MANSFIELD -- Richland County Dog Warden Dane Howard plans to present final plans/options on April 30 for a mandatory spay/neuter program for all dogs adopted through the shelter.
Howard, joined by Missy Houghton, director of animal care and operations of the Humane Society of Richland County, and local veterinarian Dr. Jordan Phillips of the Phillips Animal Hospital met with Richland County commissioners on Tuesday morning to discuss potential options.
Howard first discussed the ideas with commissioners in March, a plan that will likely increase the costs of adopting dogs through the county facility.
The trio and commissioners discussed a variety of options, including whether to spay/neuter dogs as they come into the shelter or wait until they are to be adopted.
They also discussed the most economical way to have the medical work done. Options include outfitting an existing room at the shelter to have the work done there, which would result in a higher upfront cost, but likely lower surgical costs; contracting with the RASCAL Unit Neutermobile through the non-profit Mid-Ohio Animal Welfare League; or taking dogs to local vet offices.
The county currently charges $138 for a dog adoption, which includes an adoption fee, license and registration, micro-chipping and all vaccinations. Each person who adopts now gets a certificate worth $20 toward having the animal spayed or neutered.
It's expected the cost of an adoption will rise to about $200 with the required medical treatment.
Houghton said the Humane Society charges $225 to adopt a puppy up to six months old and $175 for dogs older than six months. Those dogs are spayed/neutered and have all medical treatment required until their first birthday.
Commissioners said the additional cost to adopt a dog through the county, based upon the spay/neuter program, should not be a show-stopper.
"If you cant afford to pay the $40 to $50 increase in fees ... you probably shouldn't be adopting a dog anyway," Vero said.
Howard, already on the commissioners' agenda in two weeks, said he would return with finalized plans and options.
Also on Tuesday, commissioners also approved the county dog shelter's participation in the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which will place a clerical employee over the age of 55 for 20 hours a week at the shelter. The employee will not be paid by the county.
The federal program provides part-time community service training positions to low-income persons age 55 and older. Program participants work an average of 20 hours per week and are paid at least the Federal minimum wage, and are employed in a wide variety of community service activities.
Participants must be 55 years of age or older, unemployed, and with a household pre-tax annual income of 125 percent of the Federal poverty level or less.
Howard said the dog warden's office is a little short-handed and the program, formerly known as the Green Thumb Program, will provide needed assistance to the office.