SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Supporters of a new plan to turn an empty jail into an animal sanctuary say it will benefit a local animal rescue group and the county that has been criticized for wasting millions on the closed property.

For six years, All About Equine Animal Rescue has taken in horses and other animals who have been abused, abandoned or sold to slaughterhouses.

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The El Dorado Hills rescue group says it’s in talks with Sacramento County to move into the old Boys ranch juvenile jail. The facility has been closed for five years due to budget cuts, and has been criticized by the Sacramento County grand jury for its vacancy and the county spending $1 million a year to maintain it.

“i think it will be a real win-win situation,” said volunteer Dave Fulton.

The plan would give the group more acres for its animals and will allow it to expand more interactive community programs with youth groups and disabled veterans.

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“It’s the perfect piece of property,” Fulton said. “It’s got oak trees, bare land, a barn; it’s got lots of facilities that we can use.”

He’s hoping the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors ultimately votes to approve the plan.

“I think they’re very happy with the possibility that all about equine is going to be there rescuing horses and maybe even rescuing people,” he said.

Neighbors support the plan, saying they would prefer horses to offenders moving back in.

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If the plan is approved, the rescue group would take over operations costs. The group hopes to move in before the end of the year.