Chattahoohee Humane Society introducing ‘varied’ pricing for adoptions

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 20, 2024

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The Chattahoochee Humane Society (CHS) is changing its adoption fees based on a varying scale per animal to help combat rising vet bills, starting July 1.

CHS Director Amber Mingin said the rates will be based on factors such as animal size, length of stay, etc.

It may also depend on whether the animal came to the shelter already neutered, which takes the financial burden off the shelter.

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However, veterinary expenses often cost more for large dogs than for smaller dogs.

“That varying pricing will hopefully attack some of the vet bills that we’re seeing a huge increase in price on,” she said.

Adoptions at the shelter have seen a jump in numbers since 2023. The shelter recently received its “no-kill” status plaque for 2023.

“We’re really striving to continue with this “no-kill” status,” Mingin said. “We think it’s important to not continue to enable the problem and to give help give people resources.”

Before that, the adoption rates were even lower.

Mingin said the shelter has already made great strides in positive outcomes so far this year.

“We have pretty much a new staff that really cares about the animals, and everyone is like all hands on deck,” she added. “Everybody is helping market them.”

The shelter has adoption events every first and third Saturday of the month.

Still, Mingin said the shelter leadership has been considering raising prices as a supplement to the veterinary costs that have been accruing.

“I never want an animal to come in and us look at them and have to determine whether we have enough money to send them to the vet or not,” Mingin said. “I want every animal to get equal care.”

The shelter has had an outbreak of Parvo on top of a feline virus spreading through the shelter. Parvo treatments can end up costing hundreds of dollars for a single dog, much less a shelter full of them.

Besides the medical emergency cases, though, Mingin said the regular vet bills are putting the shelter in the negative.

Each animal taken in by the shelter has to go to the veterinarian to be fully vaccinated.

Mingin said they also receive deworming, heartworm treatments and other minor treatments.

“All of that stuff costs around $200 [for dogs] so if we’re doing an adoption for $100, we’re losing almost $100 on each dog and about $65 on each cat,” Mingin said.

To be precise, dog vaccinations cost $200 while cat vaccinations run a bit lower at $165. And this is before being spayed and neutered.

“We know that inflation is bad. We know dog food is high, we know vet bills are high, and that’s why we want to continue to work with people like doing their payment plans,” she added.

Mingin said that the shelter operates on a strict budget, especially after employees are paid, and the shelter often relies on funding from grants and programs for much of the expenses. Last year, the shelter received a sizeable grant from the Charter Foundation for improvement projects.

Mingin said she has met with the city of Valley leadership about submitting a proposal for expansion. But part of an expansion would include being able to pay dedicated staff to run the shelter, Mingin said.

They also continue to sell t-shirts for $20 at Riverside Veterinary. Mingin said they look for any opportunities for added revenue coupled with advertising for the shelter.