It has one of the highest kill-rates in the country. Still, local rescue organizations say the Central California SPCA is trying to make it even harder to save animals' lives.More >>
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) -
For Jenn Burks with Central Valley Animal Lovers, saving dogs and cats is a calling.
"There's lots of causes we all care about. But to save something that has no chance of speaking for itself or fighting for itself is really rewarding," Burks said.
But her call is about to be cut short, after the Central California SPCA issued a contract to all rescues that pull animals from its shelter, forcing them to agree to certain demands by Thursday.
"I felt that they were trying to bully us into doing what they want us to do. And I felt that they were threatening us, that if we didn't do what they wanted us to do, they would destroy what we care about," Burks said.
Among about a dozen stipulations laid out by the SPCA, rescues must agree to pay for each animal they adopt, to not take pictures of any animals in the shelter, to not interfere with business between the public and shelter staff and to allow a specific amount of time to rescue each animal.
"It's going to make it impossible for us to pull animals from here," Brenda Mitchell, President of the Animal Compassion Team, said.
So, Mitchell revised the agreement and presented her version to the SPCA Wednesday.
In the rescue's agreement, animals at the shelter are released to rescues sooner to avoid sickness and stress on the dogs and cats, the shelter cannot stop a rescue from taking a sick animal and rescue workers are allowed to take pictures of the animals at the shelter, so they can post them to social networking sites and help get them adopted.
"The entire rescue community is absolutely heartbroken," Mitchell said.
If the SPCA doesn't agree to the revised contract, or the rescues don't give in and sign the original, thousands of dogs and cats will likely die because of it.
"There's puppy mills, there's backyard breeders, there's swap meets where they could be spending their time, why, why, why pick on rescue organizations that are trying to save animals' lives?" Mitchell said.
SPCA officials did say some out of town rescues have signed the original contract.
We asked which ones those were, but no one ever got back to us.
We also asked to speak to SPCA Director, Linda Van Kirk, but we were denied.
Every year, local rescues pull about 3,000 animals from the Central California SPCA.
In the revised contract, rescues also agree to pay for each animal they adopt, unless its status is "awaiting euthanasia".
So far, about 20 of the nearly three-dozen local rescues have signed the revised contract.
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