Following six years of preparation, PALS Haven is expected to open its doors to Lodi’s homeless animals by the end of the year.

Since PALS was founded in 2004, the organization’s staff have wanted to build an animal shelter large enough to house hundreds of animals that had been abandoned or neglected.

“The city’s animal shelter has very limited space and reaches capacity due to the limited space. Opening up the Haven, we will be able to house 50 dogs and 100 cats,” said Nancy Alumbaugh, one of the founders of PALS.

The Lodi Animal Services shelter is at capacity, according to the Lodi Police Department.

The shelter has 10 large cages for small dogs — which usually house two dogs in one cage — and 15 cages that are designated for large dogs, with space for 30 to 36 cats.

PALS Haven is a 13,000-square-foot facility located on two acres of property on West Sargent Road, near Sycamore Lane Kennels.

“The property for PALS Haven was donated by Sycamore Lane Kennels, which really helped reduce the cost to build the project,” Alumbaugh said.

In addition for cages to house adoptable animals, the Haven will be equipped with dog and cat isolation areas used to separate sick animals and allow them to rest and recover away from healthy animals.

There will also be 11 dog runs, “meet and greet” spaces for potential adopters to get acquainted with the animals, and 500-square-foot open cat playroom, which will have cat towers and a painted tree with ledges for the cats to climb.

The lobby is already laid out. A monitor will displays the animals in the Haven.

“We have a local artist who is volunteering their services to paint murals on the walls, and provide paintings for the lobby,” Alumbaugh said.

PALS Haven will cost a total of $2 million to complete, most of which has been raised by community donors and through fundraisers. A facility like PALS Haven usually costs $8 to $10 million, Alumbaugh said, but they have been able to keep costs low because of their nonprofit status.

Bob Matthews, a volunteer with PALS, estimates that $1.6 million has been used in the construction so far.

“We are close to completing the first phase of this project, we just need to get the kennels in here so we can get animals in here,” he said.

The project is being completed in stages, with phase two being a 2,000-square-foot upstairs business office. The third phase is planned as a 3,000-square-foot education and activity center, and the fourth phase is planned as a 4,000-square-foot kennel, which will house an additional 50 dogs.

There is also a 1,300-square-foot space that could be used as an on-site veterinary office, according to Matthews.

Volunteers are working to complete other parts of the PALS Haven project, including landscaping, fencing, countertop installation and adding water tankers to the property.

“I am going to build a pergola for the patio, which will be part of the front landscape,” Matthews said.

Before PALS Haven can officially open, the shelter must receive a partial occupancy permit from the San Joaquin County, which will allow PALS to accommodate the animals. They are hoping to receive the permit in the next few weeks.

As dedicated volunteers and members of PALS work to complete the remaining projects for the Haven, they are looking forward to a grand opening where they can share with the community.

“This project would not be possible without the continued support and generosity of this community,” Alumbaugh said.

For more information about PALS Haven, visit www.palslodi.org/pals-haven-an-update. Donations can be made online or sent to PALS, 1040 W. Kettleman Lane, Suite 379, Lodi CA 95240.

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