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.