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City cant answer the $100 question
Are higher fees working to spur owners to fix dogs?
DOGPOUND1-6-4-10
Robin Espinosa volunteers once a week to walk the dogs at the animal shelter. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin
here are upwards of 4,200 dogs that aren’t fixed in Manteca.

Four months ago Manteca hiked the licensing fee for unneutered and unsprayed dogs from $15 to $100. The respective owners of 1,455 unfixed dogs have been sent $100 invoices.

That tidbit is included in a report being presented to the City Council Tuesday at the request of Councilwoman Debby Moorhead.

The $85 jump for licensing unfixed dogs was to encourage owners to have them neutered or spayed to avoid the birth of unwanted animals.

Moorhead wanted to find out whether Manteca’s strategy of charging $100 a year for licenses for dogs that aren’t fixed in a bid to reduce the amount of unwanted pets was working. Or, as she fears, is it simply promoting people not to register their dogs.

The staff report by Police Chief Dave Bricker who oversees the animal control division can’t answer that question without incurring significant staff time. The reason is there is no mechanism by which the Finance Department can check to see how many of the invoices were actually paid without manually researching each individual account.

The report also explains how animals are registered. If it is a new registration and not a renewal, the animals must be taken to the animal shelter on Wetmore Street in the corporation yard so a trained animal control officer can inspect the dogs to make sure the breed listed on the license is correct and whether they are fixed.

On more than one occasion, the owner of a pit bill has attempted to claim the dog of was of another breed to avoid additional requirements. The information on new animals that are registered is provided to the finance department that ultimately handles the renewals and collects money for them.

The annual registration fee for dogs that aren’t fixed recently went from $15 annually to $100 a year.

The one-year license for dogs that are spayed or neutered went from $5 to $20 to cover city costs. Since paperwork accounts for much of the cost of issuing a license, the council adopted a two-year license for $30 and a three-year license for $40. Three years is the same length of time a rabies vaccine is good.

The fees – which haven’t been adjusted for 10 years – were increased so the general fund could recover costs where legally possible.

Other dog and cat related fee increases increased earlier this year are as follows:
•Cat adoption fee went from $10 to $20.
•Cat adoption spay/neuter deposit (that is returned if the surgery is performed) went from $30 to $75.
•Dog adoption fee went from $10 to $20.
•Dog adoption spay/neuter deposit (that is returned if the surgery is performed) went from $40 to $75.
•Redemption fees for cats, goats, rabbits, birds, and other small animals went from $10 plus $2 a day on the first impound to $20 plus $2 a day, jumps from $15 on the second impound plus $2 per day to $30 plus $2 a day, and then on three or more impounds from $20 plus $2 a day to $40 plus $2 a day.
•Redemption fees for dogs from $20 plus $3 a day on the first impound to $40 plus $10 a day, jumped from $30 on the second impound plus $10 per day to $60 plus $10 a day, and then on three or more impounds from $40 plus $10 a day to $80 plus $10 a day. Unregistered dogs and out-of-town dogs have an additional fee added at redemption that went from $10 to $20.
•Lost tag replacement went from 50 cents to $10.
•The cost of surrendering a live dog at the shelter went from $20 to $25.
•The cost of surrendering a live dog that is picked up from the owner went from $42 to $75.
•Deceased dog pickup will go from $22 to $50. Deceased dogs received at shelter went from no charge to $25.
•Live cats and other small animals received at shelter went from $10 to $25.
•Live cats and small animals picked up from owner went from $25 to $50.
•Deceased cats and other small animals that are picked up went from $15 to $50.
•Deceased cats and other small animals that are received at the shelter went from no charge to $25.
•Identification chips went from $10 to $20.

In 2009, the animal shelter received 4,008 animals including 1,229 dogs and 2,467 cats.