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Animal control center approved

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnettians will soon have a new place to adopt the newest members of their families - the four-legged kind.

Commissioners awarded a $5.8 million contract to Rogers Construction Co. of Lawrenceville to build a new animal control center. The project was funded by the 2005 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The 40,000-square-foot center will be double the size of the 20-year-old building on Hi-Hope Road.

"It is well-needed," Police Chief Charles Walters said. "They do a great job with the facility they have, but it's not the ideal place to show pets."

The current animal control facility is full, Director Sammy Jeanes said. The Gwinnett shelter takes in about 15,000 animals every year. Most have either strayed from their homes or been abandoned. They are adoptable after a five-day waiting period for a $30 fee. About a third are adopted, rescued or reclaimed.

The new facility will enable workers to better quarantine animals. In 2004, the county had to euthanize many dogs, relocate others and close the shelter for days during three outbreaks of the parvovirus.

At the new Winder Highway location, which is next to a police training complex under construction near Sweetgum Road in Lawrenceville, crews will also build a barn for livestock and a police K-9 building.