Mount Joy Twp. revises dog policy
BY MELISSA EBY, Correspondent
Canine guests of Mount Joy Township will have new lodgings for the 2013 year.
The township's contract with Playful Pups Retreat in Elizabethtown will expire on Feb. 28 and will not be renewed by the shelter.
"They will stop offering that service" because of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or the SPCA, opening at a temporary location on Broad Street in Lancaster city, said township engineer Steve Gault. "It is their goal to address the issue of stray dogs."
Supervisors agreed Jan. 12 to enter into a contract the SPCA of Lancaster to address the issue of stray dogs.
SPCA will charge the township $300 per dog and also will charge the owner $100 to reclaim their dog.
According to the proposed agreement, the township will pay SPCA for the services of boarding and housing stray dogs the fee of $7,200 in two payments, the first to be paid on Feb. 1, and the second on June 1. The township also will pay a one-time fee of $500.
The $7,200 is based on the 24 stray dogs picked up in the township in 2012 and housed by Playful Pups, which is $300 per dog. The township had previously been charged $25 per day per dog to be housed at Playful Pups.
The township also will be charged a $25 pick-up fee per dog by the SPCA.
The shelter will credit the township for the 2014 year if the number of stray dogs for 2013 is less than the 24 that were picked up in 2012.
Dog owners may be required to reimburse the township all of the $300 fee paid to the shelter, the $100 pick up fee as well as a $50 fine from the police department for violation of the dog law.
These fees may be a deterrent to people from letting their dogs run loose in the first place, Gault said.
"The (potential) $400 fees may deter me from picking up my dog," supervisor Gerald Cole said.
The reimbursement charged to the dog owner may be reduced based on the number of days the dog is held at the shelter, Gault said.
Northwest Regional Police Chief Mark Mayberry said 24 dogs were taken to the shelter last year, and 17 were picked up by their owners.
The police station will hold dogs up to 4 hours while efforts are made to locate owners.
Police will check for the dogs' tags or chip and only take them to the shelter if no information is found to locate the owner, Mayberry said.
The $300 is a flat fee for no matter how long the dog is held at the shelter, however, the $7,200 charge based on 24 dogs from 2012 may be modified because out of those 24 dogs more than half were picked up by the owner.
A plan will be presented to supervisors at their meeting on Feb. 18 regarding what reimbursement will be required from dog owners to the township.