Cost of finding forever homes

Mar. 31, 2014 @ 11:38 PM

Adopters will pay the Vance County Animal Shelter for their pets to be completely vaccinated, spayed and neutered starting today.

The shelter raised its adoption prices to $150 for dogs and $100 for cats — almost three times the previous price — to come closer to how much it actually costs to care for the animals.

“I do know these prices are expensive, but what you are getting in the package deal is good,” Chief Frank Nobles said. “It’s going to hopefully prevent us from getting back mamas with puppies.”

Many have already opted for the package deal, which includes spaying and neutering and an update to all vaccinations. Dogs receive a heartworm test, while cats get a feline leukemia test.

Adopter Mary Blair took the $100 package for her kitten, Misty Blue, which she felt was the best deal.

“I thought, pricewise, if I was going to take the kitten somewhere else to see a veterinarian, it was just smart to give back to the shelter so that maybe it can help other animals,” she said.

In the past, adopters like Blair have had the option to take the package deal. Animals could be adopted without being spayed or neutered, leaving adopters to bear the cost on their own.

“I am not trying to stop people from adopting,” Nobles said. “I am just trying to offer people a healthier animal that won’t reproduce.”

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According to Nobles, the shelter has brought in 1,851 animals since June 2013, with an average of only 80 adoptions per year. More than half of them are returned with puppies, which the shelter has had trouble accommodating.

Offering the spading and neutering, Noble said, will decrease the returned animals to the shelter and save the county money.

“I would like to see them lower and still offer the same amount of care,” he said when asked about his take on the price increase. “I don’t want to hurt the vets I am working with. I want to continue with this deal until we can find another way to offer the adoption.”

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.