The animal shelter overcrowding crisis in metro Atlanta will get some relief next month.
Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco has learned a new $40 million facility is opening up in Atlanta on Dec. 2.
“This is long overdue,” said Fulton County Animal Services Shelter Director Audrey Shoemaker.
She said, at the current shelter on Marietta Boulevard, about 300 dogs and cats are packed in the 40-year-old building designed to house 80 animals and euthanize them, not open to the public for adoptions.
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The new facility is designed more like a modern hospital.
“We’re hoping that will increase our adoptions,” said Shoemaker.
The new building can fit 376 dogs, 99 cats, 12 small animals, 18 chickens and six livestock.
There are fewer kennels and more run space. Pets can choose where to sleep by passing through doggie doors connecting kennels.
There are 33 play yards outdoors, a barn, chicken coop and a 54,000 square foot pasture. The facility has separate ventilation systems for sick animals, more natural lighting and acoustics designed to reduce noise.
“It’s worth it to the taxpayer,” said Fulton County Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman.
The commissioner said the facility can offer low-cost or free vet services at a level unmatched in the metro.
That could offset one of the leading reasons shelter staff say people gave up their pets this year: costs.
“A facility in and of itself won’t solve the problem,” Fulton County COO Alton Adams admits.
He said that will involve breeding, dog fighting and animal control officer shortages.
But, he said this expansion is key to avoiding overcrowding.
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