CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Some would-be pets may have a better chance to be adopted this week because of action taken by the City Council on Monday.
The city's adoption fee at the Animal Control Division is $90 to $100, depending on the size of the animal. But for people who want to adopt a pet from the animal shelter but can't afford that much money, the city had helped with money from a special fund.
City Manager Janice Casteel said that fund is empty.
"The city had funds in the past to supplement the fee," Casteel said. "That fee will be going back from the $50 to the $90 or $100 it was before [the supplement]," she said.
The supplement fund, she said, came from the refundable $25 spay or neuter fee that people did not claim.
"That money accumulated in an account and the only thing it could be used for was spay and neuter, to supplement that cost," Casteel said. "So it's been used for its correct purpose."
But adopters thought the original fee would not be in effect until July 1, said Betti Gravelle, a member of the Animal Shelter Advisory Board.
"We had a long line of adopters today to get there and be told it [the fee] had doubled," Gravelle said.
Offering a lower fee, she said, means the difference between adoption and euthanasia for many animals.
"It can be the difference between someone walking out with one kitten instead of two," she said.
A motion by Councilman Bill Estes to continue supplementing the fee the rest of the week, until July 1, the new fiscal year, unanimously was approved.
In the meantime, Councilman Richard Banks said, the city should appeal to private donors to rebuild the fund. Banks recalled a plan by the late author Bill Brewer for a fundraising campaign for a new, state-of-the art shelter.
Banks said he also is interested in an idea raised by Gravelle to establish a menu of adoption fees on a list of local veterinarians.
Council members said they want to know fees of other area shelters before taking further action.
Contact Randall Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-314-1029.