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Impound fees could cost $150 for your dog

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POSTED February 23, 2010 1:42 a.m.
LATHROP – Lathrop pet owners can expect to double the impound fees and penalties that they are now paying for their dogs and cats or other animals.

And that’s just for the first impound for a canine pet which is going to be $40, from the current $22 fee, as approved unanimously by the City Council at their regular meeting Monday night.

For the second impound, the monetary damage goes up from $32 to $80 per dog. For the third and fourth impounds, the numbers go from $42 to $150 for each Fido pet.

The newly approved fees are intended to relieve the city’s annual $250,000 subsidy of the Animal Control Services. Neighborhood and Community Services Director Becky Enneking said that annual subsidy has been absorbed by the city through the general fund for many years. The last time animal license fees were updated by the city was 20 years ago, she told the council. That’s how long the city has been subsidizing the expenses for Animal Services, she said in response to Councilman Sonny Dhaliwal’s question.

Even if the city builds its own animal shelter facility on top of raising the fees, the city would still need to absorb $125,000 every year to maintain the service, Enneking said in response to Dhaliwal’s question whether owning a facility would make any difference.

Dhaliwal then asked, “What if we don’t subsidize?”

“You have that option,” replied acting city engineer Tom Ruark who presented the agenda item to the council.

The city’s animal control services is just one of the many programs analyzed by a consultant to see if the service-related fees charged to consumers capture 100 percent of the city’s costs in providing those services. Monday night’s discussion, however, was simply focused on the fee deficiencies in Police and Animal services.

In the Maximus study, named after the consultant that performed the service-fee analysis, it was also revealed that “the cost for services (is) so high that it would be unreasonable to pass along 100 percent of the cost to a user within a given fee,” Enneking told the council.

She added that Lathrop’s current fees are still lower than what other cities are charging, and that these cities have already increased their fees to remedy the deficiency in their fees. The city of Manteca, for example, just raised its fees for the same reason. Ditto with the city of Stockton and San Joaquin County.

All in all, the study considered the fees of 18 cities and the county.

Under the new fees for small animals, the cost of the first impound for a cat is going up from $10 to $40; from $16 to $80 for the second impound, and from $22 to $150 for the third and fourth impounds.

Impound fees for other small animals which are typically birds, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs and other pets that usually do not require sheltering services, are also going up. The new rule will also erase the discount for seniors who now have to pay $20 or half the impound fee of $40.

The city of Lathrop contracts with the city of Manteca for the use of the animal shelter or pound at Wetmore Avenue in Manteca.
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