FARMINGTON — The city of Farmington's eagerly anticipated regional animal shelter will be equipped with a crematory that officials say provides a more humane way to process animal remains.

The city council voted on Tuesday to grant a special use permit for the crematory at the shelter located near Animas Park off of Browning Parkway.

Euthanized animals are currently disposed of in the landfill.

Although original plans called for the crematory to be housed out of sight in the shelter's intake garage, the equipment was larger than expected, said Cory Styron, the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department director.

"There will be a facade on the outside of a lean-to structure so it will look like the back of a storage area," Styron said. "We expect to be able to (process) six to seven hundred pounds of animals a day."

That figure, he added, is based on rough averages of current euthanasia rates.

City Councilor Jason Sandel expressed concerns that parts of the crematorium could be visible to the public.

"We'll be able to load and clean out the crematory from the intake garage," said Julie Baird, the city's general services director. "You will only see the (smoke) stack coming from the roof."

The city will use a combination of landscaping and vinyl fencing to shield the facility from view, she said.

The crematory will save the city between $20,000 and $25,000 per year and should pay for itself within three years, Styron said.

But the priority is to provide a more humane method of animal disposal, he said.

"Animals are not disposable like garbage," Styron said. "This is treating them just like you would a person if their belief system allows for them to be cremated."

Greg Yee covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and gyee@daily-times.com. Follow him @GYeeDT on Twitter.