A $1.5 million dog pound under construction near Kaitaia is due to open by July.
The purpose-built animal shelter at Bonnetts Rd will cater for up to 12 dogs and provide separate quarantine facilities for puppies and adult dogs, exercise areas, and veterinary and storage facilities.
Once it is complete the existing northern area animal shelter, also near the town oxidation ponds on Bonnetts Rd, can be decommissioned.
A temporary animal shelter at Rangiahua, near Horeke, will also close and its dogs will transfer to the new Kaitaia pound.
Meanwhile, the Far North District Council says work to convert a commercial boarding kennel near Kaikohe into a purpose-built animal shelter is now due to start in mid-July and will take about six months.
The project to repurpose Melka Kennels on Ngapuhi Rd into the council's southern area animal shelter was originally supposed to start early last year.
However, the project was delayed, first by the Covid-19 lockdown and then by a budget shortfall.
Initial estimates based on a visual inspection of Melka Kennels suggested it would cost $200,000 to upgrade them.
A thorough investigation later put the figure closer to $600,000 for improved security, health and safety, and animal welfare needs.
In July 2020, after Government calls for post-lockdown, shovel-ready projects, the Provincial Development Unit granted the council $1m for two animal shelters.
The total budget for the new shelters now stands at $2.9 million – $1.5m for a northern area shelter and $1.4m for Melka Kennels.
Environmental services manager Rochelle Deane said the 12-month delay to the Kaikohe shelter was unfortunate but the extra money had allowed the council to considerably improve the design.
The site would be cleared and tenders would be called to remove a weatherboard home and outbuildings.
"With the site cleared and increased budget, we have greater ability to build an animal shelter that will more than meet the public's animal welfare expectations, security and staff health and safety requirements."
As a result of the delays the council had to apply for a retrospective resource consent to keep using the temporary pound at Rangiahua.
An independent commissioner was appointed to rule on whether the consent should be notified publicly or limited to people who were directly affected.
Last month the commissioner opted to limit notification to two directly affected parties.
The former Melka Kennels hit the headlines again last month when a resident posted photos of the facility on social media, sparking dismay over its poor condition.
The photos showed grass and weeds sprouting to the top of kennel fences, through the driveway and up the front steps of the house.
Much of the home's furnishings had been stripped in a series of burglaries starting in August last year.
Bay of Islands Watchdogs spokeswoman Leonie Exel said she was delighted the Kaitaia dog shelter project was on time, on budget and being built by a Kaitaia company.
She was also pleased the council was finishing the northern pound before starting the southern one, so the design could be thoroughly tested and altered if necessary.
However, the group still believed the location, next to Kaitaia's sewage treatment ponds, was unsuitable.
As for Melka Kennels, that had started as a ''fantastic opportunity'' to operate a temporary animal shelter while the Kaitaia pound was being built and to replace the Horeke facility, which had all sorts of problems including objections from neighbours and no power on site.
Instead it was left empty and unkempt and had been progressively cleared out by burglars.
Now the council planned to remove all buildings from the site, making it a costly piece of land.
The group was also disturbed the original quote for renovation had ballooned from $200,000 to $600,000.
''That's incredibly disappointing. If we end up with a great pound in the end, that's good for the dogs — but it's bad for the taxpayer and ratepayer.''