SPCA Contract Kaput? Fresno Councilman Wants Changes

Brenda Mitchell with the Animal Compassion Team went into the SPCA Thursday expecting to come out empty handed.

She didn't. Instead, she rescued two cats.

"He basically said we can pull for the rest of the day, but that's it," Mitchell said of the shelter supervisor.

Wednesday was the SPCA's deadline for rescues to sign its new contract.

Rescues who refused can no longer pull animals.

"It's an extension on the contract? I don't know whether or not he misread it, or if for some reason, he got a big heart," Mitchell said.

Mitchell says emotions were high inside the SPCA when she went to rescue animals, especially for the workers there who truly care about saving lives.

"With a lot of staff that are here, they're very compassionate, they're very kind. There's a lot of heartache here now, because they've always seen the rescues as a lifeline," Mitchell said.

"I have a real problem with the way the CCSPCA conducts business," Fresno City Council Member Clint Olivier said.

The SPCA receives about $2 1/2 million in taxpayer money each year.

Other organizations that also get taxpayer funding, like the school board and Agency on Aging, all have meetings that are open to the public.

The SPCA's meetings, however, are closed to the public and no city council members are allowed to sit on the board.

"If they don't want to open their meetings to the public, even though they're living off taxpayer money, if they don't want to seat a council member on their board to be a part of the solution and a part of the evolution of the SPCA, I can control those purse strings, maybe that's something that needs to be done," Olivier said.

The SPCA's contract is up for renewal in June.

We tried contacting SPCA Public Information Officer Beth Caffrey several times over the phone and in person, but she never returned any of our messages.

Rescue workers say they'll continue to go to the shelter every day and try and pull animals, even if the shelter says no.