Newport Beach’s First Animal Shelter Completely Funded by Volunteers

Newport Beach is set to open its first city-run animal shelter next month, but the new facility won’t cost taxpayers a dime. The entire project was paid for by residents who chipped in to help their community’s furry friends.

Volunteers formed a local nonprofit known as the Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter, which spent five years raising $3 million in funds. The group purchased the facility and gifted it to the city last month. The city has agreed to run it as an animal shelter for the next 50 years.

“We believe that animals bring a lot of value into our community — individually, to our seniors, to our children, to families,” Robyn Grant, one of the nonprofit’s board members, told Voice of OC. “We believe in that and really wanted to make sure that we care for our lost and displaced animals. Just like they provide value to us, we wanted to provide value back.”  

The shelter is expected to open next month. It comes at a critical time, as overcrowding has caused a crisis for many shelters. 

A report last year from Best Friends Animal Society found 100,000 more cats and dogs were in need of adoption than in the previous year. The organization cited staffing shortages, as well as reduced shelter hours and in-person visitations across the country.  

Orange County’s animal shelter is still running adoptions on an appointment-only basis. Angry residents say that has contributed to a slow adoption process and overcrowding.