Animal adoption fee increase would be lower under new proposal

DANVILLE — Vermilion County officials are still proposing increases in adoption fees for the county's animal shelter but less drastic increases this time.

Earlier this summer, county officials proposed significant increases that successfully passed two county board committees but died at the full county board, which sent the proposal back to the committee level without a vote.

That first proposal would have increased the $80 fee for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens to $125 for dogs over 40 pounds, $150 for dogs under 40 pounds, $175 for puppies under 6 months old, and $85 for cats under 1 year old, and the fee for cats over 1 year would have decreased to $60.

Vermilion County Board Chairman Gary Weinard said some board members felt the increases in the first proposal were too big, and he heard the same from some members of the community.

Now, county officials have a new proposal that Weinard said is a compromise.

The county board's health and education committee already approved it, and the finance committee will consider it at its 5:15 p.m. meeting Monday night at the Vermilion County Courthouse Annex, 6 N. Vermilion St., Danville. If that committee approves it, the proposal will move on to the full county board.

David Tyras, assistant director at the county animal shelter, said this proposal still includes decent increases in adoption fees but not as high.

"We feel the new prices are definitely something that most people aren't going to flinch about," he said.

Under this proposal, the $80 adoption fee for dogs and puppies will increase to $125. And the $80 fee for cats will change to two separate fees: $75 for cats over 1 year old and $90 for cats younger than 1.

Like the previous proposal, all customers over 65 years old will get a $40 discount on any adoption fee, but a new discount was added — a $20 discount on any dogs or cats 8 years old or older. And the daily boarding fee for animals that are picked up by animal control or quarantined after a bite incident will increase to $12 per day.

Tyras said these increases won't generate the revenue necessary to cover all costs at the shelter, and the county will still have to continue to subsidizing its operation with money from the county's general fund.

The shelter, which is located on Catlin-Tilton Road west of Tilton, is a county-owned facility that houses animals that are surrendered or picked up by the county's animal-control officers, who serve all the unincorporated areas of the county and any municipalities that pay the county to handle animal control.

The county does not serve Danville, which pays the Humane Society of Danville to hire animal-control officers that enforce its ordinances. The Humane Society operates its own shelter.

The Vermilion County Animal Shelter Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money to support the care of the animals at the shelter, pays a large portion of the spaying and neutering costs at the shelter, which helps keep the shelter's adoption fees lower. But that assistance and the current fee schedule still do not cover all the costs of the operation.

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