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Wednesday, Sep 04 2013 05:15 PM

County eyes four sites for new shelter

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    By Autumn Parry / The Californian

    A domestic shorthair sits in its cage at the Kern County Animal Control Shelter in Bakersfield one recent Tuesday. The city of Bakersfield has given the county until Sept. 30 to move out of the facility.

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BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Kern County has narrowed its animal shelter options down to four locations.

They include two properties owned by the county, the Sczyr Kennel & Cattery business on East Brundage Lane and a three-building industrial complex on Fruitvale Avenue.

"We've narrowed it down to four. That's pretty good," said Jeff Frapwell, the assistant county administrative officer for general services.

Frapwell said the locations will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for private discussion on Tuesday.

Kern County is looking at 3951 Fruitvale and the Sczyr kennels as potential sites for the county's shelter, documents show. Two other sites are unidentified county-owned properties.

The Sczyr property is already developed with kennels and animal care facilities that could be adapted for county use, he said.

Owner Frances Reynolds said she is interested in selling the property, not leasing it.

"We're continuing to negotiate with the county in good faith," said her attorney William Kuhs.

Her business remains open, Reynolds said.

The other publicly owned site being considered is industrial and has a single office building fronting Fruitvale Avenue and two other buildings located behind it.

Kennels would go indoors at that location, Frapwell said.

As for the two county-owned properties, Frapwell said, one is developed with a structure or structures and the second has no buildings on it.

Kern County Animal Control Director Jen Woodard said that whichever location is chosen, the county will need to do a lot of work to get things up to snuff by the end of the month.

"Nothing is set up perfectly for us," she said.

The county is looking at basic, subsistence-level services.

There must be water for the animals, a place for their waste to go and ways to keep them safe and comfortable.

"Drainage and water usage is a critical concern," Woodard said. "All we need right now is kennels, water, drainage."

The kennel issue could be a problem.

"One of our biggest challenges now is securing portable kennels that can be used long-term," she said.

The county is appealing to national animal welfare organizations for help in bringing those kennels together.

Frapwell said it is critical for the county to quickly decide which property to secure so upgrade work can begin immediately.

By the end of the month, the county must be out of its current shelter on South Mount Vernon Avenue.

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