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Published: 12/14/2012

About $68,000 more revenue a year expected from dog warden's fees hikes

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

New fee increases at the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office will generate an estimated additional $68,000 in annual revenue for the pound, Dog Warden Julie Lyle said.

The fees, which go into effect Jan. 1, were unanimously passed by Lucas County commissioners Thursday.

Kelly Roberts, the director of the county’s Office of Management and Budget, performed a cost-analysis study to determine the costs to the county of providing dog warden services.

Currently, all fees are at state minimums, which are far below actual costs, according to the study.

A hearing was held, as required by state law, but no one from the public spoke about the fee increases. Also as required by law, the hearing was advertised in the newspaper Saturday.

Dog adoption fees will increase from $50 to $100, but will now include a rabies shot, which was previously available as an add-on for $20.

The average cost of the amount of services that an adopted dog has received is about $215, Dog Warden Julie Lyle said.

“For the $100 fee, it’s a very good value,” County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said.

Under the new fee schedule, Ms. Lyle has leeway to reduce adoption fees via “adoption promotion” events. This can be done in connection with special adoption events that would be held when the pound is especially crowded, she said.

Adopters also must pay the $25 Lucas County license fee or obtain a license for the dog from their county prior to completing the adoption.

Dog transport fees, which are incurred when a deputy dog warden picks up an unlicensed dog and takes it to the pound where it is subsequently claimed, now will be $20. It was previously $4, but the actual cost is $33.24, which includes such expenses as gasoline and the deputy dog warden’s salary. The fee for serving and posting of notice to owners, in which licensed dog owners are notified by certified mail that their dogs have been picked up, increase from $2 to $5.

Boarding fees, which cover the housing and feeding of dogs picked up by the dog warden that are subsequently claimed, were $1.50 per day, but cost the county $17.66 daily, the cost study indicates.

The new fee will be $15 for the first day, $10 for the second day, and $8 for each day thereafter.

“The most expense is incurred on the first day when the dogs are evaluated by a veterinarian and receive shots,” Ms. Lyle said.

County Commissioner Pete Gerken said getting the fees in line with the actual costs is overdue.

“If you buy a dog license, you can avoid a lot of this,” Mr. Gerken said, “Responsible dog owners will buy the license and avoid any of these fees.”

When the dog warden picks up a dog with a license they contact the owner and strive to return the dog “in the field” before returning to the pound, Ms. Lyle said.

During the cost-analysis, which Commissioner Carol Contrada participated in, the importance was discussed of keeping adoption fees reasonable in order to encourage adoptions, and keeping redemption fees low enough that owners can afford to retrieve their dogs.

“I think there was a real sensitivity to that,” she said. “We want to encourage owners to continue to retrieve dogs and others to adopt dogs.”

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.



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