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Fresno Council Cracks Down on Dog Breeders and Raises Spending Limit
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 weeks ago on
June 21, 2024

The Fresno City Council on Thursday, June 21, unanimously approved to temporarily halt issuing licenses to dogs that aren't spayed or neutered. The goal is to reduce overpopulation at the city-run animal shelter. (Shutterstock)

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In addition to approving a $2 billion budget, and holding a hearing to raise garbage rates, the Fresno City Council also tackled policy issues of note on Thursday.

The city council approved a moratorium on dog breeding, created a policy to restrict signs in council chambers, and increased the threshold to spend money without a vote.

And, City Council President Annalisa Perea ejected a homeless activist for causing a disruption.

Dog Breeding Moratorium

The city council approved 6-0 to temporarily halt issuing licenses for unaltered dogs. The goal is to reduce overpopulation at the city-run animal shelter.

Dogs over five months old must be spayed or neutered unless the owner purchases a specific license. Now, the city won’t issue such licenses.

“This is a step in the right direction to deal with illegal, unauthorized breeding,” Councilmember Garry Bredefeld said.

Fine are $1,000 for each dog in violation.

The moratorium lasts until the three-month average inventory at the city’s Animal Shelter is less than 75% capacity. If lifted, the moratorium would go into effect again when the shelter reaches 75% capacity.

City Votes to Restrict Signs

At several recent city council meetings, Perea issued a warning to a member of the public for holding up a sign causing a disruption. Now, the city council has approved changes to regulate and restrict signs in council chambers.

And, the First Amendment Coalition says the new rules likely pass Constitutional muster.

The new policy, approved 6-0 on the consent calendar without debate, restricts signs to 8.5 inches by 11 inches — a standard size of paper — and they must remain on laps.

Anyone wishing to hold signs up or with larger signs are restricted to the back row or the balcony. Sign restrictions are not in place for members actively speaking during public comments.

The goal, the city council said, is not to obstruct the view of others.

David Loy, legal director of FAC, said the city council has a right to restrict speech in a “time, place, and manner” as long as it is reasonable and content-neutral. Council chambers are considered a “limited public forum,” where the government can set some restrictions.

“Inside the room at the city council chambers … there’s a lot more leeway. And I’m not sure that these regulations would be unconstitutional,” Loy said.

This also allows the city to place time limits on public comment, and keep comments on topic. It would be different, Loy said, if the government tried to regulate speech or a protest outside the building.

City Council Increases Spending Threshold

Also on the consent calendar and without discussion, the council doubled the threshold it can spend without a vote. The agenda item passed 6-0.

Individual councilmembers can now spend up to $100,000 per contract from their discretionary funds without approval from the rest of the board. The figure used to be $50,000.

The new funding threshold also applies to the city manager (with the exception of legal services), and the city attorney for code enforcement spending.

“The (Consumer Price Index) adjustment over the years has not been adjusted for the city of Fresno. So the contract approval, without going out to a formal bid, has been $50,000. And it’s been that way probably for 25-plus years. So over time you have to do a CPI adjustment,” Mayor Jerry Dyer said.

Homeless Advocate Ejected After Arguing

During the budget discussion, several members of the public criticized the city’s homeless response team, known as HART.

Bredefeld responded on the dais.

“I would suggest to those of you who feel the city is not doing enough —help yourself. Do some things to help yourself. Stop coming here demanding that the city give you more,” Bredefeld said.

He said the homeless need to accept responsibility if they truly want help.

Bredefeld told a story that he was once homeless, using money for college to live in a hotel room. He decided to turn his life around.

“If I blamed everybody else for my problems, I guarantee you I would not be sitting here today. Quiet! I’m talking,” Bredefeld said.

Dez Martinez, a homeless advocate who frequently attends council meetings, shouted at Bredefeld from the seats. Perea warned Martinez to cease.

When Martinez continued, Perea directed police to escort Martinez out, and called for a five-minute recess.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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