Despite higher costs, the City Council has decided to switch to a new kennel in Irvine for municipal animal control.
Starting Friday, Mission Viejo strays will be brought to the animal shelter operated by the City of Irvine. Previously, animals were brought to Cambria Kennels in Santa Ana.
Officials said they were satisfied with Cambria's service, but wanted to find a kennel closer to Mission Viejo.
The new contract with Irvine will cost about $1,100 per month more than the Cambria pact, but officials said they expect savings in gas and time spent on the road by animal control officers. The Cambria kennels are 22 miles away.
"I wish it isn't a little more money, but this location will be physically closer and that will mean a lot to our program," said Councilwoman Sharon Cody.
The closer proximity of the Irvine shelter will benefit the extensive network of volunteers. Mission Viejo strays will also benefit from an aggressive adoption program used by the Irvine shelter, Cody said.
"All the people going to the Irvine shelter will also be looking at our animals," she said.
The city will lease 50 heated and covered dog runs along with eight quarantine facilities. Mission Viejo animal control officers will also work part time out of the Irvine shelter.
Mission Viejo has purchased a site near Saddleback College for an animal shelter, and plans to seek bids on the building next month.