SPCA officially severs contract with Fresno County & City

FRESNO, Calif.

Executive director Linda Van Kirk says the board considered an extension through December but on Thursday decided to "hold fast" to it's initial October first deadline.

Citing finances and other reasons, Van Kirk said the CCSPCA's main concern was stray animals. They believe the City and County will be changing their local ordinances to "no longer" pick up strays.

Council President Clint Olivier said "The CCSPCA's decision to end its relationship with the City and County comes as a great disappointment to me. I am sad this has transpired in such a manner, but I hope to continue to collaborate with other various stakeholders in an effort to create an alternative that provides the services once performed by the CCSPCA".

Assistant City Manager Bruce Rudd told Action News reporter Stephanie Stone that the City and County were "blindsided" by the decision. Rudd said, "tell us what we need to do short term and long term to deal with the animal problem this community has... if it means a change in ordinance let's at least have a conversation. The UC Davis representatives were going to facilitate that conversation". Rudd further explained that the City had hired animal control consultants from UC .Davis to provide advice and direction on the matter.

The Health Department, which oversees the animal contract for the County, says no policy decisions have been made. "What we are attempting to do is try to look at the cause for the number of animals brought into the shelter every year that's an intake issue", said David Pomaville, of the Ennvironment Health Division.

Pomaville also said the County received a proposal and officials are hoping they'll be able to negotiate a reasonable contract for animal services.

The animal control task force is still in discussion, said Shannon Willson, who works for "Fix Fresno". The organization works to trap, neuter and release animals rather than euthanize them. Willson told Action News, "They won't not take in stray animals, that's just not true. They may instead look at decreasing the numbers in a humane way".

The SPCA said last year, it took in 32 thousand stray animals. They say their open admission policy still stands, which means they'll accept every animal regardless of health, age, breed or temperament.

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