Construction of new shelter is behind schedule

The County of Santa Clara’s Animal Services Department, which includes the San Martin animal shelter and the animal care and control unit, has achieved 94.3 percent live release rate—one of the best in California.

The current rate of pet adoptions from the San Martin shelter represents the shelter’s highest percentage ever, according to a county press release.

A no-kill shelter achieves a rate of 90 percent or greater; the county’s shelter has successfully achieved this status since 2013. Shelters must commit to save healthy or treatable animals even when a shelter is full, and to only utilize euthanasia for terminally ill animals or those considered dangerous to public safety. The shelter also is an open admission shelter, meaning all animals are accepted from county service areas, regardless of temperament and condition.

“I am proud of our animal shelter’s live release rate, especially since they take in all animals, regardless of their condition,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor, Mike Wasserman, whose district includes the shelter. “Our animal services team ensures that dogs, cats, horses, chickens, rabbits, and many other animals are rescued and provided forever homes.”

A new state-of-the-art animal services center 20 times bigger than the current 40-year-old shelter is scheduled to open in 2021, but construction is several months behind the schedule announced last fall.

The new animal shelter campus will be located at the County Center on Highland Avenue in San Martin, 90 Highland Ave., in unincorporated Santa Clara County. The proposed animal shelter will include a one-story building, parking, livestock barn and pastures, and dog play yards spanning approximately 4.5 acres. The 37,000-square-foot one-story building would house functions such as the adoption area, animal holding and housing areas, spay and neuter clinic, veterinary medicine and support areas, administrative areas, and a community multi-use center.

The existing county animal shelter is located at 12370 Murphy Ave., San Martin.

The county said the animal shelter’s active foster-pet program, spay and neuter efforts, adoptions, donations, and volunteering have all played a critical role in saving many animal lives.

“I like to think of us as the ‘Little Shelter that Could’,” said Animal Shelter Program Manager Lisa Jenkins. “Despite the limitations and size of our building, we are able to provide great care and positive outcomes for the animals here. I think our success lies in the empowerment of our community. We look for ways to say ‘yes’ when people want to help shelter pets.”

One example of that is the Shelter’s Foster Field Trip Program which allows animal lovers to pick up a dog from the shelter for a daytime outing or even a weekend sleepover. Many of the pets end up being adopted by their new friend, or gain an advocate who ultimately helps to find a great adoptive family. The dogs also get valuable time experiencing life outside of the shelter to decompress and show their personalities.

The shelter’s life-saving doesn’t stop at the county lines. When animal shelters in neighboring communities are beyond capacity, the County of Santa Clara Animal Shelter steps in to bring pets to safety and give them a second chance.

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