County: Animal Shelter behind schedule, now opening in 2019

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Bernalillo County is in desperate need of more room to care for stray animals. It’s been like that for years, but officials said those animals will have to wait about another month before its $1 million facility is ready.

The county broke ground on the $7.8 million shelter in July 2017.

Bernalillo County hoped to have this shelter open for business by the end of the summer, but construction did not go as planned. 

According to the county, during the construction phase there were mistakes made by sub-contractors that took extra time to fix, and concerns over walls that needed to be torn down, or tile conflicts.

“There have been delays, with any construction project, factors that are beyond the control of local government,” County Commission Maggie Hart Stebbins said. 

The Animal Care and Resource Center is located off Second Street, just north of Rio Bravo. It’s a first of its kind for the county that Hart Stebbins said will be beneficial for residents.

“We are going to be able to really govern how the animals are cared for and we feel like that’s going to be a great leap forward,” she said.

For years, the county has paid to house their animals in other county and city shelters, and that got expensive. The project was paid for by a series of GO bonds approved by taxpayers.

“The taxpayers repeatedly approved funds for this project,” Hart Stebbins said. “Again, it’s going to be an operational savings to the Bernalillo County budget, but there was a capital cost. But the voters have told us that they want this and that they’re excited that it’s finally opening.”

The county said it’s working to schedule a “ribbon cutting” date sometime in January. For now, it said it’s in the process of starting to move staff into the building.

According to Hart Stebbins, even with the delays, the total cost of the project is coming in nearly $150,000 under budget.

The center will offer veterinary care, pet adoption, microchipping, as well as spaying and neutering.

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