Fresno CA leaders join to open the city’s new animal center

Fresno executives, who are sometimes rivals, were on common ground Tuesday as they joined in celebrating the opening of a new $20 million animal center that promises better treatment for dogs and pets. city ​​cats.

The Fresno Animal Center, in the 5200 block of East Airways Boulevard near Fresno Yosemite International Airport, “will do things differently,” Mayor Jerry Dyer said. Under Fresno Humane Animal Services, it will “keep families and their pets together.”

The sprawling five-building complex was built in just 14 months during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dyer said. It has administrative buildings and veterinary services and three buildings to house animals – up to 15,000 animals per year.

Gap Corporation donated land for the facility, developer Ed Kashian provided $25,000, and at Tuesday’s event, Cynthia Karsten of UC Davis’ Koret Shelter Medicine Program announced a $600,000 grant for the center, which Dyer says brought tears to his eyes.

Previously, animal control services were provided to the city by the Central California SPCA. But the relationship was tumultuous. In 2011 and 2012, animal advocates criticized the agency for its high euthanasia rates. This has been reduced, but the number of reported dog bites has doubled. City leaders remained unhappy with the organization’s services, especially as it sought more and more money each year. The city spends about $6.3 million annually on animal control and shelter services. The hope is that the new shelter will reduce that price a bit.

There was also dissatisfaction with how previous efforts had been made to reunite owners with lost pets. Now, rather than taking a loose animal directly to the shelter, an animal control officer will first work with residents of the area where the animal went missing.

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Adoptable dogs Ferdinand, left, and Augusta explore one of six playgrounds at the new Fresno Animal Center during a grand opening and ribbon cutting event at the facility near the airport on Tuesday June 28, 2022. CRAIG KOHLRUSS [email protected]

Council member Tyler Maxwell said: “This day has been a long time coming. You can tell a lot about a town by how it treats its animals.

Maxwell is one of four council Democrats who often argues with council member Garry Bredefeld. But on Tuesday, the two had nothing but friendly banter for each other.

Bredefeld in turn described the opening of the new center as “long overdue”.

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Augusta, an adoptable dog, climbs out of a kiddie pool at one of six playgrounds at the new Fresno Animal Center during a grand opening and ribbon cutting event at the facility near the airport on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. CRAIG KOHLRUSS [email protected]
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An adoptable dog steps out of his kennel at the new Fresno Animal Center during a grand opening and ribbon-cutting event at the facility near the airport on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. CRAIG KOHLRUSS [email protected]

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Visitors prepare to tour the Fresno Animal Center during a grand opening and groundbreaking event at the facility near the airport on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. CRAIG KOHLRUSS [email protected]

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Originally from Colorado, Jim Guy studied political science, Latin American politics and Spanish literature at Fresno State University, and advanced Spanish grammar in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Benjamin M. Yerger