The unwanted cats and dogs of Saratoga County will be sleeping in a new home tonight.
About 30 dogs and 30 cats will make the short trip from the current county animal shelter on County Farm Road to the newly constructed shelter this afternoon.
The canine and feline move into the new $5.3 million shelter just a few yards from the old one will involve county supervisors and shelter volunteers.
“This is a great day in Saratoga County for all the homeless and unwanted animals. Thank you to everyone who made this day possible,” said animal shelter Director Dan Butler.
The move was finalized Friday, after a state building inspector issued a certificate of occupancy.
Ground was broken for the new shelter last Sept. 30, after a planning process that had lasted several years. The new shelter is much larger than the old shelter, parts of which were more than 100 years old. The old building will be demolished in the next few weeks.
The supervisors most closely involved in overseeing the project expressed happiness at its completion, and plan to be present to walk dogs on leashes, or carry caged cats.
“Watching over this project for the past year has been an important part of the Buildings and Grounds Committee’s agenda,” said committee Chairman Frank Thompson, R-Milton.
“This new shelter provides an excellent environment for Saratoga County residents to come to and find a new pet to add to their family,” said Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Mindy Wormuth, R-Halfmoon. “Connecting these animals with people who can provide safe forever-homes is in the best interest of not only these animals, but of all county residents.”
The new shelter building will be open starting Monday, though some furniture and cages may remain to be moved from the old building. “It will be a good week or two before we’re settled,” Butler said.
At 24,000 square feet, the new shelter is three times the size of the old one, and it will have more-modern animal-care facilities, including a surgical area where all adopted animals will be spayed or neutered before leaving to join their new famillies.
On top of the $5.3 million county-funded construction contract, Butler estimated about $150,000 raised through private donations has been spent on extras including additional kennels, surgical equipment, bathing tubs, washers and dryers.
“It’s going to be much nicer for the animals,” Butler said.