Things are going to change a little for the adoption processes at the Jerome Animal Shelter come February 1, 2011.
Presently, the adoption fee for a dog is $5.00. Once the dog is adopted, the new owners are given a coupon for a discounted rate for the spay/neuter. However, we have found that compliance with spaying or neutering a new pet is low. Many adopting families have told the veterinarians that they “just want one litter of puppies” and then they will have their pet altered. Given that one of the purposes of the shelter is to help control the animal population, this is obviously not acceptable. At any given time in a shelter roughly 90% of the population are dogs that are not spayed or neutered.
Another problem with having such a low adoption fee is that the dogs then become disposable items. We worry about dogs being abandoned when the novelty of adopting a puppy has worn off. Most people easily find $5.00 for the adoption. Also, there are significant and real concerns of abuse for dogs that is perceived as being of no financial value.
To correct this problem, the Animal Shelter, along with the help of the local veterinarians, is establishing a $50.00 adoption fee. This new fee will include the cost of the spay/neuter, rabies vaccines, and City license. In addition, the shelter staff and volunteers will then take the dog directly to the veterinarian of choice of the adopting family and, once the spay/neuter is complete, the new family will pick up the new pet from the veterinarian. This will allow us to ensure that the dogs receive all the vaccinations he or she needs and that there will be proper care for the dog after the procedure where the new pet owners will receive some education on proper dog health care, nutrition, and so forth.
Some may say “Will this increased fee decrease the odds of a dog being adopted?” The answer to this is twofold. First, it is true that a $50.00 fee will be more restrictive for some people than a $5.00 fee. However, if someone is unable to afford $50.00, our concern is that they truly cannot afford the all the financial implications of a pet such as food, healthcare, etc.
Also, due to our volunteer program, we have managed to develop wonderful relationships with the Humane Societies and rescue organizations. We are now able to move dogs to other places where they are in demand. That helps us control the population in the shelter so that we can make sure the right dog goes into the right home with the right kind of care.
This endeavor would not be possible without the support and assistance from the veterinarians in the City of Jerome. They are supporting this program and providing the much needed service at a very reasonable rate. The next time you see your veterinarian here in Jerome, thank him or her for assisting the Jerome Animal Shelter in controlling the canine population.