SLO County supervisors approve new $13.7 million animal shelter

March 2, 2017

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved a plan on Tuesday to construct a $13.7 million animal shelter. The seven cities in SLO County will share the cost of the new facility.

SLO County’s current animal shelter was constructed around 1975, and officials say it is no longer a humane place to house animals. The shelter has leaky roofs, deteriorating walls and door frames and overloaded electrical and drainage systems, according to a county staff report.

In 2015, the board of supervisors decided that it would not be cost effective to make further investments in the current facility. County and city officials then reached a cost-sharing agreement, which the board of supervisors approved on Tuesday.

The agreement calls for the county to cover 38 percent of the costs of the new shelter, and the cities to collectively fund 62 percent of the expense of building the new facility. The county and the seven cities are splitting costs based on usage of the existing facility.

Another $1.1 million is budgeted to be spent on land, demolition of the existing facility and other associated expenses.

In addition to approving the financing agreement, the board of supervisors voted Tuesday to grant a $1.2 million design and construction contract to construction management firm Kitchell. The county is tasking Kitchell with constructing a 15,000 to 16,000 square foot facility with the capacity to shelter 65 dogs and 100 cats, as well as potential for future kennel growth and overflow.

The new animal shelter will be located off Highway 1 at 885 Oklahoma Avenue near Woods Humane Society. The location is also near the existing shelter, as well as the county jail.

County officials say the current shelter was built on land that formerly served as a landfill for Camp San Luis Obispo and the U.S. Army.

Construction of the new shelter is expected to begin in 2018 and be completed by 2020.


Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and believe they should have a safe and humane place to live. However, San Luis County is so lacking in the basic care for our mentally ill population that to see this money go toward a new animal shelter is ridiculous. The inpatient Psychiatric Health Facility has 16 beds and is wholly inadequate to give those in the county including minors the inpatient care that is needed. I know that the staff and administrators are doing the best they can with what they have but not only is there a need for a new facility but also adequate care for the incarcerated population from county jail in a secure and safe environment where they can receive treatment for their mental illness. They also need adequate staffing and comparable pay for mental health professionals who work at ASH. (see article about Mr. Holland) I believe the mentally ill have become the most discriminated against group and SLO county should be ashamed that they are more concerned about animals.


-Remember Andrew Holland-


You are right. Governing is about choices and limited resources. I also believe the money could be better spent providing services to many different groups of humans before spending it on animals. Mentally ill should top the list but also the homeless, and the hungry and the just plain down and out. Plus the shelter if built will require staffing and maintenance which will again draw resources away from needy humans, Maybe we could find a way to build an adequate 3 million facility for the animals? I’ll bet there are many in the construction industry would could build a much cheaper animal facility and the dogs and cats would not complain one bit.


Give the money to Woods. 13.7 million could turn into 130 million! Get the county and goverment out of it!


I know that it’s not a simple situation but that much money would suit our homeless population in SLO so much more. I just cannot relate to those who put the lives and wellbeing of animals above that of humans.


” I just cannot relate to those who put the lives and wellbeing of animals above that of humans.”

Easier that way, right? If an animal isn’t wanted they can be put it to sleep, right? And most will tell you that animals are victims and can’t speak for themselves, right? Wait a fuckin’ minute! Sounds like a mentally ill person, some of which have died in your county jail, RIGHT?

And mix an animal with a mentally ill person or a homeless person and be damned with what either of them feels about each other take the animal!

This community has no moral compass at all, unless of course, it’s like that of Captain Jack Sparrow’s, only pointing to the desires of their hearts….


-Remember Andrew Holland-


What?! I am not sure what any of your reply here means.

What happened and happens in SLO county jail is an utter tragedy and completely avoidable. Not sure how you relate that to animals. I have a vast concern for those with mental illness.


I thought there was fiscal conservative’s on the BOS?

Or are they just fiscally conservative around causes that aren’t “pet” projects. …Ms. Compton thinking of you here.

Too bad the only homeless “advocate” on the BOS is Adam Hill….who seems to advocate more for his wife than anything else. He taints that cause with his conflicts of interest so nothing good will ever get done.

It’s been advocated that a bright and cheery shelter will add to the adoption rate of the animals within. I wonder if the same logic holds true for the homeless. Maybe providing effective services they need, where it is needed, would increase their “adoption” rate too.


Was Kitchell the lowest bidder, or were there any bids to begin with?


This is about pleasing the animal activists many who are the recipients of silver platters and who also donate to politicians. No doubt there needs to be an improved animal shelter. But at $13.7 million? How did they ever come up with that cost since they don’t even have a set of working plans and are already hiring another outside consultant. I think I heard that ground breaking is anticipated for September 2018. Can you imagine what the estimated costs will be at that time and then all of the over runs that will happen.

The BOS should be ashamed of themselves for approving this.


$13,700,000 to house 65 dogs and 100 cats? That works out to $83,030 / animal.

At 1,600sqft that’s $8,562.50/sqft. DANG!

Ok, so $1.1M on land and $1.2M to design and build the facility; that sounds reasonable. What’s the taxpayer getting for the additional $11.5M?


Your math is fuzzy that is capacity and they rotate care for and handle hundreds of dogs, cats, and whatever animal is needing humane care. I’d rather spend this on a shelter than pensions to overpaid paper pushers.


You are right about the rotation of animals producing a much smaller cost per animal and the expense should be good for 30+ years minus routine maintenance.

However, SpeakTruth has a very important point about how the total cost is $13.7M when the land purchase, demolition, design and construction costs for the new shelter total $2.3M. Unless they are relying on the Mafia for financing, interest payments should not be about 5X the actual loan amount.


Hey county supervisors! Yeah, I’m taking to YOU!

How dare you approve a $14 MILLION dollar expenditure on the animal shelter while people are DYING in YOUR custody while in jail for, according to county employees, a lack of resources.

How disgusting that this issue was not even discussed at your last meeting.

Shame on you all.


Is veterinarian Eric Anderson involved in this? If so they really need to rethink this before they reward him for his screwed upped investigation in Grover Beach. He should be fired first before taxpayer money is spent on a 13.7 million dollar facility, he should not be rewarded for failing to do his job. Time to drain this swamp too.

Jorge Estrada

The homeless can work and live their too. We can call it “The Shelter” and drop the animal inference since this is all about compassion. It would be ridiculous to complain about cohabitation when that is the norm in many homes.


It would be called animal abuse.