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A new home for Rocklin animal shelter

Pacific Street facility holds grand opening
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald and Press Tribune editor
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The ribbon was cut Friday on the new Rocklin Animal Facility, to much applause – and even a few barks – from those who made it happen.

The new facility at 4357 Pacific St. measures 4,800 square feet, increased from 1,600 square feet available at the old facility on Sunset Boulevard. Under his contract with the city, Dr. Bikram Basra is paid $131,556 per year to provide the shelter for Rocklin.

“This remodel project cost about $125,000,” said Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence. “That pales in comparison to building a brand-new facility.”

About eight months ago, Lawrence said, City Manager Rick Horst “challenged my staff and I to really think about being effective, being efficient and doing what’s right for Rocklin.”

The city had previously contracted with Placer County for shelter services, at a cost of about $128,000 a year. But that didn’t include the fuel costs and staff time associated with driving to and from North Auburn, which Lawrence said happened four or five times each week. So the city reached out to local veterinarians to discuss a partnership, and Basra answered the call.

The relationship with the county was a positive one, Lawrence emphasized, but a benefit of keeping shelter services local is that the city will retain the fees associated with the impounding, storage and release of animals. The estimated fees have gone from $3,750 per year to $33,000, Lawrence told the city in 2012. The city will defer the fees to Basra for the first three years, or until they reach the original budgeted amount of $107,400 to assist with the remodel, Lawrence said. Basra’s costs went over by about $17,600, Lawrence said, but the city is not responsible for that.

The city was also charged per animal by the county, which made it hard to budget, Lawrence added. This year, he said, the city is on track to book 900 animals.

“With Dr. Basra, it’s a flat fee, $132,000,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we book five or 900 animals, it’s the same. That is a huge, huge benefit to us.”

Rocklin Mayor Diana Ruslin spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, praising all parties involved, from Basra and the city to One More Dog Rescue, which prepares dogs and cats for adoption from the facility.

“I think we are the example to our cities and the county of what partnerships are, the growth of how that happens, and I am just so proud,” she said, adding, “We’re proud of the citizens and everyone in this community, and this is just a great day, and again, we want to be the example of good government partnerships, and to serve our community to the highest level we can, and this is one of those examples.”

Rocklin Animal Control Officer Merae Riley explained that when an animal is booked into the facility – which has about 38 kennels, an area for “cat condos” and an exam room – they are given an examination and vaccinations right away, and scanned for a microchip that could reconnect them with their owner. The Animal Control officers (there are two in the city) also check Craigslist to see if someone has reported a lost animal matching the description of any at the facility. Animals are either returned to their owners or placed into the care of One More Dog Rescue, and in some cases euthanized.

Ticking off animal rescue statistics, Lawrence said that only 34 of the animals booked into the facility in the last six months were euthanized. There were 145 animals deposited in the facility, 119 “Good Samaritan” drop-offs, 53 surrendered by their owners and 86 reunited with their owners.

Alexa Michael, a Rocklin resident and One More Dog Rescue volunteer, said the new facility will make things better all around for all involved.

“At our old rescue, we would all get really crowded in there,” she said. “It was not a good place for the dogs, because it was really small.”

“It’s just kind of a fresh slate,” she added. “It’s better for the dogs and the volunteers, really.”