Bailing your pooch out of the dog pound is getting dramatically more expensive in Niskayuna, with the town board's passage of local legislation on Tuesday, July 17.
Officials say the previous price tag of just $10 to retrieve a canine wasn't covering the town's cost and was far below what other area municipalities have been charging.
The new price for getting a dog back from the pound starts at $35 for the first offense and escalates to $50 for the second offense. The third time a dog is picked up in a 12-month period, its owner will be charged $70 to get the pet back from the pound.
Most of the hundreds of dogs in town never get hauled off to the pound or present a problem for their neighbors, but 27 pets were brought into the pound last year, according to statistics provided to the town board.
Most dogs are never taken to the pound in Niskayuna because we don't just pick them up unless a complaint is made or there is an issue, explained town board member Liz Orzel Kasper. "If a dog is licensed, our standard policy is to call the owner and have them pick the animal before it is ever taken to the pound.
"We are not talking about a million dollar revenue maker here, but when the dog warden or the police have to respond to a call about a dog running the streets or being disruptive, the town incurs some very real costs when they pick the animal up and we are just trying to make sure that we make back our money," Kasper said.
The hike in fees for getting back your dog is part of an overall effort to generate revenue from those using specific town services, said town board member Bill Chapman. "We have been looking at what we can do with fees in a number of areas including building permits, inspections, and really just kind of the whole scope of special services that the town provides," Chapman said Tuesday night. "We are not trying to make money on these kinds of things but we are trying to recover the costs we incur for those services.
"When you look at the dog pound, we have the expenses for dog control officers going out on the streets and maybe even some police involvement in getting the dog off the street," he added. "Even $35 is really kind of modest when you consider how much it costs the town."