by the Columbia Humane Society
February 25th, 2015
Columbia County, Oregon–The Columbia Humane Society (CHS) currently holds a contract with Columbia County Dog Control (CCDC) that states that CHS agrees to “retain any county impounded animal for a minimum of 5 days unless a longer period is required by the court order and/or by the County. The animal shall be considered released for adoption at the expiration of the 5 day retention period, unless the County notifies CHS that a longer retention is necessary . Following the retention period, a County-impounded animal shall remain under the guardianship of the County until the animal is adopted or otherwise released or transferred by the county.” Several procedures have been developed over the past few years to ensure that CHS is always acting in accordance with the law, as well as with the contract we currently hold with CCDC, but CHS has always gone above and beyond that contract when it comes to housing and re-homing stray animals for the County. All efforts are put forth in finding and working with owners when reuniting them with their pets: we place animals that have been brought to the shelter on Facebook, many times the staff actually recognizes the dogs as having been in the shelter and will make contact with owners we have had previous contact with. and keep logs of pets that are currently lost in Columbia County in a central data management system.
Another piece to the contract that CHS holds with CCDC states “CHS shall collect and retain fees for the impound, sheltering, care and treatment of County-impounded animals. Such fees are for CHS use at its sole discretion. CHS may also, at its sole discretion, waive any fees for the services it provides for County-impounded animals.” Currently, CHS charges an impound fee of $30.00. If an animal spends the night at the shelter, we charge $15.00 a day for boarding, payable by the owner on pick-up. We do recognize the financial limitations of pet owners as well as the needs of the pets, and take these factors into consideration when charging these fees. In many cases, we never recover the full fees that people owe to get their animals out of impound; in fact, we are lucky if we even receive half of the fees assessed.
While CHS is a non-profit organization, we still have operational costs. We are under the same obligation as any business to pay our utilities, our employees, insurance costs, vehicle costs and other incidentals.When we try to recover fees from owners whose dogs have been brought in as strays, and from our adopters when they pick a new family member, it is to cover the cost of our doors staying open. While we do receive donations and grants, many of them cannot be applied to these costs, as they are earmarked for particular programs and expenses.
As always, we would love to hear from the Columbia County public about ways that you feel we could better serve. Please keep an eye out for our upcoming open forum, where the board members and shelter staff will answer any questions we can. We would love to have input from the community on how you would like to see your local animal shelter run.