At its August 17 meeting the Los Banos City Council dealt with the ongoing issue of the city’s animal shelter and agreed to pursue a large-scale capital improvement plan.

During the public forum Nancy Klein, an animal rights advocate from Riverbank who has previously spoken to the council, returned to discuss issues regarding the Los Banos Animal Shelter. She noted the overcrowding of animals, insufficient staff and insufficient hours of operation that do not suit the community’s needs.

At the request of Council Member Deborah Lewis, Police Chief Gary Brizzee presented an overview of the Los Banos Animal Shelter Capital Improvement Plan.

In this plan Brizzee said that the budget for the Los Banos Animal Shelter was increased from $250,000 to $1 million for the fiscal year 2022/2023. In consideration for this project are improvements regarding shelter office space, site security and Americans with Disabilities (ADA) accessibility improvements.

In addition, spaces to separate dogs and cats, quarantine spaces to separate the sick from the healthy, a public reception and adoption space, a small animal area and storage areas are being considered for this project.

“It’s a larger capital project, a $1 million is a lot of taxpayer dollars,” Brizzee said. “That necessitates engaging with some engineering consultant firms to ensure that we develop a long-term plan that’s effective for the growth of our shelter and community, while still being fiscally responsible.”

At the end of the presentation Lewis said, “I think it would be appropriate as a city that we move forward and look at planning for an animal shelter, and build something that is going to last and have enough room to accommodate the animals that are brought in.”

Lewis added that the council needs help from the community through private donations to build a viable animal shelter because the general fund cannot cover all needs.

“Total cost is about $12 million for a righteously constructed facility,” Brizzee said. “I’m willing to go down that road with you because our community deserves that.”

Malina Duran

Malina Duran’s email is