LAKELAND, Fla.- SPCA Florida in Lakeland will soon start charging a surrendering fee. The shelter will charge a fee anytime an owner surrenders their pet or a stray is dropped off at the shelter.
"It's actually a fee that they will pay. It goes toward the animal vaccinations, deworming, flea prevention, or if it's a dog, heartworm prevention," said Shelly Richardson, Admissions Administrator.
The fee applies to all animal surrenders effective April 1, 2018.
The fee is as follows: A $25 surrender fee with an appointment for each animal up to two animals, a $50 surrender fee with an appointment for three to six animals, a $40 surrender fee for "walk up" surrenders or those without an appointment. A $15 additional fee applies to unaltered pets (does not apply to litters).
Deborah Taylor rescued a stray kitten nicknamed Easter and she took it to SPCA Florida in Lakeland on Friday morning.
"We knew we couldn't keep it because we have a lot of dogs and bunnies and a guinea pig so we decided to surrender her to SPCA," said Taylor.
Taylor thinks the fee is necessary, but worries some might reconsider brining animals to shelters if they have to pay a fee.
"A lot of people have fixed incomes. They're going to say if they can't afford it, lets just dump them," said Taylor.
Shelter officials say it roughly costs $250 to care for each dog and about $210 to care for each cat.
The shelter runs on donations and placed more than 4,000 animals last year.
SPCA Florida said many admittance shelters are now charging for all surrenders. Officials said each surrender will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
"We will not turn the animal away if it is desperate and we can help and there are no other options," said Richardson.