Animal shelter fees increase proposed

TROY — The Miami County Board of Commissioners will soon vote on a resolution for approval of fee increases for the Miami County Animal Shelter. Commissioners heard a presentation Tuesday regarding a recently-completed cost-analysis study to support the proposed increases.

Tuesday’s presentation was given by Commissioners’ Administrator Leigh Williams on behalf of the animal shelter. The cost-analysis study, which was authorized last month by commissioners and conducted by commission staff and Miami County Animal Shelter Manager Morgan Howard, examined the existing cost structure of the shelter and included comparisons to those of surrounding counties.

According to the study, Miami County Shelter fees have not been increased since 2013, even though personnel and operating costs have continued to increase.

On average, based on the years 2015 to 2019, the shelter’s annual dog intake rate if 744.8 and the average annual dog adoption rate is 376.8, the analysis states. In several categories, Miami County fees for dogs were found to be among the lowest compared to 10 surveyed counties. These categories include adoption (spayed/neutered), adoption (not spayed/not neutered), owner releases, impound, and daily board.

Williams presented a list of proposed fees compared to current fees for the Miami County Animal Shelter, which included the following:

• Dog impound — current: $30; proposed: $35.

• Daily board per day for dog — current: $5; proposed: $10.

• Admit owner release dog — current: $30; proposed: $30 with proof of spay/neuter and up-to-date vaccinations, and $50 without.

• Dog adoption fees — current: $56 for spayed/neutered, and $86 for not spayed/neutered; proposed: $96, and $50 for dog 10 years or older.

• Cat adopted fees — current: $20 for spayed/neutered, and $40 for not spayed/neutered; proposed: $45.

• Dog rescue fees — current: none; proposed: $30 (waived after dog has been at shelter for three months).

• Cat rescue fees — current: none; proposed: $5 (waived after cat has been at shelter for two weeks).

Miami County’s adoption fee includes first distemper shot, first dose of worm medicine, an intranasal bordetella injection, the current year dog license, a coupon for a free health examination at a vet within the county, and if not spayed/neutered, a $30 certificate to use toward the spay/neuter.

Williams noted the cost-analysis study focused primarily on dogs, not cats, as Ohio Revised Code only speaks to fees related to dogs, adding that there is typically not a large population of cats at the MCAS.

The MCAS’s annual expenses, if fully staffed with a manager, five animal control officers (currently, the shelter is only staffed with four ACOs) and a sheriff’s deputy, total approximately $449,227.61, not including food/treats, bedding and toys for the animals, as these items are typically donated. The average annual revenue for the five-year period from 2015 to 2019 is $424,517.72.

“While the shelter and the county appreciate all the donations and volunteers, it cannot depend on these donations and volunteers on an annual basis and must budget for necessary items,” the analysis overview states.

The shelter will also incur some larger expenses in the near future, including a new vehicle equipped with caging, as well as new kennels/fencing and new kennel flooring.

“We’ve got to increase fees to some extent to stay on target if we are going to be fully staffed,” Williams said. “This (increase) does not spike us up to the top in the state, either; it still keeps us at a lower rate compared to other counties.”

The fee increase resolution will be voted on during the next Board of Commissioners meeting and, if approved, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.