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Pontiac – County officials, employees and animal lovers jammed a ribbon-cutting Wednesday for a new Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center.

The $15.5 million, 35,400-square-foot facility is aimed at helping to adopt out each year thousands of abandoned or lost dogs and cats. The county shelter traditionally cares for 4,000 animals annually and boasts a life release of 85 percent of all dogs.

“It’s subtle, but we have changed the name from just a shelter to an adoption center – that is the mission,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson at the grand opening of the county’s government complex off Telegraph Road.

The old shelter was located on Brown Road in Auburn Hills. Patterson said by moving it to the center of county government buildings in Pontiac, it should be easier to locate by residents in search of missing animals or looking to take one into their home.

The county has known the need for a larger, modern facility for some time but all county capital improvement projects had been put on hold following the 2008 recession, Patterson said. In 2013, director of public services Mark Newman and others began visiting other animal shelters for ideas to incorporate in Oakland County.

The building is split into public areas for “Lost & Found” animals, an Adoption Center and a Community Room for related pet adoption events, such as an Oct. 14 Bissell Pet Foundation’s Empty the Shelters event to encourage the public to adopt dogs and cats at the facility. All normal adoption fees -- $136.50 for dogs and $57.50 for cats – are dropped during the Oct. 14 event.

Every animal adopted from the shelter is spayed or neutered and is up to date on all vaccinations.

The shelter has designated medical examination and treatment rooms, a lab, an X-ray machine and, as architect Stephen Auger noted, “basically everything a hospital has in it.”

“This is a great day for the lost or stray animal in Oakland County,” Augur said.

There are spacious, fenced outdoor-areas where volunteers can play with and exercise dogs in an animal agility course, which resembles a children’s playground. Inside, cats and dogs are housed in separate areas to reduce stress and even equipped with piped-in music. Capacity is 150 dogs and 140 cats.

“I’m really impressed with the shelter,” said Waterford Township Trustee Anthony Bartolotta, one of about 100 people who attended the ribbon-cutting and toured the facility.

The new shelter is located at 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 42 East. Pet adoption hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information call (248) 858-1070 or visit www.OakGov.com/PetAdoption.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

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