On Tuesday, August 8, at the Southampton Town Board Meeting, the Town Board voted unanimously on legislation put forth by Councilwoman Cyndi McNamara associated with creating an animal welfare fund. The legislation would update definitions, update fines, and add an animal welfare surcharge to court fees for violators of the portion of the Town Code that apply to animal activities. Animal Welfare Fees collected in justice court related to animal welfare code violations would be utilized for animal welfare activities including but not limited to administering emergency veterinary care to sick and injured animals, funding spay and neuter programs for feral cat colonies, and providing housing to large breed animals that are not able to be housed by animal shelters.
Ryan Murphy, Town Code Compliance & Emergency Management Administrator, stated, “We’ve doubled the cost for emergency veterinary care in the past two years. Lots of the cases are strays and ferals that have injuries and we end up encumbering that cost.”
“I asked for the animal welfare fund to be set up because we do add various surcharges to violations,” stated Councilwoman McNamara. “Why use the fees collected from animal code violations to fund blight mitigation or water quality projects when we could use them to directly impact animal welfare issues, especially for emergency care, which animal control currently provides at a direct cost to the taxpayers?”