New animal shelter a win-win
Last updated 3/25/2023 at 3:56pm | View PDF
A new $3 million Wasco Animal Shelter is expected to be up and running within two years, according to city officials.
Public Works Director Luis Villa said the design will take place this year. The cost is being covered by Measure X tax funds.
Villa said that about three years ago, it was proposed to relocate the shelter to the old farm labor complex. "That didn't pan out too well. With the land the city purchased, we are hoping to build it there."
The land purchased is located at Central Avenue and Filburn Street.
Villa added that the current building is aging, and they could house more animals with a new shelter.
The current capacity is 35, but with a new facility, Villa said the minimum capacity would be 50 animals with climate control. He is hoping to hire at least two more officers.
At present, the yearly operating budget for the shelter is $381,508.
"It's an aging infrastructure, but we are maintaining. Our animal control officers do a great job."
He said the most exciting thing about the new shelter is that it will provide the necessary capacity for animals. "And provide a great working environment for our staff with an updated facility. I can't wait to see this project start to finish."
Fidel Lara, Jr. has been an animal control officer in Wasco for six years. He said that since his time with the shelter, only two animals had been euthanized because of their high adoption rate and rescue pulls.
Currently, they work with about 15 active rescue pulls, which are nonprofits that adopt the animals to attempt to rehome them themselves.
In the past few months, every kennel is usually full.
"We keep them here as long as we have capacity. If not, they are at risk of euthanization."
He stated that the shelter is unique because when this happens, they send out a list of at-risk dogs to a wide audience, and they almost always end up adopted.
"We get attention from all over the place. We have lots of people calling from all over the country, including New York."
It is easy and affordable to adopt. For $88, you get a one-year Wasco city license, rabies and DAPP vaccines, and spay/neuter.
Rescue pulls don't pay a fee. Instead, they take on full responsibility, including all veterinarian needs.
Lara would tell some to encourage them to adopt that they are saving lives and helping them to create more space in the shelter to allow them to go out and pick up more strays from the streets and rehome them.
"Adopting helps us a lot in keeping the shelter running efficiently."
Lara said his job is rewarding.
"Getting them to their forever home is the best thing I can ask for."
Rigo Figueroa is also an animal control officer.
"The best part about the shelter is that we provide a great service to the community of Wasco. It allows us to find a dog a new home and for the community to gain a new member of the family."