will continue through February 2022, with an opening date not too long after. What will happen to the old shelter is still up in the air. 

“Right now there are no imminent plans for what's going to happen to the old facility," Ruiz said. "It’s in need of significant repairs,  so it’ll probably, intentionally, be used for some sort of storage until an evaluation.” 

In 2017, the entire project was left in question after Paso Robles and Atascadero opted out of the agreement, exploring the idea of building their own shelter. But ultimately after finding an alternative plan wasn’t much cheaper, both cities rejoined the project in 2018.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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