Baltimore County is lowering fees for adopting dogs and cats from its shelter, as well as for neutering and micro-chipping family pets.
The reduced fees are part of an ongoing overhaul of the county's Animal Services division, which has been criticized by animal welfare advocates.
Effective June 15, the price for adopting dogs will fall from $65 to $50, and cats from $50 to $40. The adoption fee covers spaying or neutering the pet, a microchip, deworming, a license and initial shots.
Spaying or neutering pets that were not adopted from the shelter will cost $20 for cats and dogs; micro-chipping a dog or cat will cost $10. The county will continue to offer periodic adoption fee discounts, as well as free pet adoptions for veterans during the week of Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
The county's animal shelter is in the northern Baltimore County community of Baldwin, which officials acknowledge is a long drive from the more populated areas of the county. A $6 million replacement shelter is under construction in Baldwin to replace the cramped shelter on the site. It is slated to open later this year.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement that a previously-announced satellite spay-neuter clinic for the eastern part of the county will be located at Merritt Point Park in Dundalk. A location hasn't been determined yet for a satellite clinic in the western part of the county, and opening dates aren't set yet for either satellite clinics.
Kamenetz also has pledged to hire additional employees to work with volunteers at the shelter and to test out a trap-neuter-return program to spay and neuter feral cats.