Lake County Animal Services

Lake County, Florida

In 2014, 59% of the animals brought to the Lake County Animal Shelter were released from the facility alive, either through adoption, return to owner, or transfer to a rescue organization.  Over the next two years, the LCAS managed to increase this live release rate 10% each year, culminating at 79% in 2016.  Then, in January of 2017, Lake County adopted a “no kill” policy, meaning that healthy or treatable animals will not be euthanized, even if the shelter is full.  Resulting in a 90% live release rate this year, this change in policy continues the trend of increasing live release rates in the county, as well as across the United States (see ASPCA report in the Appendix).  

Because some animals brought to the shelter suffer from irreparable health or behavior issues, a 90% live release rate represents a near plateau.  This indicates that the county is adopting out all of their adoptable animals, and can focus on reducing the time animals spend in the shelter. 

The current 13,000 square foot facility, built in 1991, was conceived with two public-access corridors to the kennels around an auxiliary-space core, and with the original entrance doors facing the road to the east.  The building was expanded to the east in 2004 and to the north in 2011.  Typical of shelters of this era, public and private spaces are co-mingled.  This lack of public-private separation compromises both animal and human health and safety. To properly size an animal shelter, the number of animals that it will house needs to be determined.  This begins with compiling historical intake data (see Questionnaire in the appendix) for the agency and establishing what it takes to properly (one per habitat) house that number of animals based on their approximate length of stay.

The last two decades have seen a national decline in animals sent to shelters.  This trend reflects the initiatives of progressive animal control agencies that are active with legislation, enforcement, education and sterilization.  The effect of this decline on sizing shelters for the future is that they no longer need to be master-planned for expansion to accommodate more impounded animals.  This is because the rate of impoundment is decreasing more than the demands of a growing population are increasing.

The new site is less than two miles from the existing shelter location on a curved portion of County Road 448. The triangular-shaped property’s northwest acute angle corner on Highway 19 and County Road 448 is an opportunity to increase LCAS’s visibility.  A monumental sign should be installed at that intersection could face both roadways for maximum exposure.
The separate entrances for the staff and public clearly separate the secured service yard that encloses the staff parking.  The 120 space public parking lot serves the shelter, the dog park and special events.

The new Lake County Animal Shelter is located on ten-acres on the other side of a county road from a large public park and next to the future county fairgrounds. These public amenities will provide a welcome synergy and increased visibility for the shelter. Connolly Architects & Consultants provided the needs assessment, feasibility study and design of the five-building campus in association with Dickerson Architects.

The focus of the campus is the two-story lobby and its contiguous open-air, covered courtyard. The lobby’s two interior full-view glass walls have four dog displays on one side and five community cat rooms on the other. The courtyard, with its two elliptical get-acquainted yards, is connected to the lobby by its continuous boarded ceiling that creates an generous indoor/outdoor covered public space (2,000 sf lobby & 7,000 sf courtyard). Four dog adoption buildings flank the long sides of the courtyard with the lobby at the north end and a therapy pool at the south end. All seven dog kennels have vaulted cementitious wood fiber ceilings to deflect sound. Full-length glass between public spaces provides long sight lines to create a more retail-oriented facility that showcases animals available for adoption. The combination of the shelter’s site location and its retail inspired approach is expected to substantially increase animal adoption.


Study Completion Date: 2017 • Size: 30,000sf • Cost: $6.8 million • Dog Habitats: 150 • Cat Habitats: 250 • Get-Acquainted Areas: 4 • Reptile and Other Habitats: 24 • Livestock Barns & Paddock • Spay & Neuter Clinic • After-hours Training Room • Exercise Yards
Contact: Whitney Boylston, Director of Animal Services • 352 343 9688  •