By Alyssa Schnugg
Mississippi Critterz, the organization that runs and manages the animal shelter for Oxford and Lafayette County, has recently adopted a new policy that will prevent people from dropping off dozens of dogs and cats during the year.
According to shelter director Jenn Petermann, there are a handful of people who have dropped off 30, 40 and even 50 animals since MS Critterz took over the management of the shelter last year.
While Petermann said she appreciates anyone who is looking out for stray animals by keeping them from wandering the streets, the shelter suspects most of the animals are coming from outside of Lafayette County and said it’s putting a burden on taxpayers and the shelter.
“We are here to take care of the animals,” she told Hottytoddy.com Thursday. “But just like school districts, you can’t just send a child to a school in another county because they aren’t paying taxes there. Taxpayers here in Oxford and Lafayette County are paying taxes to help handle the stray population here.”
The new policy states that “each address or residence in the county (outside the city of Oxford corporate limits) is limited to three single animals, or one common litter – including the mother – drop-offs per the calendar year.”
The new policy was written into the contract that the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved last week. The county pays $92,000 a year to the shelter. The city of Oxford has a separate contract with MS Critterz and pays $135,000 a year for running the shelter and providing animal control services. The shelter does not provide animal control services for the county since there is no leash law.
The new policy is not included in the city’s contract.
“We don’t really see this happening with people living inside the city,” Petermann said.
Last October, when MS Critterz took over the shelter from the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society, both the city and county instructed the shelter to only take stray and unwanted animals from people living in Oxford or Lafayette County. For years, the shelter took in pets from several nearby counties; however, those counties did not provide any funding to the shelter.
The shelter started to require anyone dropping an animal off to provide identification to prove they reside in Oxford or Lafayette County. The Board of Supervisors examines those reports each month and noticed a few people who were bringing in a large number of animals throughout the year.
Petermann said it costs about $93 to care for each animal that comes into the shelter, which includes shots, food and general care.
“If someone wants to drop off more than three, or one litter, then they can choose to pay $93 per animal,” she said.