By ABBY SOUZA
Going against a staff recommendation, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors will give the county humane society and other animal rescue groups a break on the cost of adopting animals from the county shelter.
Supervisors yesterday approved the Humane Society of Calaveras County's proposal to allow rescue groups, including itself and out-of-county organizations, to adopt animals for $5 each.
The current adoption fees depend on the animal's age and whether it is spayed or neutered. For example, the most expensive animal to adopt is an "unaltered" dog old enough to be fixed. This animal would cost $40, the society said.
Although the county animal control department would lose money on the agreement, the humane society's stance is that the lower prices would motivate rescue groups to adopt more animals and save them from having to be destroyed.
"Our whole basis is to get as many animals out alive as possible," said Mickey Williamson, president of the Humane Society of Calaveras County.
The humane society's recommendation includes criteria every group must meet to qualify for the lower adoption fee, such as proof of nonprofit status.
Jearl Howard, director of animal control, said he's glad to work with the humane society. However, he had a counterproposal that limited the reduced adoption fee to in-county groups only for the first year to allow animal control to work out the "kinks" with a group it is already comfortable with.
Williamson said the humane society is the only rescue group in the county, and didn't see how much could be learned by only limiting the reduced fees to the humane society.
Williamson and more than 15 audience members spoke in favor of the humane society's proposal.
After siding with them, supervisors directed staff members to work with Williamson and her volunteers to make the proposal happen.
The county must also change the ordinance that mandates spaying and neutering before adoption.