The Burbank Animal Shelter has been a haven for animals who are looking to have another chance in a loving home.
However, animal officials for several months have had to deal with some uninvited guests — numerous rodents that may have been displaced by Caltrans’ 5 Freeway improvement project, said Burbank police Capt. Eric Deroian.
Since October, Burbank police, employees from the city’s Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments, as well as county officials have been working on substantial renovations to the shelter and its administration building to make sure they are free of rodents and to prevent the creatures from easily returning.
Deroian said he is hoping the facility is ready for employees and guests to return in the next month or so.
“I don’t want us to go back until I feel like the building is exactly where we want it to be,” Deroian said.
In the fall, California Department of Transportation officials were busy making progress on the Empire interchange project along the 5 Freeway, which involves building an underpass that will connect Empire Avenue with North San Fernando Boulevard.
“The location of the animal shelter is near where they’re doing all that construction,” Deroian said. “So, when they started doing construction, I’m not a rat expert, but it probably uprooted a lot of the nests or wherever they were living, and that’s how we got an influx of them.”
For the most part, upgrades to the facility included rodent-proofing every entry into the administration building, kennels and rooms where cats are housed and surgeries are performed.
Deroian said employees were moved into a mobile command center for several months to conduct adoptions and other business.
However, the space proved to be too small for employees and guests, so operations were moved into modular bungalows until the renovations are completed.
The animals have been in their kennels for most of the facility’s rehabilitation, but they were moved into a local boarding facility for five days while the shelter was tented to fumigate for insects and rodents.
Deroian said the facility has been rodent-free since then, and he is waiting for the renovations to be completed before the staff moves back in.
“It’s been a long and productive journey, and I think the employees and citizens will be proud of the new facility,” he said.