BREAKING NEWS

Polk County

SPCA now charging fee for surrendering animals

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) - SPCA Florida in Lakeland will now charge people fees for surrendered animals.

"I understand why they need to collect the fee to give medical attention and feed the animals, house the animals," Deborah Taylor told WFLA Friday as she surrendered a kitten she found the night before in a drainage ditch. "Because I have a lot of dogs, I can’t keep it. We’ve been trying to feed it, and we’re just trying to save its life."

"We are trying to find unique and better ways to reduce our financial loss," SPCA Florida Marketing Director Paula Creamer told WFLA.

The fee is $25 per animal by appointment, for up to two animals. The fee is $40 for surrenders without an appointment.

The fee is $50 for three to six animals by appointment. The same fee applies to people who repeatedly bring pets for surrender.

WFLA found that other agencies in the bay area already charge, including SPCA Tampa Bay. 

SPCA Tampa Bay fees:

Owner Surrender (In County): $35
Owner Surrender (Out of County): $45
Owner Surrender (rats/mice/gerbils/hamsters/reptiles): $10
Owner Surrender Litter (In County): $45
Owner Surrender Litter (Out of County): $55

"We need people to understand that the care of a surrendered cat costs an average of $210 and the care for a dog averages $250," Creamer said. "We vaccinate them, if they need to be spayed or neutered, they might need heartworm treatment. They may have medical conditions that need to be looked after."

Taylor was fine with paying that fee knowing it would likely save the kitten's life. In fact, she told WFLA she gave up birthday money she planned to use to get pampered to help the kitten.

"I could tell that it really wanted to live, and I can’t just leave it on the side of the road," she said.

But Taylor says she's worried that others will not do the same.

"So many people like me that may be on disability, if they think it’s a hard, in stone - you know you have to pay in order to surrender an animal - then how many are going to be tempted to dump them on the side of the road like this one?"

Animals can also be surrendered to Polk County Animal Control. The agency confirms they do not charge a fee.

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