Going To The Dogs? Future Of Fresno Animal Control Still Up In the Air
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) —
"Am I disappointed? Sure. I want to wave a magic wand and see a solution," Brenda Mitchell, with the Animal Compassion Team, said.
Six months ago, Mitchell and hundreds of other rescue volunteers packed in to Fresno City Hall, ready to make a change.
"To me, when we had that meeting, the solution was there. And I expected our local groups to come together, create a non-profit and step forward to provide this service," Clint Olivier, Fresno City Council Member, said.
But, that's not what happened.
"The bids came back and it wasn't bids, it was bid," Olivier said.
And Olivier says that bid wasn't even from a rescue group.
Instead, much of what he's heard from them is bickering.
"It's important to me, that moving forward in this, we're unified because we're talking about being accountable to tax payers, we're talking about tax payer money and we're talking about the animals," Olivier said.
The SPCA has offered to enter into a new contract with the city and the county.
But this contract would be different.
SPCA officials told the city it will no longer kill healthy animals; something it's been criticized for in the past.
"If there is a stray cat or a stray dog, or someone brings in a box of kittens or a pet that just isn't working out, the SPCA by contract or by policy has been taking those animals in. They're saying they're no longer willing to do that, because it's only exasperating the number of animals they have to manage," Bruce Rudd, Assistant Fresno City Manager, said.
"I think that's what the SPCA has needed to say all along, is hello everyone; we're not going to do your dirty work anymore," Mitchell said.
But if the city agrees to it, that will leave about 15 to 20,000 healthy animals roaming Fresno streets.
It's a slack, local rescues will need to pick up.
Mitchell is preparing to open a new adoption center she hopes will help. And she says other rescues are ready to step up and do the same.
The city has also contracted with two specialists from UC Davis, who will come into town next week, evaluate the proposal the city received and its ordinances, and help city officials deal with this issue, as well as start a dialogue with the SPCA's director.
That contract cost the city about $50,000.
But city officials say it's money well-spent because they need a third-party's opinion who doesn't have anything invested in the outcome.