Gwinnett animal shelter must wait to raise fees

The Gwinnett Police Department, which operates the shelter, wants to double the daily board fee from $5 to $10, increase the owner surrender fee from $20 to $50; and raise the fee for rabies observation and quarantine from $100 to $200 per animal.

The department said fees have never been raised and remain at or below comparable operations in the area.

Last year, staff and citizens brought 13,390 animals to the shelter. Of those, 7,850 were euthanized. The numbers were up slightly from 2008, when the unit handled13,000 animals and euthanized 7,434, statistics that draw constant fire from community activists.

"The numbers don't lie," said Charles Johnson, acting director for the Gwinnett shelter. "We stay at or near capacity year-round, and we hold on to them as long as we can."

Johnson said the shelter works with nearly 100 animal rescue organizations each year to place as many of the dogs and cats as possible. Some are difficult to place. And some, including pit bulls and others that show aggression, are almost never adopted out, he said.

Alarmed by cutbacks in the shelter's hours of service, members of the animal advisory council voted last year to explore ways to expand operation to include two weeknights and Sunday afternoon. So far, those changes have not taken place. The shelter operates from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Gwinnett County Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, who recommended the county delay the fee increases, said he wants the animal advisory council to weigh in on the matter. He also said he would like to have the shelter make more use of volunteers.

Animal shelter fees

Here is a comparison of the fees Gwinnett County is considering to increase and

what nearby counties charge for the service.

-- Gwinnett -- Cobb -- DeKalb -- Fulton

Boarding fee/day-- $5 -- $5 --$5 -- $10

Owner surrender fee -- $20 -- NA -- NA -- $35

Rabies observation fee -- $100 -- $6/day -- $15/day -- $10/day

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