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Groundbreaking Ceremony in Auburn

Auburn, Calif.- With a dog leading the way, construction of Placer County’s long-awaited Animal Services Center kicked off yesterday with a ceremonial groundbreaking at the building site in Auburn.

The 29,500-square facility represents a shift away from the dated “dog pound” model to a modern setting that provides for care and sheltering that reduces animal stress, improves pet adoption rates and provides veterinary services while meeting industry-wide standards of care.

Actual building construction will begin in June and the center is expected to be opened in late summer or early autumn of 2016. The center will be built with enough capacity to serve the county’s growth through 2035.

The impetus for the center began about 15 years ago and represents years of collaborative work between animal rescue volunteers, dedicated county staff, the county’s Animal Services Department coupled with the leadership, support and fiscal planning of the Board of Supervisors.

“This groundbreaking represents a change from an outdated animal shelter and dog pound mentality to a true, modern Animal Services Center,” said Rob Unholz, from the county’s Facility Services division. “From its inception, more than two dozen private/non-profit animal rescue groups and individuals have been involved and worked hard to keep the focus on building a new facility that is truly about caring for the animals.”

The new facility will sit on 4.3 acres of county-owned land near the existing shelter in the Placer County Government Center. When it opens, the center can house 80 percent more dogs, 75 percent more cats and will have more than twice the capacity to house animals during large incident such as a wildfire.

With much more square footage than the building that currently serves the county’s animals, the new center will feature a large public area, including main lobby, reception desk, touch screen kiosks, retail space, a multipurpose meeting room and dog and cat adoption spaces.

The veterinarian clinic will offer a public lobby, surgical suite, animal recovery area and office space. The administration area will provide space for animal control officers and volunteers. Exterior areas will include an enclosed exercise courtyard, kennels, a livestock barn, exercise pasture and agility yards.

The building will be energy efficient, meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards and Pacific Gas & Electric savings through high-efficiency systems, use of daylight and LED lighting and water saving fixtures for plumbing and landscaping. 

Community education is a large part of the program for the new center, which will promote responsible pet ownership. The multi-purpose room will be available for meetings, community events and animal training.

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