Options for animal control in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif.

The city and county's current contract with the Central California SPCA ends in October.

The Fresno animal control taskforce is challenged with the daunting task of finding short and long term solutions to Fresno County's growing pet population. Short term goals include a 2-3 year period at possible shelter sites like the Coroner's Office and Elkhorn Juvenile Facility.

"Long term the best solution is a permanent facility within the city of Fresno. That's where the ballot initiative takes place," Henry Perea said. "Because if we can get that in play by November and if the voters support it, then you're talking about a state of the art facility that will be as close to a no-kill shelter as possible."

Supervisor Henry Perea is referring to the Measure H proposal presented to the group by his colleague Phil Larson.

Supervisor Larson says the plan is almost a carbon copy of Measure Z -- a ballot initiative in 2004 that provided the struggling Chaffee Zoo with millions of dollars in sales tax revenue.

Measure H could provide up to $25-$30 million in startup costs and an extra $5 million a year for maintenance.

Former Fresno city attorney Jim McKelvey has offered to write up the paperwork. And the owner of Derell's Mini-Storage here in the Valley is willing to donate a 12-acre lot on Grantland and Highway 99 free of charge.

McKelvey says this measure will need outstanding public support in order for the facility to become a reality in Northwest Fresno. "It's very difficult to obtain 2/3 voter approval of any tax increase. Particularly in this environment when there are a number of measures being placed on the ballot this year by the governor and the president to generate revenues for state and federal programs."

It is possible Measure H can make its way to the November ballot. Until then the task force will continue to meet for the next few weeks to work on a short term plan.

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