Costly pet adoptions: Why are some fees so high?

BOCA RATON, Fla. - At the Tri-County Humane Society dogs make some noise to get your attention - but their adoption fees might be what catches your eye. The cost at the Tri-County Humane Society ranges from $35 to $265. And visitors say those prices are on the lower end compared with other shelters.

"I'd think if you were going to a pet store I could see that, but here it surprises me a bit," says Sharon Kenner of Boca Raton.
 
The facility relies on the hefty adoption fees to stay open as private donations dry up.
 
"Our donations were down 60% from January to now. We did the numbers yesterday and it's 60% overall, so the adoption fees are fueling us altogether," says Amanda Chussler of the Tri-County Humane Society.
 
Chussler showed us the books to prove just how tight money is.
 
Total expenses for 2011 topped $1 million, they were able to raise close to that with contribution and fundraising dollars. But without the adoption fees they wouldn't be able to break even.
 
In 2010, they were in the red, and depended on reserves to cover expenses.
 
Adoption fees for puppies help the facility cover expenses because they're in high demand. Fees collected from these young poodle-mix pups will go a long way.
 
"That one dog will put 4-5 dogs through the spay, neuter and vaccine process just for one adoption fee," says Chussler.
 
"I know it costs lots to keep the facility open and they're great here, but they have to meet their costs and that's a real problem," says Rob Kenner of Boca Raton.
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