GA Shelter to Increase Some Redemption Fees

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?

8 thoughts on “GA Shelter to Increase Some Redemption Fees

  1. I don’t have a problem with escalating fees for repeat offenders.

    $30 is a pretty minimal impound fee, considering the costs of employing an ACO to catch the dog, and then housing the dog, paperwork, etc. (In fact, if I was a cheapskate and saw a dog I liked at the pound, I could claim it was mine and get it for cheaper!)

    While it’s appealing to think of repeat roaming dogs as hilarious scamps in an Our Gang short, the reality is more often that the animal is a not-very-funny neighborhood menace, ranging from ransacking garbage cans through attacking livestock through playing in traffic (endangering human life) right up to overtly menacing the kids on the swingset.

    My neighbors are all responsible about their dogs, for which I thank them. I have occasional problems with users of the park next-door not having control of their pets, and having a dog make incursions across several hundred yards of hayfield into my poultry-filled barnyard. NOT. AMUSED. If my own security patrol was not so diligent and fierce, I’d have had dead livestock by now.

    You wanna walk into your own barn to find the neighbor’s roaming dog ripping the innards out of your still-living pet goat? Happened to someone I know.

    If I had to have animal control come pick up the same dog a SECOND time, much less three, four, five times, because the owner saw the $30 impound fee as the cost of doing business — at a certain point, the dog would disappear.

    NO, I would not SSS. But that puppy would go on a trip. Other farmers would not be so forgiving.

    Remember, impounding is animal control, and animal control has obligations to the whole community that have to be balanced against the owner’s property rights and the individual dog’s welfare.

    In the case of habitually straying problem dogs, the community’s rights to have their own animals and kids be safe, and to not be repeatedly fixing damage caused by the same roaming dog, rightly takes precedence.

  2. This shelter is notorious for its bad conditions and high kill rate. It also has one of Georgia’s 13 known remaining operational gas chambers, at least until December 31st.

  3. Reclaim fees are always a struggle for the shelter i work at. On one hand we provided a service and deserve to be compensated for that. on the other hand we want the dog to go home.

    Our fees are $25 a day for boarding, plus vaccination fees ($28 for DHPPB for all dogs, $18 for PRCC for cats), and then additional fees apply if the animal had other services (vet exam, dewormer, etc- usually only if the animal has been here longer than the stray holding period).
    So we tell the owners that’s what they owe. When they say they can’t afford that (80% pull that card)- we ask them what they can afford and take whatever they offer- and send them home with a receipt to show what discount we had to apply, and a donation form as well.
    We also encourage microchipping at the time of reclaim- $40 tax free

  4. I would guess that Georgia, like most rural states (if not all states) has laws that permit owners of livestock to kill any dog that attacks (or threatens) livestock. I’m guessing that would include “pet” goats.

    H, I wonder if the dogowners in your state would have to SSS. Unless the _SS has more to do with wanting to protect themselves from retaliation than for any legal reason.

  5. I don’t have a problem with an increasing fee for dogs that are habitual pick-ups for AC.

    I do think that doubling it each time is a lot. Increasing it by five or ten dollars each time makes more sense to me.

  6. Calgary doesn’t impound them, they take them back to their owners. They found it was much more cost effective. If there’s no tags, they go door to door in the neighborhood and ask — someone usually tells them almost immediately whose dog it is. I believe this is free for licensed dogs (and they have 93 percent license compliance for dogs there), with a small fine for repeat offenders. They say it works very well… and I haven’t heard differently from anyone. Even if you still charge a fine for repeat offenders, it would save the impound, housing costs, and reduce ACO costs, too.

    I LOVE the idea of using the fines as a fencing fund for low income pet owners, too.

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