PLACER COUNTY, CA - People love animals, but how much should taxpayers pay to take care of them?
The current Placer County Animal Shelter is more than 40 years old and less than 10,000 square feet, but updating it won't be cheap.
A North Auburn field is set to be the future home of a new 35,000 square foot facility, but the $23.6 million price tag has some in Placer County scratching their heads.
FACEBOOK: Fans soundoff about the animal shelter's price tag
The Placer County Board of Supervisors had similar concerns, but after questioning those in charge of the project, the board voted unanimously to move forward and start accepting bids to build the new facility.
Mike Winters runs the current shelter and said he understands the initial reaction to the high cost.
"What they don't realize is, an animal shelter is kind of a unique creature," Winters said.
Special design features like sloping floors and cages with individual drainage systems are just some of the things that run up the costs. Plus, they'll be adding a surgical center, something they've never had before.
"The surgery area is like a human surgery area to some degree. We have to have certain air exchanges and protocols that go on to keep things very clean and sanitary for doing the surgeries," Winters said.
Shelter employees point to a case of a chihuahua named Woody, who was kicked until his jaw broke. However, soon he will be adoptable after months in and out of surgery.
"Right now, we have to unfortunately euthanize some of the animals that have medical problems that we can't possibly treat here right now," Winters said.
Once competing bids are received, the project could be awarded as early as September, with an estimated completion by fall 2015.