DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - The city of Desert Hot Springs is enhancing its animal control and care services with the opening of a new facility.
The center have kennels for cats and dogs and is located in the western part of the city limits. At capacity, the center can hold a maximum of 25 dogs and 35 cats.
"On site, we will have dogs and cats that are located throughout the city," Doria Wilms, public information officer for the city, said. "This will be a great location and pick up their lost animals."
Wilms said the city spent the past year developing and building the facility. This came after input from community members who were concerned about the issue of stray animals wandering in the city.
"This project has been a labor of love for just about the last year or so and we're finally getting ready for the grand opening," she said.
This latest addition to the city is welcome news for some locals. Diane Stegman, a dog owner who has lived in the city for about seven years, said it would be perfect for a lost dog she recently found. She would no longer need to drive to the Riverside County shelter in Thousand Palms.
"If I had a facility like that to go to, to see if [the dog] had a chip or all that stuff," she said. "I would have definitely done it, and try to find the owners."
Stegman says she's seen less stray animals than in past years, and believes: The less animals in the streets, the better.
"You don't want to chase them because they'll go into traffic and it makes it worse," she said.
Wilms said the initial focus when the center opens is reuniting lost pets with their owners and then eventually having direct adoptions in the future.
To reduce the number of stray animals, city officials are encouraging locals to license their pets. It's offering license amnesty (licenses at no cost) for all altered, micro-chipped, and vaccinated dogs. The licenses are good for one year. Unaltered dogs will be given a temporary 60 day permit where the owner must get the dog spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, and vaccinated in order to get the license amnesty, otherwise, the owner will have to pay a fee for a license.
"The first priority is to get the compliance from the licensing standpoint and then get all of the animals spayed and neutered," Wilms said.
The facility will open starting March 1. A grand opening ceremony will happen March 3 at 10 a.m. with opportunities to spay and neuter your pet.
The facility is located at 65810 Hacienda Ave. Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240. Anyone with questions is asked to contact staff members at (760) 329-6411 ex. 450. Further details online can be found here.