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Putting on the dog
Animal shelter goes uptown
Architect Eric Wohle of LDA Partners stands outside the new animal shelter under construction at Wetmore Street and South Main Street. - photo by HIME ROMERO

It’s definitely the cat’s meow.

Manteca’s new animal shelter makes a bold architectural statement for a government facility that is typically drab and functional at best.

Not only does it have state-of-the-art design for animal care that meets all of the latest Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals standards, but it has it is also low maintenance while at the same time has a warm and inviting feeling.

“It is designed to grab the public’s attention,” noted architect Eric Wohle of LDA Partners. “The goal is to make the animal shelter get noticed so that there can be more pet adoptions.”

It also helps that the shelter has perhaps the highest profile location of a similar facility anywhere in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. It is located on South Main Street at the edge of downtown where more than 20,000 vehicles pass daily.

The $2.1 million shelter is expected to be finished in two weeks. It is being paid for with government facilities fees collected on new homes.

The exterior with its block and metal siding components is designed to keep maintenance costs low. The interior uses the same cost-savings principles right down to the ability to clean floors and - in some rooms - walls with a wand much like in a manual car wash.

Warm tones were used in the paint scheme to ditch the institutional feeling of a typical animal shelter.

Great care was given to mute noise and to keep animals separated as much as possible.

But the biggest change most people will initially notice is the spacious lobby - with an extensive glass entry  wall  - that is almost double the office and public entry space at the existing animal shelter just down the street.

“The entire goal is to make it inviting to encourage adoptions,” Wohle said.

There also two large animal adoption rooms with large windows. They are designed so that people considering adopting a dog or a cat can have time with the animals without them being stressed by other dogs or cats in the facility. There is also a grassy adoption area outside where potential owners can get to know a dog.

The shelter also has:

•Two separate dog rooms. Each has 13 individual kennels designed with a door that slides up in the middle of each run. That allows doubling the available space for up to 52 dogs if needed. The kennels have a system where urine and smaller fecal matter can be hosed into using the wand system after larger droppings are collected.

•There is a separate room where animals - when needed - can be put to sleep.

•There is an examine room for treating animals.

•There are two cat rooms of which one is for the isolation of sick cats.

•There is an outside holding pen for larger animals.

•There is an extensive exercise area outside for dogs.