Cal City could increase pet adoption fees
i California City Council will consider raising adoption fees to meet rising vet services costs.
Jesse Hightower, Chief of Police, stated that the city’s veterinarian for spaying and neutering cats and dogs adopted from the animal shelter has increased its rates effective January 1. This means that adoption fees will not cover city costs. (Animal Control is part of the Police Department.
The fees proposed to cover these additional costs would double the adoption cost of large dogs and up to 80% for cats. Prices vary for male and female animals as well as for cats, small dogs, and large dogs.
Hightower presented figures based on data from the past two years on adoptions, which show how much the city can lose if fees don’t increase to meet costs.
He estimated that the average 326 animals per year would result in a loss of $54,000 per annum. If there were mainly large, female dogs, the figure would be even higher.
Hightower stated, “I’m trying as softly and empathic as possible with this.” The city is actually a business. To avoid losing money, raise rates at some point to make it even.
Karen Macedonio, Councilmember, stated that even at the maximum loss the amount isn’t so large that the city cannot absorb it until it can all be discussed as part of the annual budget process.
She said, “I don’t understand why this is being discussed outside of a Budget discussion, outside of Master Fee Schedule discussion, and outside of an Ordinance change.” “This is just a band-aid for a wound.”
Macedonio stated that it is necessary to have a discussion about all aspects of the shelter in order to fully understand the problem.
She said, “This is only a small part of the overall picture.” “This should be discussed… with the entire budget for animal shelter.”
Resident Duane Vaquez stated that a higher adoption fee would result in fewer adoptions and more animals being kept for longer periods of time.
He suggested that we look at ways to reduce the number of animals in shelters in need of adoption.
Interim City Manager Jim Hart stated that the Council should have a draft budget to be considered for the current fiscal year which began on July 1.