Kerr County is responding to protesting community members demanding a fair adoption price for the county's former Animal Care Services ambassador dog.
Reagan Givens, Kerr. County ACS manager said information floating around on social media regarding Nelson is essentially 'fake news' and a 'scam' in a letter obtained by KHOU sister station KENS 5 on Monday.
Kerrville residents took to social media over the weekend in an effort to 'Free Nelson', who has a hefty adoption price tag of $2,306.54.
The chocolate bully breed mix is so expensive to adopt because of a pricey veterinarian bill he racked up after being hit by a car. The accident happened while the dog was serving as the Kerr County Animal Services ambassador, according to a letter released on December 8 also by Givens.
Mike Taylor with Edge Rock Radio detailed the alleged series of events leading up to Nelson's unfortunate predicament in a video posted to Facebook on Saturday.
A post on the 'Free Nelson' Facebook page said the dog should not be held hostage with a heavy price tag.
As an ambassador for the county's animal services, Nelson was used at events and to visit different elementary schools across the community and promote animal health initiatives.
With Kerr County Animal Services being a kill shelter, many residents expressed concerns about Nelson being euthanized.
The shelter took to social media Saturday to clear the air, saying Nelson is alive and well.
Kerr County Commissioner Bob Reeves told the Daily Times, "There was never any intention of euthanizing Nelson,".
Susan Hunter, community member and animal lover, started the 'Free Nelson' Facebook page to provide updates on Nelson's situation and organize with other residents who say they feel ignored by the county.
"I don't think the burden should fall on the taxpayer or a potential adopter," Hunter said.
The shelter said the $2,300 price tag is an effort to 'recuperate taxpayers money' since the county paid for his care while he was technically the property of Kerr County.
"If this is an effort to recoup taxpayer money, how should taxpayers expect their refund?" Hunter asked.
Hunter, the brains behind the Free Nelson movement, also demands answers to the following questions from Kerr County.
- Are high veterinary bills routinely recouped on animals or are they adopted out at a standard fee?
- The Facebook page of KCAS originally stated that fee was based on recouping vet bills, and the latest email says he is an 'asset who cannot be adopted in a standard fashion'. Who decided this was his worth and why, and which statement is the correct?
- The median income in Kerr County is $43,810 and after taxes is $35,913. Why do they think a price approaching a months wages here is reasonable?
The county says they're meeting after New Years to discuss the next steps in Nelson's adoption.