New site for Cal animal shelter eyed

By Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat April 10, 2013 08:55 am

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday directed Animal Services management to focus on a parcel of land next to the new courthouse as the site for a new animal shelter.

The location would be less costly than an earlier preferred site just east of Angels Camp. The San Andreas land is already owned by the county.

“That’s huge if you’re looking at a half-million dollars to purchase property before you even have infrastructure,” said Environmental Health Agency Director Brian Moss, who oversees Animal Services. “That money can be used elsewhere.”

The county instead is looking at about $60,000 for water and sewer connections as well as environmental study.

The nonprofit Calaveras Humane Society is planning to launch a major fundraising campaign to construct a 17,000 square-foot shelter at the site.

“I’m pleased to be moving forward,” Society President Karen Elliott said.

One of the next steps will be arranging ownership at the site, whether the county will donate the land to the Society, buy the building from the group or, more likely, as Moss noted, lease the land on a long-term basis to the Society for a nominal annual fee such as $1.

It will be about six to eight years before a completed shelter can take the place of a small and outdated facility panned in multiple grand jury reports during the past decade, Moss said.

“I think we’re at the point now where you’re out of Band-Aids. Its time to take action,” Supervisor Debbie Ponte said. “My gut feeling is (a new shelter) would be a net savings in comparison to the antiquated facilities were running now.”