Budget Cuts Take Bite Out of City S.P.C.A.

June 23, 2009 7:51:08 PM PDT
Fresno City Council is working to reduce its 2010 budget with cuts across the board. The local S.P.C.A. animal control organization was hit with a 10% decrease in funding. Action News reporter John-Thomas Kobos shows us what S.P.C.A. leaders warn this will do to their current program.The Fresno S.P.C.A is losing $130,000 from its annual budget. As a result, vacant jobs won't be filled, and resources to control animals in the city will be limited.

Every day hundreds of dogs and cats are abandoned or surrendered to the Fresno S.P.C.A. In an average month, more than 7,000 animals end up at this West Central Fresno location.

"The sad thing is these dogs have lost their people," said S.P.C.A. educator Brenda Mitchell.

Mitchell said the poor economy has forced many owners to give up on their pets to save a dollar.

Mitchell: "This is definitely the more severe side."

There are 3 times more kittens than dogs right now.

"This is actually kind of mild at the moment," said Mitchell.

"We are in the situation that we're in today with an economy that we haven't seen in a generation so we're asking you to contribute," said councilmember Larry Westerlund.

The cut will force a reduction in educators like Mitchell, data entry personnel and maintenance workers. S.P.C.A. director Beth Caffrey said E.R. services will slow, the facility will have to turn away animals and the number of street 'sweeps' will decrease.

"This is going to be difficult. However, just like everyone else in the city we'll definitely make things work," said Caffrey.

The S.P.C.A. said it will rely heavily on volunteers and donations to continue caring for these animals.

To contribute to the S.P.C.A., the council voted to draft a new spay and neuter policy which should help prevent the rise in certain animal populations around the city.

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