SANATOGA PA – Stray dogs, feral cats, bewildered deer, animal bites, and the occasional skunk in the middle of the road: Lower Pottsgrove police annually receive about 200 calls involving animals, Chief Michael Foltz told the Board of Commissioners on Monday (Aug. 6, 2012). His officers lack the time, and in some cases the expertise, to deal with many of them, he said.
So Foltz has proposed retaining a local contractor as the township’s designated animal control officer, a position that has been vacant for several years. Depending on how the contract is written, it could cost about $4,000 annually.
That’s significantly cheaper than having officers handle those calls, the chief noted, and it also frees them for more pressing duties. Commissioners generally agreed, and they encouraged Foltz and Solicitor R. Kurtz Holloway to pursue the idea, but were cautious too.
“I agree that it’s important, and we should take it under advisement,” board President Jonathan Spadt said. “I just don’t want us to pay for calls to chase a sparrow out of the cardinal feeder.”
Currently, the township relies in part on the services of the SPCA of Montgomery County, with facilities in Perkiomen, Conshohocken and Abington, to pick up, transport and temporarily shelter stray animals. At times when neither the agency or police can respond, however, Foltz candidly acknowledged callers must deal with a problem themselves.
At least one contractor and possibly a second, both of whom are said to have experience in animal control roles, are available in the area, Foltz said. Discussions with one have raised concerns regarding liability and vehicle insurance, but Holloway indicated they could be overcome.
Before they considered such an agreement, commissioners said, they would want assurance of the contractor’s abilities, availability, specific duties, and insurance coverage. No immediate action was taken.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ meeting of Aug. 6):
- Woof, Meow, Hiss! Township Looking At Animal Control
- Township Threat Pays Off; Rupert Repairs In Progress
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