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Police Chief Details Development of Kennel for Strays

On Dec. 19, Hellertown police chief Robert Shupp told borough council that stray dogs picked up in the borough will be temporarily held in a kennel near the grist mill beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

As of Jan. 1, 2012, stray dogs picked up in Hellertown will no longer be taken to the Center for Animal Health and Welfare in Williams Township.

Following , Hellertown police chief Robert Shupp announced Dec. 19 that a "canine holding facility" is being constructed near the on West Walnut Street.

The holding facility will be completed before the new year begins, and will be large enough to accommodate two dogs at a time, he said.

He added that the facility will include an outside area that's covered and an enclosed area that's heated.

"It's really nice," Shupp told borough council, adding that dogs held there will have "igloo huts" to occupy.

, and the idea was revived after .

, which has had a relationship with the Northampton County shelter for a number of years.

Among the changes were a $50 increase in the drop-off fee for dogs; a requirement that stray cats also be taken to the shelter; and a clause that would have allowed residents to drop off strays, with footing the bill.

On Dec. 19, Shupp told council he has already been approached by residents who've told him they may be interested in adopting a dog from the new canine holding facility, assuming that its owner cannot be located.

In order to help facilitate the adoption of dogs, "we're going to store them there for as long as we have to," he said.

After the meeting, Shupp explained that he also plans to transmit photos of and information about stray dogs not claimed by their owners to members of the public, and possibly local media--including Hellertown Patch. This information could also be posted on the Borough of Hellertown's website, it was noted.

g e holum December 26, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Just wondering why the SV Partnership did not address this problem since the township also has the identical problem. A common problem with the same solution. This was an eazy one to save some taxpayer dollars. I guess i don't understand the objectives of the SV Partnership but this seemed to be a "no brainer"
Jessica Schwickrath December 26, 2011 at 04:43 PM
Ok, so, what happens when there are more than 2 stray dogs found and not claimed? Where will the overflow go and are they hiring staff to take care of these dogs?
Bob Linney December 26, 2011 at 08:28 PM
I think this is a good start to a difficult problem. There are going to be a lot of "what-if scenerios" in that need addressing at first, but the problems aren't so onerous that they can't be handled as they come along. There are many animal lovers who have already stepped forward to help - please add my name to the list. And the idea of partnering with LST is an excellent suggestion. I believe WE can do this!
Bob Linney December 26, 2011 at 08:28 PM
I think this is a good start to a difficult problem. There are going to be a lot of "what-if scenerios" in that need addressing at first, but the problems aren't so onerous that they can't be handled as they come along. There are many animal lovers who have already stepped forward to help - please add my name to the list. And the idea of partnering with LST is an excellent suggestion. I believe WE can do this!
mdelp December 26, 2011 at 09:15 PM
I think this is a cop out. The center for animal health and welfare has been there and does what it can to help stay and unwanted animals. Are the animals that are found going to receive medical attention if needed and who is going to pay the bill for this? I think the people making this decision should go work in the shelter for a week to see what it is really like before the make such a selfish decision that will only hurt the animals in the end.
Jessica Schwickrath December 26, 2011 at 09:36 PM
I think it is a bad idea to wait until problems occur to find solutions. I am not sure that Shupp and counsil understand what is needed to care for stray dogs for a period of time. It's hard for people who have never worked in a shelter environment to understand the time, energy and cost that these animals take. I would assume they would have to follow the same rules that the rest of us do from the PA dog warden. There are going to be more that two stray dogs in the borough at one time or another, that's a given, and my fear is that they will resort to euthanizing if there become too many unclaimed dogs that they can't find homes for. Most stray dogs are not claimed, these dogs are strays because people don't want them anymore. Dog adoption is not as easy as you think. We just had the most incredible foster dog here at my dog daycare for three months before we were able to find him a home. Will they screen applicants before giving them a dog like The Center and other rescue organizations do? Stray dogs are well taken care of at The Center, by staff who have been doing this for years and they won't euthanize a good dog just for space. I get that the new contract proposed by The Center was a bit steep, but they are only upping the fees because it takes a lot money to properly care for these animals. I know that The Center is willing to negotiate on their proposal, and I think that it would be in the counsil's best interest to hear them out.
Jessica Schwickrath December 26, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Agreed 100%
Joan Reese-Finnen December 26, 2011 at 11:19 PM
I agree with Jessica. I volunteer at the shelter because I believe in the work they do and love animals. The cost of caring for animals is going up. Responsible dog and cat owners do not allow their pets to become strays. Dogs become homeless because people can no longer afford to care for them, have to move, or landlords do not allow them in their apartments. No dog should have to die just because it is homeless.
doglover December 26, 2011 at 11:21 PM
"we're going to store them there for as long as we have to" Store them????? We're not talking about canned fruit here folks. Who's going to take care of their medical needs? Who's going to socialize with them, exercise them, provide them with stimuli? As for publicizing in the media, do they think the Center and other rescues don't do that now? This is some novel idea? Click on the related topics for the Center and you'll see dogs posted there. I looked back as far as the beginning of the month and those dogs publicized as available for adoption are still at the Center. He's been approached by residents who "may be" interested in adopting from them? May be is never a guarantee and I've had many occasions as a volunteer where someone seemed SO interested in adopting and then never to be seen again. Sheltering is not easy and this attitude of "we'll solve the problems as they arise" is short-sighted and unrealistic. Especially when you are talking about living breathing feeling lives. I'd love those making the decisions to spend just one week volunteering at the Center. There would be a very different outlook if they actually did their homework.
Daniel Schwickrath December 26, 2011 at 11:42 PM
i love how optimistic this guy is. the facility is really nice. it has igloo huts and people lined up around the block to adopt dogs. dogs don't need anything other then a good hut, some food and water. not like you need an exercise plan or an understanding of dog behavior to find a good home. hope he likes dog warden inspections when he has 50 dogs sharing 2 heated igloo huts. this will end up costing taxpayers more then renewing the center's contracts. i wasn't expecting for my face to meet my palm today.
Jessica Schwickrath December 26, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Does anyone know if this issue is still up for discussion? Is it still on the agenda for any of the board meetings because I would LOVE to go and voice my concerns.
Josh Popichak (Editor) December 27, 2011 at 12:47 AM
Just wanted to address a couple points from above: * I don't think this subject will be on the agenda at the next council meeting (Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 7pm) but there's a time at the beginning of each meeting when anyone in attendance can speak on a "non-agenda item," so concerns can be brought up then. That said, my understanding is that the canine holding facility is the agreed-upon solution at this point. Council rejected the contract with the Center for Animal Health and Welfare earlier this month, and a plan needed to be in place for dealing with strays as of Jan. 1. * I'm not sure if this subject was discussed at the last SV Partnership meeting, as I was not able to attend. However, there was not a lot of time between when concerns about the 2012 contract with the shelter arose (in early November) and when a final decision had to be made. The COG is usually involved with discussing potential solutions to Saucon Valley-specific issues over the longer term. Perhaps they will discuss this subject in the future. Hope this helps. Josh
Bob Linney December 27, 2011 at 03:22 AM
FYI - I did volunteer at the shelter for about 2 yrs. with the 3 rooms of cats when I was in a wheelchair. A lot of the cats knew me will because they had been there for many YEARS without adoption! I may be nieve about the purpose of this dog shelter, but I thought it was just to hold dogs that had gotten loose for a matter of days until the relieved owner could retrieve their dog. The thought was that it was a short-term kennel, and nothing like the "Center's" long-term programs which are unfortunatetly needed. A BIG FYI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT IS EASY TO GET ON THE COUNCIL AGENDA. All that needs to be done is have a Hellertown resident go to Bourogh Hall. Ask to be put on the agenda and fill out a brief form. Do it ASAP and then make sure you let concerned citizens know about it and PACK the Council Chambers (Maybe use PATCH?).
Jessica Schwickrath December 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM
there in lies our concern when this short term kennel has no short term residents. we just don't want to see good dogs euthanised or turned over to kill shelters to save a buck. the simple solution above all else would be to outlaw breeding.
Jessica Schwickrath December 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM
That last comment was left by Daniel Schwickrath. Did NOT realize that Jessica was logged on ;)

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