The director of Burke County Animal Services proposed some changes to the way the county shelter operates.
The Burke County Animal Advisory Board held a meeting on Wednesday evening and Kaitlin Settlemyre, director of Burke County Animal Services, said her department is in the process of working on a volunteer program, and is proposing a change in fees and new hours to make the shelter more adoption-friendly, she said. The animal advisory board members are appointed by county commissioners and advise commissioners on animal matters.
Settlemyre proposed the shelter being open later on Tuesdays and Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and open later on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Settlemyre also talked about adoption fees, saying the fees are a little high, especially for cats, and she hopes to bring that down. The current adoption fee is $125. She said animal services is talking to veterinarians in the area to get set spay/neuter fees for the shelter.
As for pull fees, Settlemyre said the shelter may need to implement some pull fees for rescues, saying what that may mean is charging area rescues a certain price, such as $25 per animal, or base it on what kind of procedures the animal has received at the shelter such as tests, vaccines or spay/neuter.
Alan Keller, president of Burke County Friends for Animals, is a member of the county animal advisory board and he said the county has identified there is a problem with animals. He doesn’t see why there should be any expense to any rescue to pull animals from the shelter regardless of any of the vaccines the shelter would have to give because they would give them anyway.
Keller said he believes charging pull fees would put a burden on Friends for Animals.
He said the county needs to come up with the money to vet the animals until the unwanted animal problem is solved. He said all taxpayers should share in the burden.
Keller said if they don’t pull from the shelter that’s more expense the county would have to house an animal every day.
Settlemyre said animal services is in the process of working with the county on a process to allow people to donate money to the shelter. That is not allowed at this point, she said.
Burke County Manager Bryan Steen said the board of commissioners will be the final word on the proposed fees and new hours.
During the meeting, the advisory board voted to make Debbie Hawkins its chairman and David Coffin its vice chairman.
Sharon McBrayer is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 828-432-8946.