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Placer County Animal Shelter fees will take a bigger bite out of wallets

Pet pick-ups to cost 23% more
By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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Bailing Fido out of the Placer County animal shelter will cost their human companions 23 percent more starting next month. The increase in the penalty for picking up a spayed or neutered dog after a first-time stay at the North Auburn shelter is rising from $43 to $53 starting Aug. 6. An unaltered dog impounded at the shelter will cost $88 to get out – up from the current $86. The increases are part of a sweeping revision in animal services fees approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors. It follows a study intended to align fees more closely with actual costs. A study by the county found that better matching costs to fees would eliminate up to $75,000 taxpayers now subsidize for everything from animal adoption fees to pound redemptions to dog license renewals. Mark Starr, director of the county Health and Human Services Department’s animal services division, said that the county’s new fees are “pretty much in the ballpark” of those being charged in neighboring counties. Dog license renewal rates, for instance, will rise from $11 to $18 per year for altered pets in Placer County. Licenses for unaltered dogs will go from $23 to $36 a year. That compares with rates of $15 (altered) and $150 (unaltered) in Sacramento County, $15 and $35 in El Dorado County and $10 and $25 in Nevada County. Leilani Viera, CEO of the Placer SPCA, said her organization was particularly pleased that the unaltered license fee was increasing because those dogs are the major contributor to problems in the county with a rise in unwanted canines. The higher licenses encourage spaying and neutering, which increases the health of pets while preventing unwanted dog-population growth, she said. At $107, dog adoption fees would be below both the Placer SPCA ($125-$175) and Sacramento County ($121-$147) but above El Dorado County’s $90. Cat adoptions would be $88. Mike Winters, animal services manager, said that the adoption fees will be consolidated to reflect several costs, including vaccinations, spaying or neutering, micro-chipping, leukemia or heartworm testing, collar, cat carrier or dog leash. Community and breeder groups, including the SPCA, were apprised of the new fee schedule before it was brought to the board. Winters said the county was playing catch-up after basing yearly increases on a state consumer price index since the last cost-recovery study in 1996. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.