NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — An upcoming addition to Newport Beach will give the city flexibility to ensure lost pets can stay locally instead of moving them elsewhere. 

The city council announced Tuesday the donation of a $3 million facility from neighborhood nonprofit Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter.

“This was a tremendous effort and will make a big difference for animals under the city’s care,” said Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon in a news release.

But the financial contributions won’t end there.

Jon Langford, president of Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter, began raising money for a shelter about seven years ago. The millions in fundraising went toward the purchase of property in April 2020 and the construction of a new shelter, which is expected to be operational by spring. Langford said his organization donated the property to the city and wants to keep bringing money in.

“We want to be able to provide procedures for animals who come in with a medical issue that might prevent them from getting adopted,” he said.

The additional money could also give the shelter the option of spay or neutering animals for free, reducing one major cost that often comes with adopting a pet.

The property at 20282 Riverside Dr. will contain about 1,500 square feet, including 750 square feet of kennel space. Inside, there will be a room for cats and a large glass window for people to see them.

Langford said the city will carry on the expense of operating the animal shelter, a task delegated to the Newport Beach Police Department. The NBPD is already leasing a space and will gradually move over to the new building when it is ready.

Many cities run their animal control departments as part of their parks and recreation programs. Or they contract the service out with private companies, a strategy Newport Beach used for decades. The police department took over in 2017, providing, along with management resources, a steady supply of volunteer dog walkers.

Langford wants the city to join Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter in its support of the animals.

“We’re taking the lease obligation line item off their expense list,” he said. “Now they can spend that money on the animals.”

Community support has already been strong, which Langford doesn’t see changing.

“I’m really impressed by the community because as soon as people realized why we were raising money, they quickly got involved,” he said.