City of Orange Cove pushes non-profit out of animal shelter

UPDATE (12/27/2018): The Franchise Tax Board says that the Friends of Orange Cove Animal Shelter is now back to active/good standing.

Our original story from 12/14/2018 follows.


ORANGE COVE, Calif. (KFSN) -- In Orange Cove, it doesn't take long to spot a stray dog.

Up until this week, a small non-profit called Friends of Orange Cove Animal Shelter, or FOCAS, had been caring for them at the city shelter.

They entered an agreement with the city to provide those services a few years ago.

But on Wednesday night, city councilmembers terminated that agreement, after FOCAS disclosed it had a suspended status with the state's Franchise Tax Board.

The non-profit reportedly didn't file taxes in 2014.

"Any time your driver's license is suspended, what does that mean? You can't drive," said Orange Cove Interim City Manager Rudy Hernandez. "Very similar (here), when you're on a suspension status from the franchise tax board, you cannot conduct business."

Interim City Manager Rudy Hernandez says the group's suspended status created a liability for the city, so councilmembers had no choice but to end the partnership.

However, they are giving FOCAS time to resolve their tax issues and could decide to resume the partnership.

Though FOCAS knew they wouldn't be paid in the meantime, board director Adriana Figueroa didn't think they would be kicked out of the shelter so soon.

She believes the 54 dogs and three cats are technically theirs, and that their team, not the city, can care for them best.

"They have not dealt with any of the housing and care of the dogs for three years so they have no experience in taking care of these dogs," Figueroa said. "We have some dogs there that need medication and some flushing, and who is doing that, who is providing that?"

"What's important is that we will continue to monitor the care of these animals until a decision is made one way or another what's going to go on in the future," Hernandez said.

Hernandez says police and public works employees will take care of the animals for now.

But Figueroa is concerned for their well-being and feels ignored by the city.

"It's like I feel like I'm in a twilight zone, to be honest," Figueroa said. "I'm used to legal stuff that (is) written and you're able to call and communicate and you sit down and discuss this thing. I'm not used to having to come to the media for help. I mean things should be handled in a professional manner, calls should be returned."

The City has given FOCAS 90 days to straighten out their suspended status with the Franchise Tax Board.

If they resolve the issue before then, Hernandez said the city could call a special meeting to consider bringing the non-profit back to the shelter.
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