dcas groundbreakingConstruction on a new DeKalb County animal shelter has begun!

Construction of a new DeKalb animal shelter began in mid-March after years of efforts to replace the county’s aging facility.

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May and county commissioners broke ground on the 33,440-square-foot building near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. Construction is scheduled to be completed within a year. LifeLine Animal Project will manage the new facility under its county contract.

Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May thanked the concerned citizens who frequented Board of Commissioner meetings to push for improved conditions for animals in DeKalb. “The old facility was old, smelly [and] leaked water,” May said. “We know that that old facility was poorly designed. It was too small and it was old and outdated. The citizen committee pointed that out day after day after day.”

dcas groundbreakingThe animal shelter, which will cost $8.6 million to build, will have 15 adoption rooms–12 for dogs and three for cats.†It also will have a 1,300-square-foot clinic that will provide spay and neuter services, as well as a surgery preparation room, surgery room, lab area, secure pharmacy storage, and holding areas for dogs and cats slated for surgery.

The facility is approximately 50 percent larger than the old facility, May said.

Additionally, the new facility will have a dog grooming area, exercise yard, exercise fields, adoption halls, separate lobbies for adoption, reclaim and intake holding and exam areas as well as a multipurpose room.

“It will be designed in a way that adequately houses the needs of those animals that will be coming through that facility,” May said. “It will be an open and inviting place for people and pets and it will be a place where you will want to come to expand your family by adopting a pet.

Susan Neugent, who chaired the animal task force that studied the existing shelter and the plight of animals there, said the “existing shelter was characterized very harshly in our task force report.”

Neugent said the new shelter will be clean, well ventilated, and a place “that will welcome the community in, instead of being a place people want to avoid. It was a death chamber before.

dcas groundbreaking fb02“I think the biggest thing that’s happened…is there has been a dramatic change in philosophy associated with animal welfare in DeKalb County,” Neugent said. “We’ve gone, in my view, from last to just about first. And that’s not just first in the state. It’s bordering on first in the nation in terms of the philosophical change from using euthanasia as the principal method of population control of homeless and unwanted animals.”

Commissioner Kathie Gannon said, “This has been a long time coming. We’re very, very excited.”

Speaking to animal advocates, Commissioner Jeff Rader said, “You are the ones that were able to show us that truly the measure of a community is its ability to care for the people and the creatures who cannot defend themselves.”

“This truly is a facility that we all will run around and brag about,” added Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson.

LifeLine Animal Project is excited to move into the new facility and can't wait to save even more lives at this new location.

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