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Board approves shelter fees
WEB shelter 1
LuAnn Farrell, co-founder of animal rescue group Angels Among Us, hangs a paw with her signature on a board representing those who are partnering with the new animal shelter. - photo by Crystal Ledford

Fees that will soon be implemented at the Forsyth County Animal Shelter were signed off on by the board of commissioners Tuesday.

During a work session, the board unanimously approved a list of fees that were recommended by the animal shelter advisory committee.
The commission also signed off on an ordinance change that would require anyone adopting an animal from the shelter, which opened on Aug. 22, to enter into a written contract to have the animal spayed or neutered within a certain time frame.  However, that change will have to go to two public hearings before it is finalized.

The fees that were set are: $15 per night boarding fee; a $25 impound fee if an animal is picked up the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office; a shelter processing fee of $60; and an adoption fee of $85.  Tim Merritt, assistant county manager, said the new shelter processing fee is needed since this will be the first time the county has run its own shelter, rather than paying a private shelter for services.

Commissioner Todd Levent, who is on the shelter advisory committee, said the $60 processing fee would go toward offsetting medical costs associated with each animal that is brought in.  That fee as well as the $15 boarding fee would apply to animals that have an owner but are picked up by animal control.   The boarding fee would not have to be paid by the owner, Levent said, if they come and pick up the animal before it has stayed at the shelter overnight.  The $85 adoption fee, he said, would be paid by anyone who adopts an animal from the shelter. Adopters, not those picking up animals that already belonged to them, would pay only the adoption fee.  

Adoption fees would include medical services such as vaccines and could include spay/neuter services if an animal is old enough.  Levent said animals less than 5 months old likely would not be sterilized “because it’s not healthy for the animal.”  Merritt said the advisory committee had also recommended an agreement that anyone adopting an animal that could not be sterilized at the shelter would have to sign.  Under that agreement, the adopter would bring the animal back to the shelter to be spayed or neutered within 30 days of it reaching sexual maturity.   He said that agreement would not apply to owner reclaims of animals if owners could prove that the animal belonged to them before it was taken in by animal control.

Levent said the shelter advisory committee set the fees to be comparable to other government animal control facilities in the area.
“Our goal was to set them at a reasonable level to help offset costs, but not so high that we deterred adopters,” he said. “The success of any animal shelter is based on how many animals are adopted out and we want our shelter to be as successful as possible.”
As a government shelter which is required to take in all animals brought to them, Levent said it will be difficult for the facility to be a true “no-kill shelter.” But he and other leaders hope to get as close to that goal as possible.
“We’re working really hard in partnership with a lot of the animal rescue groups in the area to be as close to a no-kill facility as we can,” he said.