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Animal Welfare Committee Readies to Defend 'Voluntary Adoption Donations'

Animal Control to present at July 5 mayor and council work session.

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.

Ray June 27, 2011 at 01:31 PM
Because the shelter is under the auspices of the city, it should be the City's responsibility to make sure, as it does with all city buildings, that is is properly maintained. It is against the law to leave animals in hot cars, so why does the city think it is okay to leave animals in their possession in hot buildings. The committee has done a lot to make sure that the animals were kept as comfortable as possible. If the city can not afford $150 for air conditioning, the budget really needs to be looked at again.
Matthew Byrd June 27, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Greenbelt has a great program that runs out of a mobile trailer at the police station there, and hopefully they could serve as a model for our own program. The AWC represents a shifting of the community's views on how the problem of stray/feral animals should be handled in the City, and I fully support what they are trying to do. We're just having some growing pains from moving away from our previous "catch and euthanize" policy, toward something more humane. I think any adoption fees that are collected should be invested directly back into the shelter and the program, in any case, and I hope we continue on the path we're on now. Officially going to a full "No-Kill" program would be too costly, but there's no reason this city couldn't support an adoption program and a modest shelter, at the least.

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