By LIBBY CUDMORE • for www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – One more reason to keep your dog on a leash.
At their meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2 Common Council updated the “Animals” ordinance in the local law to make it easier to change fee schedules for impounded animals.
“Fees change from year to year,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “By removing the fees from the ordinance, we’re not having to change the law every time we renegotiate the impoundment fees. The new fees can be set by Common Council resolution.”
The updated law, which passed with five votes – Paul Van der Sommen, First Ward, John Rafter, Seventh Ward, and Joe Ficano, Eighth Ward, were absent – now reads “Impoundment and boarding fees shall be set from time to time by the Common Council of Oneonta.”
Parking Enforcement Officer Timothy Couzzo receives a stipend to serve as Animal Control Officer when stray dogs are reported.
The City has an agreement with the Susquehanna Animal Shelter to take dogs that have been stored at the City’s facility on Silas Lane after two days. After three days in the shelter, the dogs are put up for adoption.
Common Council increased the incoming fee for dogs transferred to the shelter from $10 to $20, increased an additional $10 each time the dog is impounded over 12-month period. Additionally, the shelter charges a processing fee of $30, plus a $30-a-night boarding fee.
The impound fee is charged by the shelter and must be paid when the dog is reclaimed, but that $20 is returned to the city, said Stacie Haynes, Executive Director.
This quarter, five dogs have been impounded from the City; all five were claimed. And of the six dogs rescued in Laurens in May, the five pitbull puppies have since been adopted. The mother remains at the shelter.
And although cats, ferrets and “other domesticated animals” are listed in the law, Oneonta does not have anyone on staff licensed to handle these animals.
“Stray cats are a big issue in the city,” said Council Member David Rissberger, Third Ward. “It’s something we need to address in the future.”