Vance commissioners increase animal shelter adoption fees

Mar. 11, 2014 @ 08:08 PM

Vance County commissioners at their Monday, March 10, meeting voted to increase adoption fees at the animal shelter.

The board in a 4-2 vote decided to take the recommendation of the public safety committee to raise the cost of adopting a dog to $150 and a cat to $100 plus an additional $5 charge for a rabies vaccine. The two dissenting votes were Tommy Hester and Archie Taylor, the board’s vice chair.

Current adoption fees, which range from $26 for a male cat to $43 for a female dog, haven’t been changed in more than 20 years, Animal Control Chief Frankie Nobles said. The additional charges would help but not completely cover ever-increasing costs, including spay and neuter, various vaccines and a heartworm test. Commissioner Dan Brummitt said it also ensures people have seriously considered the costs of bringing a cat or dog into their homes.

But opponents said other counties in the area and across the state manage to keep fees low and feared increasing the cost to adopt an animal in Vance County would discourage people from doing so here.

“I’m not against the situation, but I’m looking at what you’re doing,” Hester said. “If you’re not careful with what you’re doing with the prices, you’re going to drive people somewhere else.”

He noted Granville, Warren, Franklin and even Wake all manage to keep their fees at less than $100.

Nobles said Wake County has a veterinarian on-staff, which reduces the cost of spaying or neutering the animals, while Granville, Warren and Franklin counties either requires the owner to take care of it or works with N.C. State University to get the procedures done at a reduced cost.

Vance County Animal Control simply doesn’t have the resources to ensure compliance with such an ordinance, he said. Too often, unspayed cats and dogs often return to the shelter along with a litter of kittens or puppies.

Brummitt said he understood concerns the fees would decrease the number of adoptions per year. Currently, the shelter receives between 3,000 and 4,000 animals annually and finds homes for between 70 and 80 of them. The bulk of the rest of them go to area animal rescue groups who then work to find forever homes.

“We’re very fortunate to have a real good relationship with the rescue groups in this county,” he said. “… If this deters some adoptions, the rescues will be there.”

Contact the writer at vshortley@hendersondispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at @herding_stets.