The County of San Mateo broke ground today on a new long-awaited animal shelter at Coyote Point in San Mateo, paving the way for a modern and green facility better equipped than the existing building to care for the rescued animals it houses.

The site of shovels hitting the ground was met by enthusiasm by County leaders and members of the Peninsula Humane Society/SPCA with whom the County contracts for animal services. The shelter has been a long time coming and all involved are eager for its anticipated opening in Winter 2019, said Supervisor Carole Groom whose district will include the new Coyote Point Animal Care & Control Center.

“A community is judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable populations and in San Mateo County that includes our animals. I am proud that the County and its cities agreed that creating a safe, humane and efficient space for our furry, feathered and scaly friends is a priority,” Groom said.

Since 1951, the County of San Mateo has managed animal control and sheltering services for the 20 cities within its borders. The County owns the shelter property which is more than 60 years old. In a unique public/private partnership, the County currently contracts with PHS/SPCA through its Environmental Health division for state-mandated animal licensing and control services. Adoptions and other programs are housed at the Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion in Burlingame.

“Combined, the two halves not only make a wonderful whole, but also a whole which will mean a whole heck of a lot in terms of animals’ helped. PHS/SPCA is thrilled to be and to remain a partner in saving lives with the County of San Mateo and our 20 cities,” said PHS/SPCA president Ken White.

County Manager John Maltbie also lauded both the upcoming new shelter and the unique partnerships that allowed the County and cities to work with PHS/SPCA on the design.

“The long-standing relationship we’ve developed with PHS/SPCA lets us benefit from its keen insight into what space and services will work best for the animals in their care. In developing plans for the new shelter, we want to provide more than just the minimum required by law. We want to create a temporary home,” Maltbie said.

County Health System’s Director of Public Health, Policy, and Planning Cassius Lockett echoed similar sentiments and gratitude for all involved in bringing these plans to fruition.

“We are thankful for the leadership of our county supervisors and cities who dedicated resources over the past few years to replace an aging facility to improve the health and welfare of the animals, provide a functional and durable facility for the public, and improve the safety and workflow of employees and volunteers at the Peninsula Humane Society,” Lockett said.

The new shelter will be approximately 40,000 square feet, including kennels, and will be designed to house large animals such as horses as well as cats, dogs, birds, reptiles and small mammals. While the current building is larger, the County’s Project Development Unit overseeing construction said the smaller shelter will be much more efficient. The work will be done in phases to allow the current facility to remain operational during construction.

The prime architect of the project is Stockton-based LDA Partners and Lodi-based F&H Construction is the general contractor.