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City Council considers an animal pickup waiver fee for some residents

San Angelo Animal Services is working on lowering the 5,500 animal intake to 1,400.
Credit: Kami Simmons

SAN ANGELO, Texas — American Pets Alive is hoping to get a hold of animal intakes.

The City of San Angelo's Animal Services division has been tasked with lowering the number of animals they took in within a three-year period.

Animal Services is planning to meet that goal by September 2021. At a recent San Angelo City Council meeting, there were updates surrounding a pick-up fee waiver, which was discussed back in February.

This past meeting focused on waiving a fee for senior citizens and low-income residents. However, there was one hold up at the meeting.

Neighborhood and Family Services recommended in the beginning of this proposal presentation to have the fee waived for the elderly and low-income residents. The main changes were to have a $25 pickup fee only for domesticated animals.

According to Animal Services, the intake at the shelter was four times the national average for a community of this size. Animal officials said 1,400 animals should be taken in per year in comparison to 5,500 animals that were being taken in to the Pets Alive facility. On a monthly basis, Animal Services expects approximately half a dozen calls.

Morgan Chegwidden, Neighborhood Services Assistant Director, explained the proposal for who can sign for a waiver of these fees.

“Citizens have that flexibility that if they are over 65 and if they are low income as defined by our other programming, in neighborhood and family services, that the city manager may waive the $25 fee for the pickup of domestic animals,” Chegwidden said. “It’s not to make it easy to bring pets to the shelter but to make it easier for those citizens who are in need. if you’re both elderly and low income.”

Lucy Gonzales, City Council Single Member District 4, wanted to make sure those who are disabled were represented in this group, which was not considered at the time of the proposal fee waiver.

“I know people say to stop feeding them, but then the animals go to someplace else. so that’s just moving the problem,” Gonzales said. “Would that include the disabled also? I would like to have that happen. I think this is a great opportunity for us to take help in our community, especially our elderly, low income, and disabled.”

Chegwidden said the pickup fee is for all animals, dead or alive.

“There would be this opportunity that citizens qualified could have the fee waived,” Chegwidden said. “Citizens wishing to surrender their own pets. cat, dog, whatever it may be, would come in for a counseling appointment first to identify other opportunities to re-home the pet responsibly or provide some relief to that pet owner.” 

Animal Services hopes this waiver helps them get a hold of intake and decreases the current animal intake for the elderly low, income and those who are disabled.

City Council also assigned the responsibility of signing off on the waiver to the assistant director of Neighborhood and Family Services or a designee.