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Humane society bites township with 35% hike for animal control services

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Oct 14 2013 09:35:50 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 15 2013 05:21:18 AM CDT
UPPER SAUCON TWP., Pa -

The Lehigh County Humane Society successfully put the bite on one municipality Monday night for a 35 percent increase in its contract for animal control services next year.

Upper Saucon Township supervisors unanimously approved a 2014 agreement with the Humane Society worth $11,500 for the same services the township paid $8,500 for this year.

Before the vote, supervisor Jack DeMatos asked township manager Thomas Beil if Upper Saucon had any option other than approving what Beil called "a substantial increase" in the animal control services contract.

"We really don't," said Beil, before adding, "We could build a kennel here [in Upper Saucon]. That's an option."

Beil said state law requires a municipality to provide members of the public ample opportunity to look over stray dogs for 48 hours after the dogs are picked up by police or an animal control officer.

Beil pointed out that some municipalities ignore the law and don't have "office hours" for the public. "They don't really care," he said.

The township manager estimated that the Humane Society has handled between 15 and 30 stray and lost dogs from Upper Saucon each year for the last decade."Well over 90 percent are claimed by their owner," he noted.

Beil also told the supervisors that the Humane Society provides 24-hour emergency pick-up and treatment for animals that are hit by cars. "It's a very good and timely service ... but they [the Humane Society] are expensive," he said.

After the meeting, Beil was asked why the Humane Society asked for the $3,000 increase. "They did not provide an explanation," Beil told WFMZ.com.

In other business, the supervisors gave preliminary approval to Traditions of America's final plan for an age-restricted subdivision proposed near the Wedgewood Golf Course.

The 55-and-over development would have 241 residential units on 150 acres of land at the northwest corner of Lanark and West Hopewell roads.

David Biddison, director of operations for Traditions of America, told WFMZ.com that construction could begin as early as next spring, if the plan quickly gets final approval from the planning commission and supervisors.