New Saratoga County animal shelter closer to reality

Saratoga County is closing in on its goal of building a new animal shelter and could award construction bids in the coming weeks, according to Chairman of the county Buildings and Grounds Committee Frank Thompson.

Bids for the facility have flowed in over the summer and when they were finally opened, the low bids from multiple builders constituted a $5.1 million project, about $200,000 under budget.

The new shelter is to be substantially bigger than the old one at 23,890 square feet. Before construction can begin, though, a two-thirds majority of the county Board of Supervisors must approve bonding the project monies. The next meeting is set for Tuesday, Sept. 15, but Thompson said a special meeting might be scheduled to hurry things along.

We've got a timeframe here to get the floor down before winter, he said. "We might have a special meeting for this."

Depending on when it starts, construction will take between 11 and 15 months, Thompson said.

The shelter has been in the same location for the past 31 years, in an approximately 100-year-old barn near the county jail. Right now there's room for 28 to 30 dogs and the same number of cats " the new shelter will double that capacity. The species will also be separated from one another, which shelter Supervisor Daniel Butler said would keep them calmer.

"The biggest thing with this was the separation," he said. "It's going to be laid out totally different than what we have now. It's going to be a lot more manageable."

Besides increased capacity, there will be more room for medical equipment and animals will be spayed or neutered on site. Butler said that in the new facilities, no animals would leave the shelter without having the procedure done.

Plans to build the new shelter have been in the works for over seven years now. The initiative originally stalled when the first designs were deemed too expensive when cost estimates came at over $10 million. The plans were pared down several more times before the Board of Supervisors approved the final design.

While the building itself will be built with county funds, donations from groups and individuals will outfit the medical offices with equipment, build two large exercise pens and provide for eight to 10 "get acquainted" kennels outside, covered by an overhang, where customers can interact with potential adoptees. So far, about $324,000 has been donated to the cause.""

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