The Henry Co Animal Control Shelter in GA is revamping its fees. Starting July 1, adopters will be getting more for less. That is, shelter pets will come with a microchip and a rabies vaccine voucher for an adoption fee of $65 – down from $85. That’s good news.
Owners whose pets are repeatedly picked up roaming will face increased redemption fees:
“Our current impound fee is $30, and we are seeing an increasing number of animals that we’re re-impounding two, three, four and five times,” said Director of Animal Control and Care, Gerri Yoder. “They are paying that same $30 coming to pick up their animals, so we’re hoping that by having that fee double each time, that’s an added incentive for these owners to keep their animals restrained.”
I certainly understand the thinking here. The county is hoping to provide a financial incentive to owners who are repeat offenders with regard to allowing their dogs to roam. They want these owners to step up and take responsibility for keeping their dogs properly contained, which is at it should be.
On the other hand, I can’t help but notice that the fee to redeem a pet for these repeat offenders will exceed the fee to adopt a new pet. Furthermore, there may be financial obstacles preventing at least some of these owners from providing adequate containment. How will draining their financial resources even further aid them in overcoming those obstacles? Ultimately, won’t at least some percentage of owners simply leave the pet at the shelter due to the increased fines?
I understand we want to encourage owners to be responsible and prevent their dogs from running loose around the neighborhood. But I question whether these fines are the best way to encourage that. At the very least, I’d like to see the fines put into a fund that low income owners could apply to for assistance in putting up fencing.
What do you think?