Valley animal centers overcrowded

Brianna Willis Image
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Valley animal centers overcrowded
Post after post, dozens of people have been using social media to find homes for pets.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Post after post, dozens of people have been using social media to find homes for pets.

But few get as much attention as a post from a former Fresno mayor.

"We thought we could find a home real easy for them because they are two very friendly, adoptable dogs. We got no everywhere, Fresno Animal Services full, all the adoption agencies basically full," said Former Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.

Brand is just one of the people who went online to find a safe place for a dog found on the street.

"What surprised me was the City of Fresno. I said, 'If we can't bring the dog in because its not dangerous or it's injured, what do we do?' recalled Brand.

"'Just take it to where you picked it up and drop it off' and I couldn't do that again," said Brand.

He couldn't stomach putting the animals back on the street.

So far, he's spent more than $1,000 per dog to get them spayed and neutered and pay for their vet care.

We took his concerns to Alma Torres, the interim director of the Fresno Animal Center.

She says they are overcapacity and triaging their resources, which means turning away most animals.

"We are accepting sick, injured, neonates that have been abandoned by their moms and also vicious animals," said Torres.

Torres says during COVID, the Valley lost a lot of vets, so spaying and neutering declined.

As for the animals they can't take, she confirms they're telling people to put them back on the streets.

"We are telling them that if they are unable to keep it -- to return it to the area where they found it. Again, this is based on data that shows that most animals are from within a mile from their home," said Torres.

Crowded shelters are a problem across Central California.

The city of Tulare says it has also seen an influx of animals, but they have been receiving help from the Friends of Tulare Animal Services.

"Without the volunteers that, you know, take their precious hours and share them with the city of Tulare's staff at the animal shelter. Frankly, the city of Tulare shelter would be an organization that euthanizes far more animals than it does," said City of Tulare Assistant Manager, Josh McDonnell.

Mona Ahmed founded Fresno Furry Friends, which takes local animals to Oregon and Washington to find a forever home.

She believes unlicensed breeders are fueling the issue.

"This is the worst I've ever seen -- I've never seen it this bad," said Fresno Furry Friends founder, Mona Ahmed. "This is what needs to stop -- city and county needs to start giving fines to these people -- for breeding without a license -- this is all about making money."

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