SANATOGA PA – Lower Pottsgrove Township police responded during November (2012) to 17 different animal complaints, covering creatures large and small, from growling dogs to mewling cats and others inclined run, jump, crawl, slither and slide from the arms of law enforcers. As of Tuesday (Jan. 1, 2013), catching and dealing with critters is no longer among their regular duties.
That’s when the township’s new contract with Pottstown resident Jon W. Daywalt took effect. Daywalt is a state constable, a volunteer with the Montgomery County Animal Response Team and, professionally, the control officer hired by many municipalities in the western portion of the county to handle animal problems.
The township’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a 12-month agreement that authorizes Daywalt to serve as its animal control officer at a cost of $4,000, payable in quarterly installments of $1,000 each.
November, the most recent month for which township police statistics are available, was fairly typical, Chief Michael Foltz said. In the past, his officers have responded to about 200 calls a year dealing with animal bites or complaints. They take time to resolve, and occasionally are troublesome, too; it’s often easier to deal with a bad guy than a snake.
Daywalt has years of expertise and recommendations from other municipalities for which he works, Foltz told commissioners.
As animal control officer, he will have the authority to issue citations (to animal owners, not the beasts), capture and transport animals, and appear at court proceedings regarding enforcement of the Pennsylvania Dog Law, applicable state criminal laws, and any township ordinances that regard dogs and other domestic animals. He’ll be on call for police officers who need him.
The contract specifies Daywalt will provide his own insurance certificate and name the township as an additional insured party. He also provides his own uniforms, equipment and vehicles.