Fulton breaks ground on $38M animal shelter site

The humans of the Fulton County Commission ceremonially broke ground Thursday for a $38 million animal shelter that will provide humane care to the county’s furry, winged and hooved residents.

The existing 1978 building has been overcrowded and in disrepair for years. Sometimes eight dogs pack a single a kennel. And the building wasn’t designed to house cats, so they are stacked in a separate trailer.

The 58,000-square-foot new shelter will triple the county’s current capacity and hold 340 dogs along with 90 cats, said Fulton’s project head Bill Mason. A pasture and barn will house livestock from animal abuse cases and unfit homes.

Credit: Ben Brasch

Credit: Ben Brasch

“This is a massive improvement,” said Matt Kraczon, who runs business development for the shelter’s design firm PGAL. The new shelter should open in about a year and last the county about 40 years, he said.

Fulton is funding this project using Fulton County Urban Redevelopment Authority bond dollars.

Commissioners on Wednesday approved the fourth and final $3.6 million option to have LifeLine Animal Project continue to manage county animal services for Fulton through Dec. 31, 2022. Like they do in DeKalb, the organization often holds free adoption events to clear Fulton’s shelters.

ExploreFulton OKs $3.6M contract with animal shelter manager

Around when commissioners unanimously voted to construct a new center in May 2019, commission chairman Robb Pitts described the shelter as looking “like a third- or fourth-world facility.”

On Thursday, he said the new animal center should spur development along Fulton Industrial Boulevard.

County manager Dick Anderson said the shelter will be joined by a roughly $15 million public safety training center, both near the Fulton County Executive Airport — which is preparing for its own $100 million overhaul.

The county has also purchased five hotels that were hotbeds for crime along with a gas station and a convenience store with hopes of private development, he said.