Lower Saucon Township has announced that it is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Township Dog Control Officer.
The position was discussed at council's Jan. 16 meeting, after Township Manager Jack Cahalan explained that Lower Saucon's relationship with the Center for Animal Health and Welfare--where stray dogs have been accepted for years--is tenuous.
"This is a problem I guess all over Pennsylvania," Cahalan said. "The biggest problem is sheltering. There just (are) not enough facilities."
Cahalan said the Center continues to have space issues, meaning that in some cases it is unable to accept stray dogs from municipalities with whom it has contracts.
Before the township can attempt to drop off an animal at the Center--which is located in Williams Township--it has the responsiblity of caring for the dog for a period of 48 hours.
During that time, efforts are made to identify the lost canine's owner.
After Cahalan said "it looks like...at some point during the year, that the center may not be a viable option for us," council approved his recommendation to advertise for the position of on-call dog control officer.
He explained that creating this position could help to alleviate some of the pressure that is now being felt by township staff and police.
"If the police did pick up a stray dog, (the dog control officer) would come and get the animal," Cahalan said.
At that point, it would be the officer's reponsibility to care for the dog throughout the 48-hour waiting period, or until a reunification occurs.
Another option that's potentially under consideration is an agreement with the Borough of Hellertown, which has already established its own kennel for strays.
A detailed job description for the 24/7, "as needed" position is currently posted on the Lower Saucon Township website.
The dog control officer would be considered an at-will, independent contractor by the township, and would receive an annual stipend, as well as a vehicle (or a stipend in lieu of a vehicle), plus equipment and supplies.
Assuming that applications are submitted, the creation of the position must still be approved by township council.