Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, by Monica Zech:  This dog found a fur-ever home with a visitor during the opening of the new shelter.

June 5, 2018 (El Cajon) – After years of doggedly determined planning efforts, El Cajon’s new animal shelter had its grand opening on Sunday.  An estimated 1,000 people flocked to the event, which resulted in 18 pet adoptions.

“We had a gloriously exhausting day,” says Jill Jones, manager of the facility at 1373 North Marshall Avenue.  “We found forever homes for eight dogs, four cats, five kittens and one tortoise.” The latter was adopted by Dirk Epperson, the city’s public works director and his family.

At the ribbon cutting, Vice Mayor Gary Kendrick marveled that El Cajon is “not a wealthy city,” yet voters approved a ballot measure to increase their taxes in order to build the shelter.  Pondering why, he says he found the answer with his own pet pug.  “This is all about love,” he concluded.

Photo, right, courtesy City of El Cajon:  Vice Mayor Gary Kendrick, center, and other local dignitaries turned out for the ribbon cutting.

Councilmembers Bob McClelland, Steve Goble and Ben Kalasho also spoke briefly.  A commendation from the state was presented by a representative of Senator Joel Anderson’s office. 

Also receiving a commendation was the A.C.E.S. Foundation, which supports pets in the shelter.

Photo, left, by Miriam Raftery: ACES Foundation accepts commendation.

The nearly 15,000 square foot shelter created by C.W. Driver Companies include a state-of-the-art medical center and operating room, interaction areas for potential adoptions, a full-service grooming facility, and several large pet exercise and play areas.

Feline spaces are the cat’s meow, with climbing equipment and tunnels. 

Photo, right, by Miriam Raftery: Curious cat emerges from cat tunnel at shelter.

The shelter is a member of the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition, assuring that every adoptable animal receives help needed including medical care for placement into a new home.

The event also included tours of the facility, face painting and balloon animal artists for children, free hotdogs and shaved ice, a photo booth,plus vendors with animal-related services for everything from doggie day care to pet photography.

Residents from all over San Diego County are welcome to visit the shelter and adopt a pet to bring joy to your household.

Photo, below left, by Mary Ann Prall: Opening day crowd at the new animal shelter

Photo, right, below, by Paul Turang Photography.

Error message

Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at