South Fresno pet adoption center still needs lots of help –

The purple paint on the walls was barely dry Friday when Brenda Mitchell watched as an adopted shih tzu, tail wagging, was led from the lobby of the Animal Compassion Team’s new pet adoption center in south Fresno.

“I think the amount of happy endings we will do out here will be endless,” said Mitchell, president of the nonprofit animal rescue organization.

If all goes as planned, hundreds of dogs and cats will be adopted each year at the ACT Sofia Adoption Center on South Orange Avenue.

Right now, the center is open only by appointment. It could be a month or two before it fully opens, Mitchell said, but the goal is to be ready for animals Oct. 1, when the city of Fresno’s shelter contract ends with the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” said Fresno City Council President Clint Olivier, who has been critical of the CCSPA. “If ACT or any other organization is expanding and committed to serving more animals and more members of our community, that’s something I applaud.”

But volunteers have a lot of cleaning and painting to do to transform the old California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System into a place for cats and dogs to romp and for potential pet owners to bond with them.

The state closed the lab building in 2009. It was managed by the University of California at Davis and provided diagnostic services for diseases in livestock, poultry and horses.

An inch of dust covered the floors in the long hallways of the 12,000-square-foot building when ACT volunteers first stepped foot inside earlier this month.

The building was purchased by Fresno Humane Solutions, a new nonprofit organization started by Derrel Ridenour, the Fresno businessman behind Derrel’s Mini Storage, said Whitney Mayeda, ACT secretary.

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