Cherokee animal shelter to charge for abandoned pets - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Cherokee animal shelter to charge for abandoned pets

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -

People who drop off their animals at the Cherokee County Animal Shelter will  soon have to pay a fee.

Susan Garcia, the director of the shelter,  says the new fee will not only help the shelter with the expense, it might make pet owners think twice before they abandon their animals.

More than half of the pets dropped off at the shelter aren't strays or lost pets, they're from owners who can no longer care for the animals, Garcia said.

"They just can't take care of their pet anymore," said Garcia.

In the first nine months of this year, more than 1,800 pets have been turned in. It's a big expense for the shelter, so starting October 1, anyone who drops off a pet will have to pay a surrender fee of $25.

"You bring it here so that at least it has a chance of finding a home and be taken care of, that you participate in that by being responsible for at least $25 dollars worth of its care," said Garcia.

County officials say the new fee will now help offset some of the food and medical costs for the pets.

Pet owners at a local dog park said that the shelter shouldn't bear the entire cost, but they worry that the fee could discourage some pet owners from bringing their animal to the shelter.
 
"The people that are abandoning their dogs do not have the money in the first place. So if they're going to drop off the dogs, they don't want to pay a fee," said Paula Walters.

Garcia says similar fees are in place at shelters across the country.

In the metro area, Gwinnett already has a surrender fee. When Gwinnett first started the program, Garcia said that they did not see an increase in the number of pets abandoned on the streets.

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