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Council asks for more data on dog licensing fees

Article Date: 
21 March, 2014 (All day)

The county’s animal control officer would like to increase fees, something the Morgan County Council is not willing to do without more research.
Paula Harrington said Morgan’s animal control fee schedule is low compared to those in neighboring counties such as Davis and Salt Lake.  License fees in those counties are between $35 and $40 for unaltered animals, and between $15 and $20 for altered animals.  
Morgan’s is currently $16 and $10 and Harrington would like to increase them to $10 and $25 in 2015.  Morgan County’s rate has remained unchanged for the last decade, she said.
In 2013, Harrington collected $3,200 in fees.  In the first three months of 2014, she has collected $5,600.
“That is a huge increase so far this year,” she said, predicting a 2014 dog licensing total of $10,000.  “I am cracking the whip.”
Harrington said the increase in funds is essential to her overall goal of helping more animals.  She said the county has not been “that involved in pet adoption before” and she would rather find homes for animals than have them euthanized.  
Harrington is picking up and finding homes for more animals lately, and the increased fees would help with costs to spade, neuter, microchip and vaccinate the animals before they are adopted out.  As a veterinarian technician, Harrington saves money microchipping animals herself.
Morgan County Councilman Ned Mecham said adoption fees should pay for all related expenses, and an increase in the county’s animal control fee schedule may not be needed.
“If we are doing things the county hasn’t done in the past, those fees should cover those expenses,” Mecham said.  “Don’t blanket raise everything.”
“This is a blanket approach where we are looking for a specific approach,” Councilman Lyle Nelson said.  
Councilwoman Tina Kelley wants more information regarding if current fees plus the money Morgan City pitches in for animal control services even covers Harrington’s full-time salary.  
“I am not sure the taxpayers should pick up the lion’s share,” Councilman Robert Kilmer said.  
Harrington would also like to increase kennel licensing fees. Other counties license cats, but that is not something Harrington is ready to do yet, she said.
The council asked Harrington to return with more data in October, before the council’s regular budget hearings.