Pet fees to climb: Officials point to state law as 1 reason |

Pet fees to climb: Officials point to state law as 1 reason


Grass Valley’s fur babies, an essential part of many foothills families, will now cost a bit more to maintain, as a recently enacted law requires cities to comply with a new regulation.

Senate Bill 573 went into effect the beginning of this year. It requires implanting a microchip in dogs and cats that contains pet owners’ information. This must be done before an animal can be released from an animal control agency, public or private shelter.

The bill’s author, former state Sen. Ling Ling Chang, has said, “Our pets are part of our family and it’s heartbreaking to see how many photos of lost pets are posted on social media every week.”

The cost for microchipping is $15.

“We’re looking to pass those along so that we can collect enough to continue the process,” City Manager Tim Kiser said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Other increases are in the works, as well.

The fee to turn in an unaltered dog would be $86, a rise from $36. An unaltered cat turn-in would be $50, an increase from $36. And an outdoor fee for a feral or semi-feral cat would be $45.

Then there’s the spay or neuter fee.

Neutering and spaying fees will vary. From zero to 20 pounds, a male would be $95, and a female $110. From 21 to 49 pounds, a male is $110, and a female is $125. From 50 to 79 pounds, a male is $130, and a female is $150. From 80 to 95 pounds, a male is $180, and a female is $195. Adoption is typically $149 for a dog and $85 for a cat.


Council member Bob Branstrom raised the possibility of Animal Control finding somebody’s pet on the street.

“My concern is, here’s an animal we found, we’re going to neuter it … it might not be what the owner wants,” he said.

Kiser said the law requires that if an animal comes into city custody, lost, found or turned over, and it is determined it does not have a microchip, the city has the capability to implant one, since technically the city becomes guardian and is paying for its maintenance.

“In some cases, an owner may turn in an animal, because the owner is displaced from their home or is moving to a new residence and they are unable to keep their pet in the jurisdiction in which that is occurring,” said Kiser.

“The shelter is supposed to take that animal,” he added. “But an animal doesn’t become custody of the shelter until after the sixth day. So we don’t take any action until the statutory limit runs out. If we are in possession of an animal and the owner doesn’t come, technically it is our property. But if the owner arrives by the sixth day, we’re not going to keep it from the owner.”

Pet owners sometimes find themselves with only one option — turning in a pet.

“So, we have to attempt to assess that fee so we can cover some of our costs, for the period we have the animal before it can be adopted.” said Kiser. “If someone is totally unable to pay the fee, we’re not going to refuse someone service, because it creates a situation where someone may do something irresponsible with an animal …. or, if someone turns in an animal they found running loose, they don’t have a fee. It is an owner turn-in fee.”

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at

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