Jeanette Littlebear is no stranger to the old Manteca Animal Shelter on Wetmore Street.
When it came time to add a dog to her family, she went searching and found a white malamute and husky mix that she just couldn’t live without. She started the adoption process right then and there in the tight, cramped quarters that housed Manteca’s lost pets for nearly five decades.
So when she walked through the new $2.1 million animal shelter on South Main Street at Wetmore Street on Thursday morning, Littlebear was blown away by the modern yet warm feel of the new complex and the space that will allow for more animals and their potential masters.
“It’s bright in here and it’s clean and it’s not nearly as dreary as it was over at the other shelter,” Littlebear said as she browsed the 26 kennels that can be split in half to accommodate up to 52 dogs. “I think that the whole environment will help draw people in and that’ll help these animals find new homes.”
And it didn’t take long for local animal lovers like Virginia Schumacher to come leave a little something extra for the animals to enjoy.
While most people were content with just taking the brief tour through the facility, Schumacher brought a bag full of blankets that will be used on the floor of the dog kennels – outfitting the new facility with new bedding that helps make what she hopes will be a temporary stay for the dogs a little more comfortable.
With her 11-year-old German shepherd – “Princess” – outside in the car, Schumacher was anxious to get back outside so she could go pick up some cat food to fill another need at the new shelter.
“I wanted to get down here today for the ceremony but I didn’t get the chance to make it here in time,” Schumacher said. “But from what I’ve seen so far it’s very nice and it’s better equipped than the other shelter. I think that a location like this will give the pets a better chance to getting adopted.”
According to former chief of police and current Mayor Willie Weatherford, the Wetmore shelter was initially designed as a temporary site when he took over the reins of the department in 1966. Obviously, he said during his remarks to the public, the new facility was long overdue for a city of Manteca’s size.
For Peggy Miller – a 23-year veteran of Manteca’s Animal Control unit – the new facility is a welcome change.
“We were talking the other day and I said that I didn’t think that this was going to happen before I retired,” Miller said. “We were really restricted over there, and when we had a family that came in and wanted to adopt an animal, we really didn’t have any space for them other than the kennel and the space outside of it.
“Now we have a room where they can play with the animals and see if it’s one they want to adopt. I think that’s going to help a lot.”
The new Manteca Animal Shelter is located at 316 S. Main Street on the corner of Main and Wetmore Streets.
Fees collected from growth that can only be used for government facilities was used to cover the $2.1 million cost.