Fresno Co. officials examining animal control options

FRESNO, Calif.

Last month, the S.P.C.A announced it would end its contract with the city and county to house homeless pets.

Leaders have put together a taskforce in charge of finding a new agency and facility to provide animal care services. The taskforce will be composed of elected city and county officials and open to local rescue groups. One possible location could be the county's old coroner's facility.

The city and county of Fresno have 6 months before their contract with the S.P.C.A expires and officials are scrambling to find a solution by then. "No question we know we have to find some temporary facility to house these animals," said Henry Perea, Fresno County Supervisor.

Officials have finalized a taskforce in charge of figuring out who will provide animal control services in the area. "Instead of seating one member of the rescue community on the taskforce, we're going to invite everyone from the rescue community to come and take part. And we're going to have everybody who wants to attend the meetings and speak," said Clint Olivier, Fresno City Council president.

The new taskforce is great news for the Hope Animal Foundation - which works with shelters and rescue groups to help spay and neuter their adoptable pets. "I think it's given a lot of rescue groups hope that there will be a shelter that they can work with and will be open to their help," said Whitney Mayeda, assistant director of the Hope Animal Foundation.

But the working group has a lot of work ahead of them. In the short-term, officials are looking to transition their current contract with the S.P.C.A to an interim facility for the next three years. "We're looking at the Elkhorn facility that the county owns as our temporary placement for animals but then to possibly use our coroners facility in town as our transfer station - somewhere where people locally can bring the animals, pick up the animals," said Perea.

For the long-term, county leaders want to build a new shelter to house the animals properly. "Do we have the money now to build a new facility?," asked Perea. "The answer is no. But I think the opportunity we have having met with some folks earlier this week is that there are private sector individuals who are very interested in building this facility," said Perea.

"At this point, we've really just scratched the surface and we're not in depth yet. Those kinds of things we want to talk with the public," said Olivier.

The public is invited to the first meeting that will be held at city hall Friday, May 4th. Action News contacted the S.P.C.A and a representative said they have not been invited to take part in the taskforce but do want it to succeed.

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