Fresno County delays approving free animal adoption center

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It has been six years since Fresno County split with the SPCA because of public controversy over their high animal kill rate, and set up its own, supposedly temporary animal shelter.

It's been run out of the parking lot of the former county morgue. The dogs are kept in metal cages, exposed to the heat of summer and cold of winter.

The Fresno Humane Animal Services has contracted with the county to run the temporary shelter and Brenda Mitchell, the president of the humane group has been waiting for a new facility.

"Its emotional for us because we watch the daily suffering of the animals in our community and we are watching the conditions that we have to house them in. Every day that goes by every week that goes by delays our project," said Mitchell.

She thought this would be the day the plans for a new shelter would get the green light. After years of waiting for the county to act, Derrell Ridenour, owner of Derrell's Mini Storage offered the land and $3 million to build a state of the art animal adoption center in northwest Fresno, near Grantland and Parkway next to Highway 99.

He asked the board of supervisors to approve a zoning change to allow it.

"We've really done a good job designing this and its really going to be an asset to the community," said Ridenour.

But, Mark Brooks, one of a group of residents who live within a mile of the proposed site, objected.

"As people of the neighborhood, we have our right and our voice to speak out about what is being built in our neighborhood," said Brooks.

Their concerns ranged from traffic to odors. But Ridenour says there will be no odors and not much traffic. However, the vocal opposition prompted Supervisor Brian Pacheco who represents the area to balk.

"I can tell you I'm in a rock and a hard spot. I support this project, the concept and have for many years I believe there are some issues that have to be addressed," said Pacheco.

Pacheco suggested Ridenour and the Fresno Humane Animal agreed to hold one more public meeting to try and get more of the nearby residents on board. They plan to do that and come back before the Board of Supervisors on October 23rd.
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