Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fiscal Court okays dog adoption rate increase

J-E News Editor
On Monday morning, members of the Webster County Fiscal Court voted unanimously to approve a measure that will drastically increase the price of adopting a dog in the county by $80.

New dog warden Aaron Richmond approached the court earlier this month with a proposed increase. The raise will move the price of adoption from $15 to $95. The increase will add the cost of having a dog spayed or neutered, as well as getting the animal it’s required rabies shots.
Magistrate Jerry “Poogie” Brown seemed reluctant to agree to the change.
“If I don’t want to spay or neuter a dog I’m going to adopt, I still have to pay the $95,” he said. “If a guy pays $95, I think it’s probably up to him whether he wants to do it or not.”
“Part of the reason I wanted to do this is that it helps enforce the current ordinance,” Richmond pointed out.
The county’s current ordinance on dog adoption required that any dog adopted from the pound be spayed or neutered within 30 days. That is an ordinance that authorities say not everyone has taken seriously.
No one was exactly sure how long the current adoption ordinance had been on the books.
“How man dogs do we average at the pound?” Brown asked.
“Between 30 and 40,” Richmond replied. 
“What percentage are put down?”
“It was a very large percentage in the past,” Richmond said. “I haven’t had to put any down since we opened our new facility. The old building just didn’t have the room.”
Richmond said that he feels the spay and neuter program is an important one in the county because if enforced, it would help cut down on the number of strays his office has to pickup, house and feed.
“A lot of folks don’t take care of their animals,” agreed magistrate Chad Townsend.
“And the tax payers are having to pay for it,” added county treasurer Paula Guinn.
Eventually the measure passed with a 3-0 vote. When an animal is adopted at the new $95 rate, the new owner will be presented with a voucher which they can take to the vet to cover the required expenses. 
Currently, Animal House Veterinary Clinic and Tradewater Animal Hospital have agreed to accept the voucher, but Richmond said he would be more than willing to work with anybody that would work with the county.
In other business, two seats on the Webster County Library Board were up for renewal. The Fiscal Court appointed Nancy Werley to replace Mary Steeley on the board and renewed the term of Julie Hawkins.

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