Sutter County Animal shelter won't be ‘perfect'
Getting started on building a new animal shelter is more important than getting the plans 100 percent right, say Sutter County officials.
Sutter Animal Services Authority directors are calling for bids to construct the shelter, which is expected to cost between $5.2 million and $5.8 million.
They have not nailed down issues that could change how big the shelter has to be.
But going back to the drawing board for a redesign could delay the shelter's completion — now slated for June 2013 — by up to a year.
"The pros of getting this facility now outweigh the cons of it not being the perfect facility," said Megan Greve, principle analyst with the Sutter County Administrator's Office.
Not perfect is better than "deplorable," the charge leveled against the existing shelter by the Sutter County grand jury in an April 2011 report.
According to the report, too many animals died in shelter kennels, workers exposed dogs and cats to disease by not properly cleaning the shelter and management failed to implement proper policies.
Staff fixed many of those problems over the last year. However, the shelter is still too small, a fact that will continue to stymie improvement, said veterinarian Richard Bachman in a follow-up report, issued in November.
Kate Hurley, director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at U.C. Davis, raised the space issue when she told Animal Services Authority directors last month that the new shelter needed more dog kennels. Hurley suggested that the new shelter hold 54 kennels.
The plan has 42, though directors could add eight more by retooling rooms destined for other uses, County Administrator Stephanie Larsen said.
Several decisions that have yet to be made could affect the final layout and size of the facility.
For example, directors have discussed the possibility of eliminating cat care at the shelter. Also, with the addition of the new vet tech position, animals could be better assessed for adoption, thus increasing adoption rates.
"There are a lot of moving parts," said Megan Greve, "Things have changed a lot since we started this process. Things keep evolving."
Contractors can submit bids through April 17. Directors are scheduled to choose a winner at an April 23 meeting.
Construction is set to start in late May or early June and is expected to finish a year later, according to Yuba City Public Works Director George Musallam.
CONTACT reporter Jonathan Edwards at email@example.com or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADjedwards or on Twitter at @ADjedwards.