A dog's life will be pretty luxurious for strays living in the city's new $2.3-million animal shelter.
The shelter includes skylights, heated floors, paneled walls, showers, private water lines for each cage and a get-acquainted park. The $329,000 yearly operating cost--$129,000 more than the city spends on a senior citizens community center--is drawing fire.
"This is not an animal shelter. This is a very palatial, heated facility with fancy things it doesn't need," said Gary Manley, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council last year.
Councilwoman Sharon Cody said the shelter should lead to more pet adoptions, helping save some of the 200 to 300 dogs and cats put to sleep each year in Mission Viejo.
"We have to get people over that stereotypical image of the dog pound," Cody said. "I wanted a parklike setting because I thought it would be a place that families would come and sit and visit."
The shelter has 36 kennels and space for 64 cats. It is scheduled to open Oct. 11.