LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Following complaints from citizens saying the city of Lawton's fees to redeem a pet who's been picked up by animal control were too high, they're about to come down. The Lawton Animal Welfare committee spent months going over all the costs, and has come up with some recommendations for the city council to consider Tuesday night. Those changes also include reductions in the registration fees, as well as adoption fees. If the council approves the changes, animal welfare officials hopes the simplified and lowered costs will cut down on the number of pets they're holding.
If someone's pet got out and animal welfare picked it up they would have to pay at least $65 to get their pet back, and additional fees if the animal is unregistered with the city. The committee determined that was discouraging some from picking up their pets, causing overcrowding in the shelter. With the change, picking up your pet for the first time will be free of charge. The second time will be $20, and every time after that it will be $80.
Lawton Animal Welfare Superintendent Russell Anderson says these changes in fees have been a long time coming.
He says he wants to change the perception people have of animal welfare, and one of those views is that when you walk in you get slapped with fines.
"The ultimate goal with this and with changing a lot of these fees is going to send a message to people out there to not be afraid to pick you animal up," said Anderson.
Now, when it comes to adopting a pet from the shelter, those fees are coming down too.
"The way the adoption used to work we would charge you with the adoption fee, charge you for the spay and neuter, charge you for the rabies and you would sign waivers saying I know I'm not getting these two back that I just put up," said Anderson. "Doing it this way you have flat fees, and there is no more of that."
Under the new fee schedule, whether the animal is fixed or not, it's $50 for a dog, and $20 for a cat. Before, you would pay $80 for a fixed animal and $45 for one that is not. To license an animal that is spay or neutered is $10 one time, and for a pet that is not it's $50 a year.
Another change is upping the price of euthanization from $30 to $100, and Anderson says there is a reason for that.
"This was one of the identified things that hey, we just became the dumping ground for all the dogs," said Anderson. "They'll euthanize for 30 bucks so just take it to them, and that's not the case. We're going to charge probably 50 underneath of what a lot of the veterinarians but this is not the place to bring your animal to die. This is the place to come find a loving animal to accept into your house."
Anderson says they did add an administration and processing fee, but that because they lowered the costs of adoption and picking up your pet, it is still cheaper than the fees that are currently in place. Anderson says the next step in improving the shelter is for the committee to look at each line of animal welfare ordinances to see if there is any way they can update the city code.