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Animal Services: The beginning of something new

Karen McNay
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Palo Alto Animal Services volunteer Karen McNay plays with cats last week at Palo Alto Animal Services.

Past visitors to the Palo Alto Animal Services shelter may notice the lobby is now brighter and airier than before, but changes underway at the Bayshore Road facility go beyond a fresh coat of paint and the removal of window shades.

This marks the third week of Pets In Need’s operation of Palo Alto Animal Services, a Palo Alto City Council-sanctioned takeover meant to pump life into the ailing 1970s-era shelter, which serves Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

As part of the Redwood City-based nonprofit’s five-year, $3.7 million agreement with Palo Alto, the Animal Services facility will undergo renovations in three phases: the expansion of the medical area, the addition of a modular unit to host staff and educational programs and, a year or so down the road, the construction of new dog kennels.

“Even with these renovations, if you could wave a magic wand and have them all done at once, that still doesn’t give us the shelter environment that we’re looking for to allow for staff to grow professionally and education programs to thrive and to really turn the shelter into a big source for the community,” said Al Mollica, Pets In Need executive director.

The ultimate goal is to build a new, state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the existing shelter or at another location.

“The plan is for us to get situated in here and prove that we’re deserving of the public’s support,” Mollica said.

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