The Kings SPCA no-kill animal shelter that opened in 1959 is closing at the end of the month due to lack of funds.
Seven employees will be laid off, and there are animals that still need a home.
“It’s very hard,” said Kara Tullos, adoption coordinator. “It’s been tearful this morning. We’ve gotten attached to our animals, they’re like our children.”
The staff found out last week about the closure, she said.
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The phone has been ringing and people are posting comments on the Kings SPCA Facebook page as news of the closure gets around.
“Some don’t understand why we can’t raise the funds,” Tullos said Friday. “Most of what we’re getting is condolences.”
Some people have volunteered to work at the shelter during the time remaining, she said.
New animals have not been accepted at the shelter on Grangeville Boulevard near Lemoore for about a month. There are still seven dogs and about 40 cats at the shelter.
Financial issues caused the demise of the Kings SPCA, said board president Kari Martin-Higgins.
“Costs keep going up,” she said, and ill animals needed expensive veterinary care.
The cost of operating the shelter is about $18,000 a month, but donations, grants and revenue from placements were not enough, she said. Recent fundraisers were unsuccessful, she said.
Other animals shelters have offered to help Kings SPCA by taking animals. Any qualified animal shelter that wants to help should call the shelter at 559-925-1630.
About a half-dozen dogs with behavioral problems or illnesses are not adoptable right now.
Among them are a Queensland heeler named Bella.
“She is very selective about who she likes,” Martin-Higgins said. “If she doesn’t like you, you run the risk of getting bit.”
There’s also a male pit bull named Buddy and a female pit bull named Mocha, who cannot be with other dogs because they get out of control. Once, Mocha was adopted out but wouldn’t eat because of separation anxiety and had to come back to the shelter. The two have to be adopted as a pair, she said.
All animals are spayed or neutered, up-to-date on shots and are microchipped.
Finding places for the cats is a challenge because there are so many cats in the Valley.
Cassie Heffington, Kings County Animal Control shelter director and Kings SPCA board member, said the Kings SPCA has been working for about a month to place the animals, especially the cats.
“We will be pretty desperate to get cats out,” she said. “They are friendly.”
Kings County is working Cat House on the Kings in Fresno County and Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter, which has connections with Bay Area rescues.
“We would like them to go to rescues rather than be adopted because there is no place to return them if the adoption doesn’t work out,” Heffington said.