Subcommittee backs no fee waiver for Second Chance

The Fayette County Board’s animal control subcommittee wants to deny the request of Second Chance Animal Rescue to be excempt from dog tag fees.
Merrell Collins, chairman of that committee, said during a committee report on Tuesday that the committee is recommending denial of the request to waive the fees.
The county board in December approved an animal control ordinance that set registration fees of $5 and $15 per year for altered and unaltered animals, respectively, and three-year fees of $12.50 and $37.50.
At last month’s meeting, Cindy Simmons of Second Chance asked to have the rescue exempt from the fees, saying that only about 10 percent of the dogs adopted stay in the county.
Simmons told board members that the rescue takes in about 175 dogs each year, and that the fees would cost her about $1,000.
In explaining the subcommittee’s recommendation, Collins said that Second Chance could offset the fees by raising its adoption fees by $5, which he said is an increase of about 2 percent in the rescue's adoption  fees.
He said that he and the other members of the subcommittee, Glenn Gurtner and Glenda Bartels, recently visited second chance, and were impressed with what they saw.
“It’s a great facility and they’re doing a wonderful job with what they’ve got,” Collins said.
But, Collins said, he doesn’t favor waiving the fees for Second Chance in light of county residents recently approving a 1-percent sales tax.
“I don’t understand why people adopting dogs from Fayette County should not abide by Fayette County laws,” Collins said.
The board will vote on the subcommittee’s recommendation at its March meeting.
He also reported that area veterinarians have rabies tags and are recording tag numbers as dogs are vaccinated.
Collins said the subcommittee recommended giving the veterinarians a $2 rebate on each tag for handling the registration of dogs, and the board tentatively agreed to that, with a formal vote to be taken next month.
He also told other board members that he has been told that there is a state law prohibiting dogs from running loose off of personal property.
Collins said that law enforcement officers in the county can write citations for violations of that state law. “It depends on whether law enforcement wants to get involved or not,” he said.
Years ago, Collins said, tickets were issued but were not prosecuted. He asked Fayette County State’s Attorney Joshua Morrison whether they would be now, and Morrison said that they would.
Collins said that just recently, he received calls from people who had lost dogs. He asked whether the dogs had tags and were microchipped, and the owners said they had not.
“Personal responsibility is something that we have got to preach every day,” Collins said.
He added, “I don’t think we ought to go out chasing dogs.”
Collins said that the subcommittee is continuing to work with Bellwether, the county’s administrative assistant, on hiring an animal control administrator and warden.
“We’ve got the base (for an animal control program) now set down,” he said.
“The biggest thing is a kennel – I can’t see the county being able to afford (that),” Collins said, adding that he has spoken with area veterinarians and other counties about providing that aspect of the program.
“We need everybody’s help” in establishing a program, he said, understanding that “people are going to be mad on both sides of the equation.
“This has been going on for a long time, and now it’s time to take care of it,” Collins said.
Collins made his subcommittee report after Max Payne of Pope Township voiced his concerns about loose dogs in his area.
“It’s a concern that needs to be addressed,” Collins said.


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