More Dogs Die If SPCA Contract Is Signed, Local Rescue Workers Say

"Nothing is a surprise anymore when it comes from the shelter. We would be surprised if they said hey guys we want to work together, let's sit down and talk," Brenda Mitchell, president of Animal Compassion Team, said.

About two weeks ago, Mitchell received a contract in the mail.

"We're calling that an ultimatum," she said.

The Central California SPCA sent it to all rescues that take animals from its shelter.

"We're not trying to make anything harder, we're trying to make sure that everybody is abiding by the laws and the rules that they have to in order to operate," Beth Caffrey, CCSPCA, said.

In the agreement, rescues must:

-Pay for each animal they adopt, and any procedures the SPCA already performed, like spaying or neutering and vaccinations.

-Rescue workers can't take pictures of animals at the SPCA.

-An animal must be rescued at least 30 minutes before the SPCA closes, and an extra 15 minutes allowed for each additional animal.

-And rescue workers can't interfere with business between the public and SPCA staff.

"So if somebody's standing at the front with a box of kittens and says I can't keep these kittens any longer, and the shelter says, well we're probably going to have to euthanize them today. And the people say that's ok, I don't have another plan for them; we're going to leave them anyway. We are legally not allowed, by this, to say, we'll take those kittens," Mitchell said.

"What we're asking them to do is the person is here to deal with us. So we want to be able to deal with them directly," Caffrey said.

Finding a happy home is exactly what the SPCA and local rescues say is the bottom line.

It's a line that's being blurred by bickering.

"We don't understand why they would have any issue with signing the agreement. There's nothing in the agreement that should be of any difficulty for them," Caffrey said.

"The bottom line is we are saying it can be done better," Mitchell said.

Local rescues pull about 3,000 animals from the SPCA each year.

They have until March 14th to sign the agreement.

As for other shelters around the Valley, the Animal Compassion Team says, many of those will actually bring dogs and cats to the rescue, just to help make it easier for the rescue and get more animals out of their shelter.