Newport Beach’s new $2.9-million animal shelter to open in early 2023

Newport Beach officials and dignitaries of the new Newport Beach Animal Shelter.
Newport Beach officials and dignitaries of the new Newport Beach Animal Shelter celebrate with a groundbreaking ceremony for the project in January this year.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

After five years of fundraising, the Newport Beach Animal Shelter is nearing completion and is now expected to open early next year.

The Friends of the Newport Beach Animal Shelter and the city of Newport Beach approved a gift agreement Tuesday that essentially hands over the shelter currently being constructed at 20282 Riverside Drive in addition to the property itself. The organization raised $2.9 million to acquire the property and finance the construction of the shelter.

The shelter broke ground in January this year, though the property itself was purchased back in 2020 for $1 million.


“I don’t know at least in my eight years ... if this has ever really been done before where a group of citizens took it upon themselves to raise $2.9 million for the acquisition of land and the construction of a new animal shelter that has been totally funded, financed, raised the money and through their complete generosity are donating that building, including the land, to the city of Newport Beach, which will continue as a city to operate through our animal control department within the police department,” Councilwoman Diane Dixon said prior to the vote Tuesday.

Dixon acknowledged several long-term organizers and the efforts of the Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter, describing the gift as a “significant public-private partnership” similar to the library lecture hall, junior lifeguard headquarters and the library in Corona del Mar.

“On behalf of the City Council, I’d like to thank FONBAS and all the private donors who contributed to make this new shelter a reality,” said Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon in a statement. “This was a tremendous effort and will make a big difference for animals under the city’s care.”

Prior to the shelter becoming a reality, the city contracted out its services to providers such as the Orange County Humane Society before it eventually authorized the usage of an existing residential kennel on 20302 Riverside Drive for a temporary animal shelter in 2017 operated by the city’s animal control department, which is folded into the police department.

With the agreement now in place, the city will be responsible for managing, operating and maintaining the shelter.

The shelter is 1,500 square feet and includes a 750-square-foot kennel, a frontyard greeting area and a rear yard for exercise.

“The Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter is extremely grateful to the City Council and all the community members who contributed time and resources to establish a permanent, state-of-the-art animal shelter,” FONBAS board member and soon-to-be Councilwoman Robyn Grant said Thursday. “This tremendous citywide effort will result in the best care for our animals and service to our residents.

“We especially honor Evelyn Hart, former Mayor and City Council Member, who passed away last week. Evelyn was our inspiration and will be recognized each time a lost or displaced animal finds a forever home after spending time at the Newport Beach Animal Shelter.”

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