WILSON, N.C. — The price of adopting pets in Wilson County could take a big leap. The Wilson County Board of Health wants to raise fees to $200 in an effort to control the pet population.
The Wilson County Animal Shelter takes in about 3,000 dogs and cats every year.
"It can get pretty hectic with that number of animals, having to house that number of animals," animal control supervisor Carl Utley said.
The shelter stays crowded, and like may others, has to euthanize many of the animals that end up there.
County health officials say the biggest problem is people who do not spay or neuter their pets. The health department is trying to fix that.
The board recently proposed a plan that would require people adopting pets to pay $200 up front. It currently costs $30 to adopt an animal from the county shelter.
"A system that would be incentive driven to have people get their animals spayed or neutered," said Dr. Louis Latour, Wilson County health director.
Once the procedure is done, the shelter would refund the difference between what it cost and the $200 deposit.
Opponents like Joyce Sutton say people should be required to spay and neuter pets, but does not agree with the proposal.
"They're discouraging people and I think they're upsetting people," she said, "I'm opposed to it because I think people will not go to adopt, [but] $200 is a lot of money."
Latour says the adoption rate is already low at the shelter and that the rate change would bring a long-term solution.
"Hopefully we will stem the tide of rising unwanted animals," Latour said.
Both sides agree that there needs to be a better way to empty these kennels.