Vernon mulls raising cat adoption fee

Dec 12 2018 | 11:11 AM

VERNON — The Vernon Town Council met on Monday night to discuss the possibility of increasing the adoption fee for cats and kittens from the Vernon Animal Control Center located on Church Street.
Currently the cost to adopt a cat or kitten from the VACC is only $10, but that does not include spay/neutering, or any vaccinations, like the rabies vaccine.
Lieutenant Keith Kimkowski of the Vernon Police who was assigned to oversee the VACC gave a brief report to the council proposing raising the adoption fee for cats and kittens to $90.
“It’s a lot of money,” Kimkowski admitted to the price difference, but noted that by increasing the adoption fee, the VACC can offer pets that are fully vetted, meaning all their shots and a check-up by a veterinarian, and spayed or neutered.
According to Kimkowski, the VACC adopts out anywhere between 60-100 cats or kittens a year, with almost all being not spayed or unneutered.
“One of my goals,” Kimkowski said, “is to have every animal that leaves that shelter spayed or neutered.”
“We create a cycle,” Kimkowski explained. “We give an irresponsible person a kitten, tell them to get it fixed, and they don’t. They (the new owner) lets Fluffy outside, and they reproduce, and those kittens now come back to the shelter (the VACC).”
A cat can average two litters a year, with 3-5 kittens per litter.
Kimkowski noted that there is no way to track down, or keep tabs on owners to insure they get their cat spayed or neutered. Also, since the VACC is a government-run institution, it cannot take deposits. For example, the West Milford Animal Shelter charges a $50 deposit, refundable upon proof of Spay/Neutering. The West Milford Animal Shelter is a non-profit organization, which is separate from the Township animal control.
Some New Jersey Townships animal control and adoption centers partner with various non-profit organizations, allowing them to seek donations as well. VACC does not partner with any non-profit organizations at this time, something Kimkowski aims to fix.
Councilmember Sandra Ooms asked about adopting pets that are too young to be fixed.
“Will they (the new owners) be bringing them back to the shelter?” Ooms asked.
“Absolutely not.” Kimkowski asserted. “We will not adopt them out until they are of age to be spayed/neutered.”
A kitten can be fixed as young as 8 weeks old, the same age it is considered safe to be removed from its’ mother and adopted out.
While $90 for a cat may seem like a big expense, it’s actually less than what some other shelters in the area charge for a fully vetted, spayed and neutered feline.
Kimkowski noted that other animal shelters in the area charge anywhere from $100-$150 for a fully vetted and fixed kitten.
Wantage charges $35, but only a rabies vaccine is included.
Council President Jean Murphy assured the public that the council will discuss the issue early next year.