NORTH FORSYTH — Forsyth County appears closer to establishing an interim spay/neuter policy for the new animal shelter.
The policy, which is still subject to a public hearing, calls for the shelter to fix all animals upon adoption as long as the animal is at least 12 weeks old.
That figure was reached by Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt, as a compromise between the ongoing public debate over the best age to fix animals.
“I have discussed this with several different individuals on both sides with differing opinions, and I think I am getting a pretty good consensus that they could live with this,” Merritt said. “Maybe it’s not what’s ideal, but this is something they could live with.”
The policy also would allow some animals to be adopted out to county residents without being fixed, provided they sign an agreement to pay for the procedure and have it done within 30 days or when the animal is 12 weeks old. If they don’t comply, the animal must be surrendered to the county.
“That in itself creates a cost factor, where the individual is more likely to leave the animal with us an extra day or so, and we’ll have the animal spay/neutered,” Merritt said. ”But if they so elect, they’ll have to pay the full cost of spay/neuter.”
Approved rescue groups will also be able to adopt unaltered animals if they agree to have it spayed within 30 days or the animal reaching 12 weeks and pay for the procedure. To qualify, approved groups must show a 100 percent compliance rate.
Under the policy, certain animals, including all male cats, will be fixed at 12 weeks, even if they haven’t been adopted, as will animals that cause operational problems or display unusual behavior a vet believes spaying/neutering likely can fix.
Debate on the best time to fix animals has occurred at recent meetings of the county commission and animal control and shelter advisory committee.