The Pima County Animal Care Center took a step toward easing overcrowding by opening a massive, semipermanent tent for some of its animals.
Shelter workers paraded 35 dogs into the tent, which was erected after the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved an emergency measure in November for the 120-by-60-foot structure next to the current facility.
The county paid $280,000 to build the tent and authorized $242,000 to add seven staff positions to support the new kennels while providing additional treatment and behavior rehabilitation for the animals, according to county officials.
The tent will eventually house 96 kennels.
Supervisors Sharon Bronson and Ray Carroll, as well as Rep. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson, and other county officials, attended Friday’s ceremony celebrating the tent’s opening and the addition of the kennels.
County officials were excited about new tent, but they realize it’s only a short-term solution for a chronic problem.
“It is temporary. We still need a much bigger and better modern facility, which we’ll soon see, we hope,” said Kim Janes, manager of the Pima Animal Care Center.
The facility, including the tent, now has 235 dog kennels, and 120 kennels and cages for cats.
But there are 520 dogs at the shelter, along with 244 cats, according to county officials.
Shelter workers hope the Board of Supervisors will put a $22 million bond to build a new animal shelter on this November’s ballot.
The Pima County Bond Advisory Committee is requesting the measure, which would give the effort to replace the 56-year-old shelter special status over more than 130 other bonds submitted by various agencies under consideration of the committee.
The effort to bond for a new shelter also has the backing of the Pima Animal Care Center Advisory Board and the Board of Health.
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry sent a memo Wednesday to the supervisors, recommending the board approve a resolution to call a bond election.
The board is expected to vote on the measure this month.