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Borough Likely to Sever Agreement with Animal Shelter

Citing an increase in fees, Hellertown Borough Council members said they are unlikely to renew their contract with the Center for Animal Health and Welfare beyond the end of this year.

Stray cats and dogs from Hellertown may no longer have a place at the Center for Animal Health and Welfare in Williams Township after Dec. 31.

At a special budget meeting Nov. 3, Hellertown Borough Council members learned that the animal shelter with which it currently has an agreement plans to increase the pet drop-off fee it charges municipalities, as well as impose other restrictions, starting next year.

The fee for the borough to drop off a stray dog will increase to $150 and the borough will no longer have the option to drop off only dogs, council members were told. In addition, members of the public will be able to drop off stray pets as part of an arrangement whereby their respective municipalities of residence will be charged, they learned.

Hellertown Police Chief Robert Shupp said he has contacted other local municipalities that currently have agreements with the shelter, only to find out that they are also considering opting out of their respective agreements.

Shupp suggested that the borough contract with a different animal shelter in the area, or rely upon its animal control officer to capture and hold stray pets until their owners are located. In instances in which a pet has to be held for more than a few hours, a fee could be charged to the pet owner, he added.

Following a brief discussion, Borough Council President Phil Weber said he felt that "everybody's in agreement" that the borough's contract with the center should not be renewed.

Jessica G. November 07, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Just some questions- is the Borough only charged when animals are dropped off or are they also charged a set amount? How often are animals dropped off at the shelter (and then how many are quickly claimed by owners?). I've only noticed a stray dog in Hellertown before, but I've seen lots of cats (if I'm reading this right cats were not covered but I may have misread). Hopefully they will be able to work out another deal with a local shelter.
Josh Popichak (Editor) November 07, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Hi Jessica, I think I can answer some of your questions (sorry for not providing more background info. in the story). Until a couple years ago the borough also took stray cats to the shelter, but it became cost prohibitive for them to do so. So they opted out of taking cats, but under the new guidelines they would no longer be able to do that. That's one thing. I think the per dog fee has been something like $100 and so far this year there have been maybe a dozen picked up in the borough and taken to the shelter. Sometimes they're claimed by their owners within a few hours...but the fee assessed to the municipality is the same regardless (that's my understanding). It does sound like other options exist, so no matter what, I think there will be a plan in place for dealing with stray pets in town come the end of the year. Josh
Jessica G. November 07, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Thanks for the extra info Josh!
Rebecca Ferencin Rosenberger November 08, 2011 at 03:23 AM
About 6 weeks ago we found a stray dog in our neighborhood and called Animal Control for Lower Saucon. They did respond and were very helpful, however they called the Center twice and were told that they were not taking dogs over 25 lbs that week. I also called on my own just to see if I could get a vet to see her and get some basic shots even if I paid for them, but was hoping for a reduced fee. No such luck with this either. In the end, the story had a happy ending since our family fell in love with the dog and decided to add her to our home. However I would support having a good relationship with a shelter in the area that we knew we could go to if needed.

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