Fresno County eyes former boot camp for animal control

August 8, 2012 12:25:11 AM PDT
The search for a new animal shelter in Fresno County has focused on a former juvenile justice boot camp south of Fresno.

The boot camp for young offenders was shut down three years ago. The facility, which started out as a county work farm half a century ago is now seen by some as a good place for stray and abandoned animals.

The county is accepting bids from anyone interested in turning this into an animal shelter. Those bids would be open in less than two weeks.

Henry Perea said, "Right now the RFP is out and Elkhorn is a facility is going to provide for the next two or three years to provide for the sheltering of animals, and the city of Fresno will have a satellite in town so they will be moving animals from that shelter either to adoption or out to the Elkhorn facility."

The city and county are looking for someplace to deal with the 50 thousand stray and abandoned animals in the county every year. Both are in a bind because the SPCA says it wants out of the animal control business and plans to close it's shelter within months. But Elkhorn is not a sure thing. Supervisors Judy Case and Phil Larson say it's time to unload the place, and the surrounding farmland, which the county leases out at a loss.

Case said, "I mean that makes absolutely no sense, what are we doing hanging onto this piece of property."

"I would agree with Supervisor Case," Phil Larson said. "Why are we holding this property, we need to probably get rid of it."

But Supervisor Susan Anderson argued the County should hang onto the land.

Anderson said, "I think leasing the farm land, possibly using the facility for animal control, if that makes sense as those proposals come in we should keep those options open."

In the end the board voted to extend the farmers lease for another year, and see if anyone comes up with a realistic plan for using it as an animal shelter.


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