Missouri City City Council members convened Monday to authorize a new mission statement and fees for its Animal Services Division.
The new mission statement, meant to emphasize the city's goal to provide care for animals in the shelter, includes additional clauses regarding the city’s resolutions to reunite lost pets with owners; to provide spay, neuter and heartworm testing services to animals prior to adoption; and to partner and train with outside agencies, rescue groups and volunteers to promote adoption and reduce euthanasia rates.
Council members also moved to increase adoption and registration fees.
Currently, the city charges a flat fee of $15 for each cat or dog adopted, according to city documents. The updated fee schedule increases the rate to $85 and $70 for dogs and cats, respectively.
Additionally, pet owners must now pay an annual fee of $10 and $20 for sterilized and non-sterilized animals, respectively, to register them with the city—after which owners will receive a collar tag to help identify animals, Public Works Director Shashi Kumar said. The previous annual fee was $2 and $5.
These new rates are the result of benchmarking and consulting with animal services from neighboring municipalities and are compatible with the services offered by staff, Kumar said.
“The core purpose is two [objectives],” Kumar said. “One is we’re trying to provide an enhanced level of care and the second thing is to be fiscally responsible.”
Because volunteers are no longer be paying for surgeries, veterinary bills and vaccinations, the city is facing rising expenditures, said Cory Stottlemyer, Missouri City’s media relations specialist.
“If we’re trying to enhance the quality of care and our services at the animal shelter, we can’t keep shortcutting our fees,” Council Member Yolanda Ford said. “If that’s our goal, then the only way we’re going to do that is by increasing fees to be able to subsidize it.”
Mayor Allen Owen voted against the new fee schedule because he said it would discourage owners from registering their pets—despite it being mandated by city ordinance—making it harder for the city to track animals and reunite them with owners, he said.
The rate increase passed with a city council vote of 6-to-1.