On Saturday, the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS) will officially welcome local residents to the new Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion, located at 1450 Rollins Rd. in Burlingame.
PHS President Ken White showed off the new 57,000-square-foot building Thursday.
“I am just jazzed to be here,” he said. “What we really want to do is say thank you.”
White extended special thanks to Larry and Melanie Ellison, the couple who donated in honor of Tom and Annette Lantos, and the late Cyril and Dorothy Fels, other lead donors.
The Lantoses are long-time animal advocates. The late Tom Lantos was a Congress member who drafted legislation on behalf on animals.
On Thursday, Annette Lantos recounted how family dogs had always been an important part of her life, especially as a young girl forced to escape her native Hungary in the 1940s.
“Amazingly, my little dog survived in the care of our old nurse,” she said. “My little dog had helped all of us recover from so many loses we had to confront.” Both her father and grandparents were killed in Hungary while she was gone.
The entire Center for Compassion, which houses adoptable animals and wildlife rehabilitation facilities, was funded through donations. The spay/neuter clinic and stray animal services remain at the Coyote Point PHS location.
The new center affords the animals more living space, including dog dorms and cat condos far larger than the typical chain-link kennels. Additionally, the facility holds an indoor exercise area, kitty nursery, and retail store.
The Center can house 200 domestic animals and 218 wild animals.
“Thanks to humane societies, thousands and thousands of animals lost or abandoned each year find a safe haven where staff and volunteers care for them,” Lantos said. “When we talk about animal rescue…the Peninsula Humane Society under the leadership of Ken White has set new standards of excellence."
Construction of the new building was delayed by some roadblocks, including an , claiming the group had mismanaged funds. White joked that when people ask how long construction on the center took, he planned to reply in dog years.
“[The Center for Compassion has] been built to save the lives of dogs, cats, guinea pigs, iguanas, rabbits, hawks, owls, hummingbirds, snakes, you name it,” said White. “All species great and small will find temporary residence here until they get to go home to new families or get to be released to the wild where they belong.”