Maricopa County plans to consolidate animal shelters; east shelter in Mesa may close

Maricopa County is planning to consolidate all animal shelter services into a renovated and expanded central location, minutes away from I-17 on the county’s Durango campus. This is the next step in Animal Care and Control’s mission to save lives and provide better customer service, according to a press release.

“Centralizing our services to one high-functioning center that meets the standards of care expected today would be a good step for all of Maricopa County’s homeless animals and the people who care about them,” Animal Care and Control Director Mary Martin said in the release. “This move would allow us to reallocate staff to services that reunite people with their pets and prevent the break-up of families in the first place.”

Animal Care & Control operates two shelters, one at 27th Avenue and Durango and another at the Loop 101 and Rio Salado in Mesa, known to many as the east shelter.  Architects are creating plans for an expansion and renovation of the Durango shelter and the closure of the east shelter, according to the release.

“There is no room for expansion at the shelter in Mesa and the building doesn’t function well,” Deputy County Manager Reid Spaulding said in the release.  “The mission is to find permanent homes for more animals.  That takes a facility with the capacity and layout to meet the demands we are seeing today and expect in the future.”

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors recently approved $1.8 million to design a central shelter using the latest science about animal behavior and workflow in this type of facility. This will help board members consider how a comprehensive, high-performing animal resource center at the current Durango location might come into being.

“Animal intake in Maricopa County has declined 13 percent every year for the last five years, creating the possibility for a different approach to animal welfare that emphasizes service and prevention, not just sheltering,” Ms. Martin said in the release.

The county has not decided yet what to do with the east shelter building.

“The existing east facility’s design and construction is obviously unique and specific to providing proper animal care and sheltering,” Deputy County Manager Spaulding said in the release. “That makes repurposing the building for county or non-county use cost prohibitive without extensive interior demolition.  We are hopeful that perhaps an organization engaged in animal welfare will express interest in the building.”

Learn more about Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, read a letter from Director Mary Martin, get answers to frequently asked questions and more at a website created specifically for this project.  Go to maricopa.gov/ShelterPlans.

An animal control video is at http://www.maricopa.gov/CivicMedia?VID=95.

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