San Mateo County looks to rebuild Peninsula Humane Society animal shelter 

Animals being cared for at the Peninsula Humane Society’s Coyote Point facility in San Mateo may soon have a new temporary home.

San Mateo County is seeking to construct a new shelter at its 12 Airport Blvd. site to replace the nearly 60-year-old deteriorating structure where surrendered, stray and lost animals are brought as a first stop.

“We have flooding in the parking lot; the roofs have been repaired several times,” Humane Society Director Scott Delucchi said. “The areas where the animals are held is probably the biggest concern. There’s not proper ventilation. It’s hard to keep animals healthy there.”

The facility in San Mateo is one of two centers where the Humane Society houses animals and provides a variety of care services. In September 2011, the nonprofit organization opened the privately funded Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion at 1450 Rollins Road in Burlingame, where the center keeps its adoptable animals and administrative center. The Burlingame center also offers a pet and gift store, and it holds animal camps and other community-oriented activities.

“All the things we choose to do as a Humane Society and fund with donations happen at the Burlingame center,” Delucchi said. “The things we’re contracted to do [by the county] happen at the San Mateo center.”

That’s partly due to the condition of the Humane Society’s facility in San Mateo, according to Delucchi.

“Every building has a lifetime, and this one’s lived it,” he said.

The new shelter project is estimated to cost around $15 million to $20 million, according to S. T. Mayer, director of public health, policy and planning for San Mateo County, but an exact figure will not be determined until the cities that contract with the shelter are all on board.

The county has begun reaching out to the 20 Peninsula cities needed to sign memorandums of agreement for such a facility, which include 30-year leases where the costs will depend on each city’s population and shelter utilization rate.

On Feb. 19, Atherton became the first city to approve its memorandum of agreement. Daly City, San Bruno, Half Moon Bay and Foster City have since approved agreements as well, Mayer said.

As the largest city in San Mateo County, Daly City will see a minimum annual lease of $52,087 per year, and a maximum of $69,679 per year, according to Mayer.

The county is hoping to have the rest of the agreements approved in the next two months, Mayer said.

Once the cities agree to the leases, the county would provide a 30-year, no-interest loan for the cities, and ideally the new shelter would be completed by July 2015, according to Mayer.

Mayer said it’s less expensive in the long run for the county to rebuild the San Mateo site instead of continuing to pay for repairs.

“The current shelter has fallen into disrepair,” Mayer said. “It’s not up to current standards for animal care and control function. We’ve been sinking a fair amount in maintenance. It would be more responsible to rebuild rather than putting money into that endlessly.”

The San Mateo shelter is expected to remain open while the new building is constructed — on the same site, but next to the current facility. And it can’t come a moment too soon for the animals, Delucchi said.

“We like to say the Coyote Point facility has all the charm of the DMV,” Delucchi said.

Clarification: Due to incorrect information provided to The San Francisco Examiner, ownership of the Airport Boulevard facility was wrongly reported.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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