Columbia animal shelter proposes fee increase for pets not spayed or neutered

ccope@thestate.comFebruary 18, 2014 

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— The city animal shelter presented its goal to become a no-kill shelter and increase pet fees for unsterilized pets to a city committee Tuesday morning.

In the budget request, shelter officials proposed doubling the fee for residents who own pets that are not spayed or neutered to $50 from $25.

The fees are not for a specific kind of pet.

“We are not at this point planning to do anything breed-specific,” said Marli Drum, superintendent of the city’s animal services.

The fee for residents with pets that are sterilized will remain at $5.

The initiative to get more pets spayed and neutered also will help the shelter reach its goal of becoming no-kill, officials said.

The city takes in about 11,000 cats and dogs each year, Drum said. About 63 percent of the pets at the shelter are being euthanized per year, Drum said.

“It’s just sort of heartbreaking,” she said.

The goal is to achieve a live release rate of 70 percent or greater and adopting out any pets that can be, Drum said.

It is impossible to achieve 100 percent no-kill because some pets are too injured, too aggressive or too sick and must be euthanized, she said.

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