FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – On Tuesday the City of Fresno gave a first look inside of its new $20 million dollar Animal Center.

Officials were all smiles as they cut the ribbon for the facility that is near Airways and Dakota.

The center will officially accept animals on July 1, after the city ends its current contract with Central California SPCA.

Back in 1997, the city sold 200 acres of land near Fresno Yosemite International Airport to the GAP The GAP then sold $5 acres back to the city in 2020 for the shelter, which will be fully running at the end of the week.

“It’s been long, long overdue,” said Councilmember Garry Bredefeld who has been pushing for the new shelter for years. Bredefeld and the council, along with former Mayor Lee Brand approved the land agreement and shelter construction contract in 2020.

“You can tell a lot about a city with how it treats its animals,” said Fresno Councilmember Tyler Maxwell who represents the district the center is housed in. “Historically the city of Fresno has not prioritized the treatments of its pets.”

The city has not had its own shelter until the creation of this animal center.

In the past, the city paid $6 million annually to the CCSPCA to use the organization’s building and for animal control services.

The community pushed back against the partnership between the city and CCSPCA mainly due to euthanization rates. The city announced this year it would cut ties with the organization and instead have Fresno Humane-Animal Services run the new facility. Fresno Humane-Animal Services also runs the Fresno County shelter.

“The goal of this state-of-the-art center is to reduce the homeless pet population through adoption but also through connecting families with resources,” said Mayor Jerry Dyer.

Dyer said the city-owned center will provide free microchipping services, and deploy mobile vaccination clinics in Fresno neighborhoods.

While the facility can house thousands of animals each year, the goal is to have kennels empty not full.

Fresno Humane will start taking in animals on July 1. CCSPCA plans to keep their building running and continue providing services.