INFORMATION REGARDING RECLAIM FEES AT MUNICIPAL SHELTERS
In the event your pet is lost and either a kind finder or Animal Control picks him up and takes him to a municipal shelter, you will be charged a reclaim fee to get your pet released. Each shelter operates differently, but all have expenses related to caring for your pet while they are there. These expenses are boarding and food for number of days they are resident there, sometimes intake vaccinations, deworming, possibly medical treatment, license cost, etc. Sometimes an additional fee is charged if the pet is not altered as unaltered pets roaming at large are not only a safety hazard but further adds to the overpopulation problem that plagues our area. These are costs that must be applied somewhere, and that somewhere is the pet’s owner.
Again, each shelter has different policies and some may be negotiable. Remember, a municipal shelter does not want to keep your pet. They want your pet to be back home with you just as much as you want him home. If you find your pet at a shelter but are having a hard time with the reclaim fee, ask to speak to the Director to see if they are able to help you. If it comes to that, you would be wise to be polite in asking for what is essentially a favor. No good ever comes from making a scene, being a public nuisance, or criticizing a shelter on social media. They have, after all, cared for your pet in your absence and should be thanked for doing so.
Some shelters have an active media presence, listing their “stray holds” in an effort to help owners locate their lost pets. While this is an enormous help, we cannot rely on someone else to do our job for us. It is our responsibility as our pet’s owner to go – in person – to municipal shelters looking for our lost pets. Often a shelter is understaffed and overworked and it’s unfair to expect them to notify you if your pet shows up there.
If your pet becomes lost, remember that they only have you, potential adopters or rescue partners to pull them to safety. For this reason you owe it to them to not only keep them safe but be proactive if the worst does happen by having them implanted with a microchip (with current information), and always keeping a collar with a tag bearing your phone number on it around their neck. These simple things – so easy and inexpensive – would result in countless animals finding their way back to their loving homes.
This information was provided to us by our friends at The City of Mobile Animal Shelter, Mobile County Animal Shelter, and the Saraland Animal Shelter. THANK YOU!