New DeKalb animal shelter to cost more than expected - CBS46 News

New DeKalb animal shelter to cost more than expected

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DeKalb County leaders learned Tuesday that the plan animal advocates favor for a new animal shelter will cost millions more than they budgeted for.

The county has set aside $8 million for the new facility at a five-acre site off Chamblee-Dunwoody Road in Chamblee. The option that many favor has a price tag of $11.5 million.

Animal advocates told the county the new shelter must have enough space so dogs can have their own kennel and room to move around.

The current shelter in Decatur is 25 years old and rundown. Several animals are often housed in one cage.

"These are healthy adoptable dogs, generally, that are euthanized only because there's limited space," said Sonali Saindane, a member of the Animal Services Advisory Board. "It really boils down to capacity."

County leaders said finding additional money for the shelter will be a challenge, but one they are willing to consider.

"The reality is when you put more money in one area, you have to cut in other areas," said interim CEO Lee May. "So we want to make sure what we're doing is done in a very balanced way, and a very thoughtful way as well."

Lifeline Animal Project that operates the current animal shelter agrees that space is key at the new facility.

"We want individual holding areas for the animals, areas where people can bond with their new pets when they meet them," said Lifeline CEO Rebecca Guinn. " It'll be an attractive facility for people to come to. We'll be able to see the animals clearly. "It would really be a dream come true."

County leaders agreed to work together on a facility design that meets everyone's needs.

"Does it get tense sometimes?" asked Lee. "Absolutely. But you sit down and continue to have the conversation to move us forward in a very unique way to produce a good outcome for our animals."

County commissioners will meet again May 20 to discuss the shelter's future.

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