Losing a dog will be a big expense for owners

File photo Rocky, shown here, was a rescued dog. If he had been a stray, his owner would have paid a hefty fee to retrieve him.

File photo
Rocky, shown here, was a rescued dog. If he had been a stray, his owner would have paid a hefty fee to retrieve him.

It pays to know where your dog is, because the cost of retrieving a stray has skyrocketed. And it’s the owner who gets the bill.

There aren’t many loose canines in Cornwall, but one or two a month wind up in the Town of Woodbury Animal Shelter, which is raising its fee schedule in the New Year.

1. For a dog it receives during the work day, the shelter has raised its charge from $35 to $200.

2. For a dog that arrives after hours, the shelter is elevating its fee from $100 to $350.

And the dog owner can get socked with a penalty from the Town ($50-$100) for violating the leash law and a boarding fee of $25 a day if the dog is kept overnight.

After hearing the rate change, the Town of Cornwall investigated other options. Supervisor Richard Randazzo reported that Blooming Grove wanted $15,000 up front to accept strays. Police Chief Todd Hazard checked with Colby Kennels, and learned that police would have to take a dog to get its immunization shots before the kennels could accept it.

If a dog is tagged, the police will try to locate its owner. “If we can return a dog, we will,” Sgt. Doug Schofield said while the chief was away.

The sergeant, who works from 2 to 10 p.m., has only had to bring two dogs to Woodbury in the past year. He admits that the trip can be time-consuming. As soon as the shelter receives a dog, the attendant will “wand” it to search for an identifying microchip.

But many strays make it back to their homes without a detour to Woodbury. Sgt. Schofield says the public is helpful. Residents may return a dog on their own. And officers will have an easier time identifying a dog if an owner calls to report that it’s missing.

But if the dog does go to the shelter, the trip will be much more expensive than it was in the past.

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Ken Cashman