In 2002, Berkeley voters approved a bond measure that would provide funding for a new animal control center in the City. Now, more than a decade later, City officials unveiled the new facility to the public.
For the past 70 years, Berkeley’s animal control center was more functional than it was sanitary or safe. Built to outdated earthquake codes, lacking sufficient airflow, and with a kennel arrangement that increases the stress levels for animals awaiting adoption; the old Berkeley Animal Shelter was in desperate need of replacement.
The new animal shelter is two stories and has many improved features, including a medical suite for on-site spay and neutering; expanded facilities for protecting healthy animals and caring for sick ones; fenced-in animal play areas; indoor-outdoor kennels, and more.
The voter-approved bond covered $7.2 million of the project’s total cost of $12.4 million. More than a quarter million dollars went to developing a full-service medical suite at the facility. Crate and Barrel donated more than $24,000 in furniture for the new facility, which will allow for community meetings, volunteer training, and better access to the animals looking for their ‘furever’ homes. Once open, the City’s Animal Services committee will be able to meet in the space, instead of at the City’s senior center – further demonstrating the need to build the new facility.
And while the new center – named after Berkeley’s late Councilmember Dona Spring who “instrumental l in highlighting animal welfare problems in Berkeley and was central in solving them” – is has more square footage, it should house about the same number of animals.
Also improved in the project was the Touchdown Plaza, which is a gateway to the Berkeley Bike Bridge and the San Francisco Bay Trail. The improvements include a public plaza with an embedded bicycle map of Berkeley and seat walls, a pedestrian promenade, art panels, and new Bay-Friendly landscaping.