Old Fig pet problem on the move?

October 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The smell of cats and barking of dogs have become lingering problems for some neighbors in Fresno County's Old Fig Garden.

Hundreds of animals live at a 1520 square-foot house on Maroa near Shaw -- and their owner is now in violation of a county order to get rid of them.

About two houses down from the home where Suzanne Pashayan has been collecting rescue animals for about 20 years the smell is pretty potent, and neighbors are fed up.

A chorus of barking dogs is like an unwanted alarm clock in this old fig garden neighborhood.

"We hear the dogs barking continuously," said Ron Millar. "So that starts at 6:30-7 o'clock."

Millar says the barks from his next door neighbor's house repeat at various times throughout the day and the smell gets in his house every time he opens the door.

Dozens of dogs and hundreds of cats call the house their home after being rescued by house mate and former horse breeder Suzanne Pashayan. But Millar says the animals have haunted him for almost 20 years now.

"Living with that constant noise and barking 24/7, after a while your nerves are just raw," he said. "[It] just drives you nuts."

Millar records the barking periodically as he fights to get Fresno County to enforce its own rules. Homeowners are only allowed up to three pets in Old Fig and the county filed a civil lawsuit last year to get Pashayan to follow the rule.

An old cat shelter on the outskirts of Fresno could be the solution. Pashayan now owns it and when we visited, she was in the middle of converting it into a place suitable for her entire roster of cats and dogs.

Millar says Pashayan has a noble mission, but he'll be happy to see her carry it out somewhere else.

"I wish her well to do well, but do it in a place that's legal," he said. "So I'm hoping this new location is legal and that she's able to move the animals."

Pashayan now has 30 days to finish the move. If she doesn't, a court could allow the county to go into her place, remove the animals, and either adopt them out or destroy them.


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