San Benito animal shelter in need of renovations

SAN BENITO — Upon arrival at the small animal shelter on the outskirts of town, it looks quite empty.

But as soon as you pull up, the animals, some big and some small, poke their heads out from their enclosures and make sure to let you know they are indeed there.

The dogs look well taken cared of at the city-maintained shelter.

But, they soon will have much nicer and fancier accommodations.

Earlier this year, city staff was authorized to move forward with renovations and improvements to the current animal shelter.

On Tuesday night, city commissioners approved that work.

The current building sits in a desolate area at Line 20 Road 1400 near the wetlands.

It houses animals but not that many. It resembles a small shack with attached kennels.

The six kennels can only shelter about 12 animals at a time.

“It has minimal lighting and no restroom facilities,” said Fred Bell, director of planning for the City of San Benito.

However, with the action taken by the city last night, all that is about to change.

The unkempt little shack is going to receive a much-needed facelift.

The new facility will triple the capacity to 18 kennels with the ability to shelter up to 36 animals at a time.

The addition will consist of a new concrete slab, 12 new kennels, a new shingled roof, a restroom, a multi-purpose room, upgraded wiring and improved lighting, Bell said.

The entire facility will be enclosed by a new chain link fence and access gate. The gate will be locked when staff is not on site.

The initial bid for construction amounted to about $62,000. The same contractor made adjustments to the bid and lowered it to $52,000.

Bell said additional contractors were contacted but none provided any quotes.

Due to the constraints on the city’s budget, Bell said staff searched for alternatives.

After several discussions with multiple city departments a final proposal was made.

The good news is public works and planning will work together to make the improvements in-house. By using city staff to complete this project, it will cost the city only about $16,000.

“By re-allocating the requested funds to the new budget line item, we will still have the funds available to use on other city projects,” Bell said.

Once the new shelter is constructed, the city commission plans to categorize it as a no-kill shelter. Officials also will implement several programs to benefit animal lovers and the community.

Commissioners tossed around the idea of adoption days and a voucher program for spaying and neutering animals.

“There are some additional regulations we will have to follow and we are working on making sure we get the proper regulation because that is something we definitely want to do,” Bell said.