The Central California SPCA has notified Fresno city officials after June 2020, the 70 plus stray animals it picks up off Fresno city streets a day on average will no longer be their problem.
It will fall on Fresno to find a solution.
So what is the city going to do?
Mayor Lee Brand tells CBS47, “There is nothing in the budget right now for a new facility. We will likely look at a ten year bond and have to cover the income stream to cover the debt service which is about 1.2 to 1.3 million a year.”
Sources tell CBS47’s Investigative Reporter Erik Rosales this came as a surprise. But Mayor Brand says he knew this day would happen someday.
He says his staff has identified at least three sites where a new facility can be built.
But Mayor Brand says the cost to build a new animal control facility could be $15 to $20 million or more.
Besides bonds the city will also be looking at donations from local business owners.
Mayor Brand says, “Kind of a help fund me, except in the millions than the thousands. I hope there are some people that will come through. The more they help us out, the less money we have to borrow.”
Mayor Brand says the goal is to bring a plan to the city council by the 19th of September.
The Central California SPCA tells CBS47 it’s wanted to do this since 2012, but now it can make it without the city’s $4-million each year.
The Central California SPCA emailed a statement to CBS47. It states, “After much consideration and reflection, the Central California SPCA decided not to bid on the city of Fresno’s Animal Control RFQ in June. We did not submit a termination letter to the city of Fresno. We will continue to be Fresno’s contracted animal control service provider through June 2020, taking an average of 70+ animals a day.”
But Mayor Brand says realistically it will take at least two years to build a new facility.
Mayor Brand says, “We will move as fast as we can. This is a mandatory service we have to provide by law. So we are looking for the SPCA to give us more time to properly take on the legal challenge we have.”
CBS47 Investigative Reporter Erik Rosales asks, “What if the SPCA digs its heels in the ground and says no way?”
Mayor Brand says, “I’m going to look on the positive side. Some of the talks we had have been positive. Nothing is definite. I’m optimistic we can find a way to work with the SPCA to let them continue, until we are ready to take over.”
This is a developing story. Stay with CBS47 for the latest details.