FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Mayor Jerry Dyer and his rescue dog – a Shih Tzu named Stitch – took to the podium on Wednesday to release more information on the $22 million animal shelter the City of Fresno plans to open on July 1, 2022.
Last year, the Central California SPCA took in almost 17,000 cats and dogs and euthanized more than 7,000 of them. Mayor Dyer and city council members say those numbers are too high and they’re hoping a new shelter will lower them.
“None of us want to see an animal put to sleep. We’re going to put everything we have – our heart and soul – into making this shelter not only state-of-the-art but the best in the country,” he said.
The shelter will sit on five acres of land near Airways Boulevard and Gap Drive.
The city bought the land from the Gap Company for $1 after previously selling the land to the company for just $2.
It will consist of four buildings, equipped to hold 12-15,000 animals per year, and will offer all veterinary services.
But right now, the city does not know who will operate it.
The city currently spends $6.3 million annually for animal control and shelter services through a contract with SPCA, which is set to end in June 2022. Officials say they believe it will cost roughly that same amount to operate the new shelter. On Thursday, the city council will vote to create a donation fund where residents can pitch in.
“This is going to take a community effort. It’s going to be a community-led and sustained effort,” said city council president Luis Chavez.
ln regard to whether the shelter will be no-kill, officials say it is going to be open-intake, which means they might have to euthanize sick or injured animals. Construction is supposed to end next spring.