A surprise move by the Central Valley SPCA; the organization announced it's severing its joint contract with the city and county of Fresno.
The city and county say it came as a complete surprise—there were no meetings between the groups to discuss the decision. The city says it heard about the termination of the contract over the radio and then received the official notice. While in shock, the city and county believe the change could save money and more animal’s lives.
“Today we've delivered a letter of termination of the contact with the city and county,” says SPCA spokeswoman Beth Caffrey. The statement came on the heels of controversy between the SPCA, city, county and no-kill shelters. The groups’ disputes surrounded adoption contracts and the SPCA’s closed door meetings. “I've spoken out about transparency and accountability and this is where that's led,” says Fresno City Council member Clint Olivier. “It seems there are major communication and leadership issues at the SPCA that they need to take a look at internally,” says County Supervisor Henry Perea.
The SPCA says it will provide full services until October 1, 2012, then duties such as rabies vaccines, animal control and adoption services will be handed over to a new vendor. “The next step is to send out bids to see if any groups in the community feel like they can provide services to the taxpayers,” says Olivier. Supervisor Henry Perea welcomed the severed contract saying, “I think it's a tremendous way for us to move forward to find more efficient and human ways of taking care of animals in the community.”
The city and county pay the SPCA nearly $3 million a year for its services; the SPCA’s only has $ 6 million budget. When asked about its future, the SPCA wouldn't answer questions.
“I don’t know many organizations that cut their budget in half and survive. I think it’s a classic biting your nose to spite your face,” says Perea.
The county is reaching out to Clovis to potentially create a regional facility; meanwhile, the city could open up bidding for the project as early as Thursday.
The SPCA says it will still take in animals, but it will be limited—taking in pets on a case by case basis.
Christina Lusby Reporting.