New animal shelter at Coyote Point begins construction

Kayla Shiao

A new animal shelter will be built at Coyote Point Park in San Mateo to replace the outdated one that operated for 60 years. Construction began on Oct. 10, and the new facility is expected to open in winter 2019.

The shelter will be completed by San Mateo County under the advising of the Peninsula Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“The state of California requires every county and city to have an animal shelter for what the state says local governments must do to help homeless animals,” said Ken White, President of the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA. “The shelter that’s being built is simply replacing an older facility that has worn out. It’s over 60 years old, and it’s just time for a new facility.”

Animal shelters provide a location where animals are rescued, rehabilitated and adopted, but issues of spacing and funding are often prevalent.

“The main problem that shelters face is not enough capacity for the amount of incoming animals, in addition to ensuring there are enough funds and helping hands to feed and care for the animals,” said junior Melinda Ma, Paw Club Vice President and SPCA volunteer.

The facility will be funded by the San Mateo community, costing between $15 and $20 million, and will feature new updates and technology.

“The Coyote Point shelter will be approximately a little more than 30,000 feet,” White said. “There has been a lot of development like the right materials to use in a building that helps prevent disease, the right way to filter air, to control comfort and health of the animals.”

Despite requests for an updated shelter occurring decades ago, planning only began over a year ago.

“I’ve been here for 15 years and we’ve been pushing heavily,” White said. “One of the problems, especially in the type of shelters in Coyote Point, is that there are some animals or dogs that are accused of being dangerous and or having behavior problems and are on hold at the shelter for a really long time. This new facility will have indoor and outdoor areas so that those dogs can get much better exercise and have more freedom than they could in the older facility. [It] will have special rooms built for staff work with cats who are not quite ready to be around people but have potential to become tame and gentle.”

The SPCA, a global non-profit organization, aims to improve animal welfare.

“The SPCA focuses on protecting rescued animals and will shut down the cruel, abusive puppy mills … By taking away [the mills’] profit, we can hopefully condemn other abusive businesses in the future,” said Paw Club President, junior Lilian Shen. “The SPCA provides mental and physical aid to all animals, both wild and domestic. All the animals are treated humanely, are well taken care of, and eventually end up in a loving environment.”

The efforts of the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA to construct this new facility reinforces the importance of protecting animals.

“I think the whole San Mateo County is very fortunate … this county was the first one to build a public low-cost facility … And that sort of early innovation by the Humane Society at the Coyote Point facility has really made it one of the safest places in the world for homeless dogs and cats,” White said. “This community has come to expect good, compassionate, innovative care for its animals. The new facility will continue in that tradition, as the building and facility itself has modernized.”

Posted by Srimaye Samudrala

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