Friday, September 06, 2013
Wanna' Run a Cat House?
Williams Township Supervisor Vince Foglia was there, too. "You don't tax first, then think of ways to spend the money," he lectured Council concerning the idea of funding a county-wide shelter for stray animals. Argiung that the "no kill" philosophy of some local shelters dies more harm than good, he warned that a County-wide shelter would just "encourage people to buy kitty kats and Fido at Christmas time, knowing they can drop them off."
Then there was Diane Silviotti, who suggested the County consider boarding cats with people like her, who could always benefit from a few extra dollars.
I'm all for cat houses myself.
These folks were all sounding off about a stray animal study prepared by Dave Wolgrom of Lafayette College's Meyner Center.
Under the state dog law, police officers must pick up stray dogs and majke some sort of effort to find their owner. Because the Center for Animal Health and Welfare (CAHW) has embraced a no-kill philosophy, it is almost always at capacity and no longer has room to accept strays brought by the police. So the police get stuck with them.
In Bethlehem, stray dogs are currently transported to a shelter in Berjks County, which takes a police officer or health department employee away from their jobs for the three hour round trip.
"That's the real loss," explained Sheriff Randy Miller. He should know. In addition to being the former Commissioner of Bethlehem police, he spent 15 years as its animal control officer, getting minimum wage because "I love animals."
Bethlehem Township Dan Pancoast was there, too, supporting Scalzo.
"It is a county problem," Scalzo said of the stray problem. "It's not going to get any better."
Sheriff Miller invited everyone to visit the CAHW and see the dogs that are warehoused there. He claimed that between 70 and 90% of all dogs in a no-kill shelter are one of the four breeds commonly referred to as pit bulls. Few people are willing to take a chance on those dogs, especially if they have children.
Scalzo agreed with Miller, although he cautioned at one point that pit bulls are basically good animals that are "very motivated" and 'very strong." If they have been trained to fight, they can be friendly one moment and then just snap.
"Nobody's adopting them," Scalzo stated.
Among the possible solutions are doing nothing, building a bare bones kill shelter ($300,000) or a state of the art no-kill facility ($1.2 million per year).
Council is nowhere near making a decision on anything. Executive John Stoffa has suggested that whatever funds are sought should be via referendum.
It appears that we don't really have a stray dog problem, but as Lamont McClure observed, a pit bull problem.
Peg Ferraro was unhappy. "Once again, we learn the state has a law, but they don't give us any help." She's all for meeting with municipalities to decide on the best course of action, but suggested it might be kinder to some of these animals to euthanize them than keep them warehoused the rest of their lives.
Personal note: My grandson has a dog, and sometimes, I get to babysit her. I have not owned a dog since my kids grew up, as I live in a small apartment. I did have three parakeets. I loved them, and taught one to say, "Hi" and "Corpus Juris." But they're all in parakeet heaven.
I spend long hours away from home, but did once apply at some cat house for a cat. I had to fill out a lengthy application, and was eventually rejected as unfit. "Aren't you a disbarred lawyer?" asked some fat lady in glasses. "Why Yes, but I don't intend to have the cat draw wills." She then asked me about my past drinking, so I asked her about her plastic surgery.