The city’s Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) is preparing to defend “voluntary donations” it collects for adopted pets from the .
At its meeting Thursday, the AWC unanimously motioned to back a request to the mayor and council that “voluntary adoption donations” continue to reimburse for care the animals received before adoption, including some exam, vaccination and sterilization costs.
“I don’t think council realizes the money we put into the cats,” said College Park Animal Control Officer Vivian Cooper.
She estimated pre-adoption costs to be at least $120, depending on the type and age of the animal. Her current proposal for donations are $75 for adult cats, $100 for kittens or a pair of adult cats, and $150 for a pair of kittens or a dog.
She will be reporting the status of the animal control program at the July 5 mayor and council work session, where she anticipates questions regarding the voluntary donation.
She said council members previously questioned the legality of adoption fees, as they are not included in the city code, and have since been dubbed voluntary.
If applicants choose not to pay the donation, though, Cooper said she would question their ability to care for the animal. “I might not approve their application,” she said.
In addition to requesting that the funds continue to fall into the animal control cost recovery fund, the AWC plans to make two additional suggestions to the council: first, that the city code be updated to reflect the contemporary function of animal control; and second, that the city be responsible for maintenance of the animal shelter.
The committee volunteers recently funded for a $149 air conditioner for the building. AWC members said that because the shelter is College Park property, the city should be responsible for such costs.
For several of the members, these issues were a part of a greater challenge of legitimizing the committee, and battling the perception that “it’s a bunch of women sitting around talking about kittens,” said one member.
Vice Chair Linda Lachman is unsure how the committee is viewed, but “It’s our job to convince them what we do is important,” she said.