Woman overwhelmed by dog impound-related fees

Posted at 6:54 PM, Dec 09, 2014

KENT COUNTY, Mich. -- Callie Keaton said her dogs Duke and Onyx ran away Saturday afternoon when they were let out for fresh air.

"This is Duke my 7-year-old and Onyx my 4 year old,” Keaton showed 'missing' flyers she made.

She said she drove all over her Grand Rapids neighborhood but couldn't find them.

Keaton said she learned that her dogs were in the Kent County Animal Shelter on Monday. That's also when she learned how much it would cost to get them back.

“Right now, it's at $474 with them working with me on a payment plan. It adds another $50 which is half now and half in 30 days is what they told me," Keaton explained.

The costs includes a license for each dog, because they weren't properly licensed. This is required by state law.

"That is totally my fault and this is a well lesson learned over $12 a piece,” she said.

She added, “I will make sure now that my dogs stay licensed now for that $12."

That's minor compared to the hundreds she'll now have to pay.

"I only have until the 11th, or they'll be put up for adoption,” Keaton said.

She said this is very hard on her.

“I've had them their entire lives. My daughter is heartbroken. She's 3 and a half,” Keaton explained.

She added, “These dogs are my family. I've had them before I even had my kids."

Lisa Laplante is the communications director for the Kent County Health Department.

"When you have a dog, you do have a state requirement of getting a dog license with that dog. That fee is $12,” LaPlante explained.

“If you do not have a dog license you are subject to citations. There's also citation for a dog running at loose. There are citations, or impound fees that are connected to us bringing in a stray,” she added.

The money helps animal control investigate dog bites and neglect cases, LaPlante explained. She said the county does its best to educate pet owners about licensing which also indicates a dog has had its vaccines.

She said the county is often asked questions by the local media about pet ownership requirements.

“There's a lot talk about what 'leash laws' are and [what’s] required for people who do have dogs. Buying or owning a dog is a huge responsibility, and people need to be responsible for their pets,” LaPlante said.