Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Animal hospital will take stray dogs from Columbia
BY STEPHANIE BRADFORD, Correspondent
A new agreement between Columbia Borough and the Columbia Animal Hospital extends the housing, care and feeding of stray dogs to a period of up to five days.
The agreement was authorized at the council meeting Jan. 14.
Borough policy, passed at the Dec. 18 meeting, stipulates that dogs can be euthanized less than three days after they are picked up. The veterinary services contract allows for the possibility of euthanasia after five days, if the borough chooses to extend the time frame.
According to state law, any unlicensed dog that is unclaimed after 48 hours (hours include only those when the kennel is open) of housing may be "humanely killed or given to a humane society."
Mayor Leo Lutz reiterated the borough's desire to find volunteers to shelter or help place dogs. "We are not in the business, nor do we want to be in the business, of euthanizing animals," he said.
The time outlines are based, in part, on the cost to the borough, Norm Meiskey, borough manager, said.
By Dec. 12, 2012, the police department reported it had dealt with 45 stray dogs. The expense at the end of the year's third quarter was $10,083.65.
Columbia Animal Hospital will board and care for strays at a cost of $20 per day. Medical and surgical care will be billed at a 25 percent discount. Euthanasia will cost $40 and cremation $50.
Janell Mann, who said she has contact with Sylvia's Animal Sanctuary, questioned the new policy, the kennels at the police department (dogs can be held for the first four hours at the department) and the borough's license to have kennels.
Meiskey said, "The borough has had kennels for years." He also said state laws would be followed.
Mary Wickenheiser, a council member, said the borough needed help and information from residents. "This isn't just a one way street."
She said the borough was trying to establish a list of organizations and volunteers who could care for and help place stray dogs.
Jeanette Good asked how the borough would "let people know" about strays.
Meiskey said that disseminating information about, and placing dogs, was up to the borough, not the animal hospital.
Lutz said the borough's Facebook page was one way of getting information out to the public.
The police department is checking with other municipalities about the availability of equipment to scan for microchips. There are six common brands of canine microchips, according the website for Found Animals, a nonprofit organization that maintains a microchip registry.
After the meeting, Lutz received a list of rescue contacts including Mann, Good and several other people.
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