by Lorie Lewis Ham
Animal Compassion Team of California (ACT) is a local animal rescue that until now has been operating out of foster homes. Recently though that all began to change. KRL had the opportunity to chat with Joyce Brandon, co-founder and board member of ACT, about those changes.
Lorie: How did ACT come to obtain the new adoption center?
Joyce: It has been a dream of ours since inception to have a place of our own. One day while browsing real estate listings our Vice-President, Tracy Crutchfield, came across a listing for an interesting sounding building on Orange Avenue [in Fresno]. It was owned by the State of California. We were excited about the possibilities; but, like most non-profits a lack of funds stood between us and our dream. The word spread and reached the ears of animal lover Derrel Ridenour. Derrel had just started a new non-profit, Fresno Humane Solution, to focus on the plight of the homeless animals. Derrel has been following ACT since the beginning and has always been a generous donor of ours. To make a long story short, Fresno Humane Solution decided to place a bid on the property. The state approved the purchase. Fresno Humane Solution owns the property and has agreed to lease it to Animal Compassion Team for just $1.00 per year. We are so very thankful!
Lorie: That’s wonderful! Please tell us about the site?
Joyce: The site is perfect for us. It is about two acres with easy access to freeways. There is a 12,000 sq. ft. building as well as a small barn and a few out buildings. The site is entirely fenced and even includes some kennel type enclosures. The site had been previously used by U.C. Davis as a testing facility but due to budget cuts had been vacated three years ago.
Lorie: What did you first get it, and what was it like at the time?
Joyce: We took possession of the building at the end of July. The site had been vacant for three years so everything was overgrown with weeds, plants and trees were dying due to lack of water and care, and inside, everything was covered in dust. We had an amazing work day where over sixty volunteers showed up to help us get things cleaned up.
Lorie: How long did it take you to get it up and running?
Joyce: We are using the facility on a limited basis right now. We still have a lot of work to do to get things ready to house animals.
Joyce: Our vision for the site is that it will become a family friendly, lifesaving, educating, animal sanctuary. We not only want to provide a place to house homeless pets and conduct adoptions, we plan for it to be used for education, training, and promoting the animal/human bond. We envision a neonatal ward, where volunteers can bottle feed puppies and kittens, and eventually a much needed parvo ward so that we can safely help and treat parvo puppies.
Lorie: What are you future goals and hopes?
Lorie: How functioning is it at this point and what is the time frame for it becoming all you hope/plan for it to be?
Joyce: As stated earlier we are using it on a limited basis right now. We have been facilitating pre-arranged adoptions and using it as a foster hub. There are a few dogs and cats being housed. Our foster families have enjoyed using the new “groom room.” We are thrilled to have a groom tub that was donated by Pet Medical Center and Spa. Our front lobby has been painted as well as a few of the cat rooms. We are making steady progress thanks to an incredible group of volunteers and donations by local businesses such as Design Works of Fresno.
Our first major landscaping project will begin very soon. We plan to create a peaceful beautiful environment where families can spend time with a prospective new pet. A large fountain was just donated that will be the centerpiece of our new yard.
Lorie: Why is this new center important to ACT and your efforts of animal rescue?
Joyce: ACT has done amazing work in the past three years. We have saved well over three thousand dogs and cats. The thing that has always been missing is a home base. The center will offer us a place to call home. We will house a limited number of animals at the center but we will never abandon our foster care roots: We believe that foster families are instrumental to our success and the well-being of the animals.
Having a central location for files and documentation will be a huge help and will result in more efficient data tracking. The ability to organize ourselves fully will benefit everyone.
One of the most exciting things about the new place will be our ability to better utilize our very talented and creative volunteer base. We have trainers, educators, marketers, and lots of animal lovers just waiting to put their talents to use. We can now expand and benefit fully from those talents. The sky is the limit.
Lorie: What are ACT’s needs in regards to the center and how can people help?
Joyce: We of course are always looking for foster homes and volunteers; but, right now we are trying to recruit monthly donors to help us keep the lights on. ACT is a non-profit in the truest sense of the words. We now have the overhead costs associated with operating any facility to add to our expenses. To expand and utilize the facility to its fullest we will need the monthly financial support of animal lovers. We have created a “Lifesaver” program which can be viewed at : http://www.animalcompassionteam.com/info/display?PageID=12613
Lorie: Where is it located and hours of operation–or hoped for hours in the future?
Joyce: Right now, we are operating on a “call first” basis. We try to be open for volunteers on weekends beginning at 9 a.m.. The facility is at 2789 S. Orange Ave. Fresno CA 93725. It is just off of Golden State south of Jensen.
Lorie: Anything else you would like to add?
Joyce: We love the animals, we love this community, and we love what we do. The “T” in ACT is for team and this facility, this organization, will grow and flourish as our team grows and flourishes. The building and the grounds are a tool for our team to use as we work toward a day of no more homeless pets.
Editor’s Note: Kings River Life Magazine wants to be a part of helping ACT and other animal rescues save the lives of animals in need. Toward that goal we recently began giving 10% of our ad sales to one of three rescues–Cat House On The Kings, ACT and Rattie Ratz–you can learn more in a recent article. Every time you buy an ad you can choose which of the three you would like your money to go to. However, each month we will have a featured rescue who will receive the money when it is not designated.
ACT is our featured rescue for September!