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Bigger animal shelter on track

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Christmas Valley resident Mike Goodno, with his dog "Sunny," is in favor of the animal shelter expansion.
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MEYERS – Although NIMBY may be a going trend in neighborhoods across the U.S., that mentality hasn’t quite reached this little South Shore haven in Christmas Valley.

The “not-in-my backyard” attitude seems to apply more to coyotes than barking dogs at the El Dorado County Animal Shelter.

The 4,000-square-foot facility on an acre lot on Shakori Drive is on track to expand next door this summer, with the closing of the one-acre property come July and construction on the project planned in August.



The county Board of Supervisors will hear about the plan and purchase of the property in June. The project is listed as a priority of District 5 Supervisor Norma Santiago.

The county sent out notices to neighbors informing them of the local government’s plans to redesign the backside kennel, replace the fencing, install a ventilation system and build a public viewing space and quarantine area. No comments have been filed with the county by neighbors within 1,000 feet of the project.



“It’s long overdue,” said Rick Robinson, who lives in the area on Cornelian Drive. He added he’s more apt to hear coyotes and Caltrans wake him up than the dogs from the kennel. Caltrans operates a yard across from the shelter.

Another Cornelian Drive resident, Mike Goodno, not only urges the county to expand the place, the longtime resident supports their work. He got his pride and joy from the kennel – an 8-year-old Labrador mix named Sunny.

“I see it being an improvement because the place is nasty,” Goodno said.

Goodno, one of five neighbors informally surveyed by the Tahoe Daily Tribune, said he hears only occasional barking from the kennel. Across Highway 89, Patty Pileggi said she doesn’t hear barking from her apartment on Blitzen Drive.

“Even if they did, it wouldn’t bother me,” she said. “But I hear more coyotes.”

The county has set aside $880,000 for the expansion. In theory, it’s intended to make the animals available for adoption more presentable and comfortable along with improving the working conditions of staff and volunteers.

The sounds inside the kennels can be deafening. The revamp will replace the fencing between the kennels with a “Dutch door” look that includes a solid wall at dog level and glass above that.

None of the neighbors interviewed believe expanding the shelter will make the facility more noisy.

“We’re just excited to upgrade the place. It’s pretty crummy,” said George Sanders of county General Services.

The project is awaiting approval from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which evaluates the coverage rules for local governments in the same way as private property owners.

A bill signed into law in 1998 made it mandatory for shelters to hold the animals up to at least five days, as part of a movement of humane animal treatment in the United States. With that, the improvements are intended to maintain better conditions for the animals and those who care for them.


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