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Paynesville Press - October 8, 2003

Unlicensed animals may be found at city's animal shelter

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Last week, a four-month-old black Labrador puppy was the only animal housed at the city's animal shelter at the Paynesville Veterninary Clinic. The dog was found near the elementary school and was turned in at city hall by a youngster whom the dog followed.

Stray animals or animals running at large are taken to the animal shelter when either brought to city hall or collected by the police.

According to city ordinance, pet owners in Paynesville are required to license their dogs and cats and keep them confined to the resident's property, in a car, or on a leash at all times.

To be licensed, all a pet owner must show is proof of a current rabies vaccination. City license fees are $5 for a neutered animal and $10 for an unneutered animal before July 1. After July 1, the fees double.

dog in pound Residents with more than three animals must also get a kennel license for $20.

If a pet runs away, tags can be traced to an owner, and if an animal bites someone, current tags will provide assurance that the animal was rabies vaccinated.

When owners of a stray animal can't be located, it is taken to the Paynesville Veterinary Clinic, which, for a fee of $100 per animal, provides shelter services to the city.

This black lab was eager to escape the kennel at the city pound at the Paynesville Veterinary Clinic last week.

During an animal's first 10 days at the shelter, clinic and city employees attempt to find the animals owners. If the animal is tagged, or if it has a registered microchip embedded in its skin, this process can be relatively easy, said clinic employee Shelly Regnier.

Sick animals that make their way to the shelter are given emergency treatment and are kept comfortable, said Regnier. If they are wormy, the animals are treated, but they are not given expensive diagnostic tests or treatments unless an owner claims the animal.

To collect an animal from the shelter, an owner must pay any fines (there is a $50 animal-at-large administrative fine in the city), a $10 per day lodging fee to the clinic, and a license fee if the animal isn't already licensed. The animal must also have a rabies shot before it is released, if the owner does not have proof of a current vaccination.

After 10 days, if an animal's owner can't be found, the clinic begins the process of finding a new home for the animal. Usually the animal is taken to the clinic's St. Joseph office, where it is advertised for adoption. Clinic employees rely primarily on word of mouth to find homes for abandoned pets, and people in the community do a lot to help the animals find homes, said Regnier.

Adopting an animal from the clinic is free. The only charge is for a rabies shot.

Because they are usually adopted, shelter animals are rarely destroyed, only if it is mean or very ill, said Regnier. The city ordinance does allow an unclaimed animal to be euthanised.

To adopt a cat or dog or to check for a lost animal, call the Paynesville Veterinary Clinic at 320-243-4329.

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