Board of Supervisors approve new animal shelter location

On Tuesday, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to purchase a property to house the new county animal shelter.

The current shelter is housed on the property of an old morgue in West Central Fresno. Teri Rockhold says that has presented its share of challenges.

"We service about 500,000 people, 6,000 square miles and take in about 7000 animals a year and the space is inadequate," Rockhold said.

The new shelter will be located less than a mile from the current one on South West Avenue, but will feature an approximately 10,000 square foot animal control facility, an intake center, kennels, a quarantine area and more.

Currently, many of these facilities are in the parking lot of the morgue, and space there is very limited.

The board unanimously approved the motion to purchase the property for approximately $496,000. The county has allocated over $5 million for the project.

Their next step will be to draw up designs and eventually present bids to the board. They hope to present those bids by the end of the year and break ground sometime in 2020.

The animal control center will be run by Fresno Humane Animal Services. In 2018, there was talk of a shelter funded by Derrel Ridenour (the namesake of Derrel's Mini Storage). That plan has now been axed: instead, the county will go ahead with their new facility, and Ridenour will fund a separate facility that will be focused on keeping animals out of the shelter in the first place.

"That is going to be the ultimate solution is preventing the animals from going in the shelter, not housing the animals that are at the shelter," said Stacy Houk, executive director with HOPE Animal Foundation.

Houk says many pet owners in the area don't know about solutions to their pet problems, and will instead just drop their pets off at shelters. The facility will be a diversion and resource center that will provide answers and options for pet owners other than turning to a shelter.

Houk says Fresno has the third-worst euthanasia rate in the country. Advocates are hoping the new facilities chip away at that number.

HOPE Animal Foundation offers spay and neuter services as well; for more information, click here.
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