High cost of impoundment fees has local pet owner warning others

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local dog owner is warning others about the high cost of reclaiming your pet if it runs away and is impounded at a shelter.

Ollie, a 4-year-old boxer, ran away from an alleyway on July 22. He was found by a Rensselaer police officer, who brought the dog to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.

Ollie’s owner, Ashley Jude, tried to pick him up the same day but was turned away because her dog was unlicensed.

New York State law states: “All dogs 4-months-old and older must be licensed and have their rabies shot.” When a dog is being picked up after it is impounded, the owner must provide proof of a license and rabies shot in order to claim ownership again.

“These laws are in place to try and anticipate public protection,” Assemblyman John McDonald said. “The last thing we want is a family pet being bitten by a rabid raccoon who then becomes sick and starts to take out aggression on a child.”

For Jude, her impoundment fee was $350. She also had to pay $100 for Ollie not being licensed, $20 to get the license, and other fees. MHHS CEO Brad Shear said every municipality must charge an impoundment fee whether the owner has the dog licensed or not.

“None of those fines or fees come to us,” he said. “Those are all paid to the municipality, and each municipality has the ability to charge what they like.”

McDonald said the total cost the owner pays is dependent on several factors, including how many days an owner waits to pick up their dog.

After spending a total of $520, Jude said she was happy to get her dog back. But she’s also urging legislators to make a change in lowering the fees associated with impoundment.

“I don’t know if it’s the senate that would be able to pass something that makes it a lower cost or even if you get a one-time free pass,” she said.

The owner of any dog impounded by the city of Rensselaer is given five business days to claim their dog as long as they have the proper paperwork. After five days, the fees go up.

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