BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been years since Bernalillo County officials first asked for and received money to put toward opening a county animal shelter, yet it hasn’t been built. KRQE News 13 asked what was causing the delay.
In 2012, voters passed a $1.5 million bond to open a Bernalillo County animal shelter. Then again in 2014, a $4.4 million bond was passed for the same purpose.
Five years later, and the lot where the shelter should be on 2nd Street south of Woodward sits empty. It was just last summer that Misha Goodman, director of Bernalillo County Animal Care Services, said the shelter would open in Summer 2016.
“What happened was the bids went out, and they came back almost a million dollars over budget,” Goodman said on Tuesday.
The total $5.9 million in bond money wasn’t enough for the planned 17,000+ square foot facility. The county could have downsized the project to make the budget work, Goodman said, but ultimately decided it needed the best facility possible and to ask voters for more help.
This November, voters can expect to see another $1.5 million bond proposal on the ballot to finally get the shelter construction underway.
“We would start construction in the spring [of 2017], then we would have a twelve month project and we would be complete,” she said.
The project is long overdue, Goodman said. Right now, the county houses animals brought in by its officers and residents at a small, former fire station on Gatewood in the South Valley. It has limited space, and a majority of the animals end up being transferred to the city of Albuquerque’s shelters, anyways.
“We’re taking in enough animals that we really need to deal with them on our own,” Goodman said.
Last year, 1,225 animals were taken from the county makeshift shelter to the city’s shelters.
On top of that, the city says, an average of four animals a day are brought to its shelters by residents. The city doesn’t turn them away or ask Bernalillo County Animal Care Services to come get the pets.
Driving the point home that Bernalillo County needs its own facility is a change announced by the city starting in September.
The city says it will stop taking in animals from Bernalillo County Animal Services and only accept county animals brought in by residents. It’s because of a construction project at the Eastside shelter on Lomas. Seventy-four kennels are being torn down and rebuilt. The project should take nine months.
The county says its animals could end up going to Santa Fe, instead.