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Pet Adoption Fees Could Be Waived Under New Legislation

The average animal adoption cost in the county is $36, and generates up to $340,000 annually.

For special promotions, the cost of adopting an animal from the Anne Arundel County animal shelter could be waived, thanks to a unanimous vote by the County Council on Tuesday.

Alan Friedman, the county's government relations director, said the legislation will encourage more adoptions in the county.

"This will hopefully find good homes for our pets, as well as reduce the number of animals that have to be euthanized," Friedman said. "And the fiscal impact is very minimal."

The average cost of animal adoption, including spaying and neutering, from county shelters is $36, and can generate up to $340,000 annually. For special events, the new legislation authorizes the police department, which oversees animal control, to waive this fee.

Robin Small, the director of the county's animal shelter, said since the waiving would be done only for special promotions, the fiscal impact would be $50,000.

Frank Caesar Branchini of Maryland Votes for Animals said these promotions are proven ways to increase the rate of adoptions. He cited events at three shelters in Baltimore that more than doubled the rate of adoptions of cats.

The Anne Arundel County Animal Shelter is located in Millersville. For more information on the shelter, and also to look up pictures of the pets of the week, visit its website.

Susan Kim September 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I'm confused. The adoption fee is only $36? That doesn't seem like much, given the amount of money you have to invest in food, vet bills, etc. If $36 discourages someone from adopting a pet, maybe they should reconsider owning an animal?
Randi Mahr September 20, 2012 at 01:25 PM
That cost is an average. Adoption fees are anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on the age, type, and breed of animal being adopted. Besides, you never know what you are going to get. I spent $80 to adopt my 1 yr old mutt who I found depressed in a shelter and refusing to eat. She literally broke my heart. Her only issues I was told was her fear of metal cages and loud noises. No big deal right? Well as it turns out, she is over protective, aggressive towards other dogs and people and must be kept on a lead in the yard if there is no fence or she will either attack anyone she feels is invading her territory or will run away. However, to me she is the most loveable dog I have ever met and I love her unconditionally despite all of her issues. However, even though I have learned to work around all of her quirks and have never given up on her, if I had known what I know now I never would have paid that amount for her. It's a risk to adopt and many people aren't willing to pay high prices on a chance.
Tommy Holmes September 20, 2012 at 01:26 PM
This is ridiculous. If $36 is too expensive for you to adopt a pet, you have no business adopting and further burdening the county budget. The animal will probably just end up back at the shelter. We paid $125 to adopt and spay our dog from the PG County shelter.
Gloria Eichelman September 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I don't think the article was written to imply that the adoption costs are too high for people to adopt pet. What the county is saying is that there are too many animals in the shelter and not enough funds and space to provide for them. What attracts people more than the words FREE and PROMOTION? By waiving the adoption fee, the hopes are that more people will adopt sooner than later which will reduce the number of animals in the shelter. The ultimate result is less animals will be unnecessarily put to sleep when they could be in good homes.
D. Frank Smith (Editor) September 20, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Susan, as others have said, the $36 is merely an average of adoption costs among all animals. When I asked Robin Small about the cost, she said it could range anywhere from $10, $20, up to $100. Spaying and neutering for example costs between $10-30 alone, so in addition to the processing fee, adopting a dog or cat would probably be near the $50 mark.
Laura Rudd September 20, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Gloria is absolutely correct. This promotion motivates us to visit the shelter to look for our next rescue animal.
Ella Vader September 21, 2012 at 12:45 AM
I am not sure I agree with the promotion. I understand that the shelters are overcrowded and the alternative is putting the animals to sleep....but offering the animals for free? I just worry that people who are not truly serious about caring for an animal might decide to get one on a whim. Just a thought. I know it is a tough decision.
Elizabeth Ann September 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM
I do not like the words FREE PET = wrong hands. To many animals are adopted and they end up on craigs list to make some money off of them. I do agree if the adoption fee is to high then maybe you are not serious enough to own a pet. Positive promoting of animal shelters are needed. Many GREAT animals are put down daily because of overcrowding we are a very sad society in my opinion. I wish the County would consult with other shelters that have gone to no kill status...it can be done but I guess this society just prefers to kill gods creatures....
Ella Vader September 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM
The no kill shelters work when there is a financial incentive. Some shelters get grants (in the millions) to do this. Anyway, people need to be smart about where they are getting new pets from and realize that the cute little puppy you find on the internet probably came from a puppy mill or an Amish puppy mill. These are horrible places. County shelters and non profit adoption groups are the way to go.
Jack A. September 26, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Susan I agree... Even if it cost $100 to adopt a pet, it is a small amount to pay for the responsibility of an animal. If anything, maybe the adoption fee could be given back to the person as a food voucher or a coupon of some sort, to a vet if used in the first year. That would at least ensure the animal is being taken care of.
D.W. September 26, 2012 at 05:00 PM
It's either give them away or put them down. All shelters are overflowing with animals. If you all are so concerned, then maybe you should volunteer to work at one or one of these adoption events.

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