A new animal shelter opening today in Mission Hills marks a unique partnership between the city and a nonprofit animal charity. | Photo gallery
Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society will operate its no-kill shelter and pet adoption center at 15321 S. Brand Boulevard. The site formerly housed the city-run Northeast Animal Care Center.
The new facility will offer pet adoptions, spay and neuter services, and licenses. The roughly 100 dogs and cats housed at the center come from the city’s six Animals Services shelters.
“We’ll have cats and dogs of all sizes, shapes, colors and breeds,” said Jennifer Krause, marketing specialist at Best Friends.
The City Council voted last year to turn over operations to Best Friends, arguing the city could save an estimated $3.3 million a year in salaries and related costs by letting a private group run the shelter.
The facility, which was closed to the public, formerly housed problem animals and pets whose owners were in jail. The $19.5 million mission-style facility was completed in 2008, paid for with part of a $154 million bond issued to build and upgrade animal facilities. But it never operated at full capacity because of city funding shortfalls.
The city continues to pay debt on that bond, according to city administrative officer Miguel Santana, who praised the deal with Best Friends.
“This allows the city to provide better services to the community by sharing expenses with a nonprofit,” Santana said, adding that animals’ lives will be saved through the partnership.
Best Friends has promised to invest more than $1 million in the Northeast Shelter and told City Council members last year it will be able to provide 3,000 adoptions in its first year. It also predicts it will spay or neuter 6,000 animals.
Santana said the city is looking to replicate the Mission Hills model with a shelter in South L.A.
The Best Friends Pet Adoption Center will open at 10 a.m. today. Operating hours are: Wednesday-Friday, 12-8 p.m., and Saturday and Monday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.