(Updated July 1, 2021)
MISCONCEPTION: The CCSPCA is a governmental agency because it receives money from the City and County of Fresno and should open its board meetings to the public.
Truth: We’re a private, non-profit corporation and like all such private corporations, we are not bound by the same rules as governmental agencies, such as the Ralph M. Brown Act (California Open Meeting Law).
The city and county contracts with the CCSPCA to provide impound housing and animal control services. This should not be confused with government funding for its own agencies, but in fact is a fee-for-services that the city and county pays to the CCSPCA, as they routinely do for numerous for-profit and non-profit corporations for everything from road construction/repair to parks maintenance. Most of the funds necessary to operate our organization are raised through donations and bequests, adoption fees, merchandise sales in our adoption centers and annual special events.
MISCONCEPTION: The CCSPCA picks and chooses the animals it takes in.
Truth: The CCSPCA is here for every animal. Every animal. We don’t turn away animals because we lack space, or because they’re aggressive, fearful, chronically ill, too old, the wrong color or un-housetrained. While other limited-admission shelters and rescues choose to routinely turn away owners who no longer want their pets, we accept them all – no matter the circumstances.
As a result of our open-admission policy, we receive a disproportionately high percentage of animals that are not immediately adoptable. They need extra help. That’s why we developed a number of approaches to increase their chances of being placed in a home. For example, our training staff and volunteers work with animals that have behavioral issues from a simple case of poor manners to more extensive issues like shy/fearfulness and mild defensive aggression and our foster volunteers help care for animals with medical conditions that need to be treated or managed before adoption.
Despite our best efforts, the unfortunate truth is that some animals cannot be adopted due to untreatable behavior and medical issues that can’t be overcome. When no other option remains, it becomes our burden to conclude their lives in a responsible and humane way.
MISCONCEPTION: We don’t want legitimate pet placement partners to assist us in helping to find homes for unwanted pets.
Truth: Every day, the CCSPCA works with legitimate organizations frequently referred to as “rescue groups,” which are defined as active status non-profit or not–for-profit organizations with written proof of State of California Franchise Tax Board and/or Federal Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service 501(c)3 status.
A note on families who surrender their animals
A common assumption is that people who surrender their animals to the CCSPCA don’t care about them. In fact, they care enough not to abandon them. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy, an owner takes 90–120 days to come to the decision to surrender their animal to a shelter or rescue. Surrendering is often heartbreaking for the family, but the only option they have after exhausting all other possibilities.
MISCONCEPTION: The CCSPCA euthanizes animals for convenience
Truth: We grieve for every animal that we must euthanize* and we never make the decision to euthanize lightly. But because we accept every animal that comes to us, we are often faced with that decision. Few people want to adopt a pet that has a severe illness or an untreatable medical condition or worse.
And we cannot in good conscience place animals that are aggressive, so we conduct a behavior evaluation on all dogs to help ensure a successful adoption. Our dog behavior evaluation is based on the work of our trained staff. Currently, there is not a standard behavior evaluation for cats; however, one is being developed by behavioral experts. Until these scientific measures of a cat’s temperament are put in place, we will continue to evaluate cats as we do today. At this time, we review each cat’s behavior history if it is provided at the time of surrender and then we evaluate how the cat reacts to humans and basic handling by staff.
We are always working toward bringing an end to euthanasia at our shelter. We’re constantly reviewing the latest research to find ways to improve what we do. We are committed to increasing adoption by developing programs that help place animals in the community. Our goal is always—always—to do what’s best for animals and what is right for the communities we serve.
* Animals are not euthanized in gas chambers at the CCSPCA. They are humanely euthanized through injection with caring staff by their side.
MISCONCEPTION: The CCSPCA refuses to work with other animal welfare organizations
Truth: The truth is we’re grateful to have help. Of course we’re always working to have fewer animals euthanized, but we are also committed to placing only healthy, treatable, and safe animals in the community and to protect the hundreds of other animals already in our care.
We understand the importance of working together to help more animals and that is why we work with many Pet Placement Organizations* every day to help place animals. Last year, nearly 4,000 animals that came to us found homes through other organizations.
The bottom line is there is a disparity between the number of homes in the community and the number of animals that come to the CCSPCA. It is essential for us to work with our trusted community partners in animal welfare who share our objective of a loving home for every healthy and treatable companion animal.
*Pet Placement Organization (organizations frequently referred to as “rescue groups,” which are defined as active status, non-profit or not–for-profit organizations with written proof of State of California Franchise Tax Board and/or Federal Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service 501(c)3 status.)
MISCONCEPTION: The CCSPCA makes money off the backs of animals
Truth: First, you have to remember we are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We do understand that some are taken aback when they learn that our annual report reflects annual support of over $6 million. They speculate why we need that much and where it all goes.
Last year, we took in 21,000 companion animals. Depending on the species of animal, the time the animal spends in the shelter and any special veterinary medical care it is provided, you begin to understand the need for a large operating budget — and that includes the tools needed to care for and re-home the animals and costs associated with community outreach.
It also takes a lot of people and space to care for and place tens of thousands of animals each year. It’s a 24/7/365 job and that is why we employ nearly 100 full- and part-time staff, accept the help of nearly 900 volunteers and work to maintain the Animal Center Facilities which include a spay/neuter surgical facility, transport vehicles, the animal shelter, and more. On the average we shelter anywhere from 550 to 750 animals each day. We are also the only provider of Animal Control Services for the city of Fresno, covering 112 square miles with a population of nearly 531,576 making it the 5th largest city in the state of California.
Our adoption fees and surrender fees don’t cover the cost of care for each animal, so we work diligently to diversify funding streams to ensure consistent support for the CCSPCA. Each year we raise funds through special events like Bets for Pets and Dog Days at the Airways golf tournament. Profits from these events are directed back to the animals at the animal center and our spay/neuter programs.