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County asked for pet license fee
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Commissioners were asked last week to consider imposing a registration fee for pets in the county.

Carolyn Bowen, president of the Dawson County Humane Society, said the fee would help offset the shelter's cost to board and care for animals dropped off by the county's animal control officers.

"These funds would go to the county, earmarked to go to the shelter as additional revenue to offset the cost of processing animals collected by animal control and brought to the shelter," she said.

The license fees would be in addition to the county's contractual agreement with the shelter. Currently, the county funds $126,000 of the shelter's annual budget.

"During the past three years, this organization has developed a strong working relationship with you and [has] proven our worth as a reliable contract partner," Bowen said. "A registration fee might keep us from coming to you in the future and asking for additional funding for our shelter."

According to Bowen, pet licensing fees are common practice in neighboring counties, including Forsyth County, where the fees are collected when pet owners take their pets to the veterinarian for their annual vaccinations or exams.

"One of our board members has spoken to veterinarians in our county about helping and they have agreed to help by getting behind this effort for this registration fee or licensing fee for pets in Dawson County," she said.

Other counties also charge a higher fee for animals that are not spayed or neutered.
"That hopefully would encourage pet owners to go ahead and get their pets fixed," she said.

Planning Director David McKee, whose office oversees animal control, was directed to research the matter in anticipation of a presentation of the findings to the board at a later date.