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County Animal Shelter: Towns Must Pay More

The Center for Animal Health and Welfare in Williams Township says it can't afford to be an 'open' shelter.

Starting next year, it could cost more for municipalities to drop off stray animals at the Center for Animal Health and Welfare.

Citing "spiraling costs" and a rise in the number of animals coming to its Williams Township shelter, the center will now charge municipalities $150 per dropoff, and will only take animals if there is room.

The center said it has been nearly at capacity in the past year, and often has had to turn animals away from communities that have contracts with it.

"Furthermore, certain municipalities have actively or negligently sought loopholes to utilize our services without paying for them," the shelter wrote in its newsletter. "Ultimately, the Center was left with choosing between providing charity to animals or providing charity to municipalities. Given our core mission, we have chosen to focus on the animals."

William Clements, a board member at the shelter, declined to say much about the loopholes, "because I don't want to advertise the creative ways that these municipalities have found to cheat the system."

But he did say one community's police officers caught a stray dog and then had a citizen drive the dog to the center. 

"There were other schemes, but that's one that I don't think many municipalities will want to mimic, as the liability involved was staggering, in my opinion," Clements wrote in an e-mail to Patch. "I believe that someone in that municipality finally recognized that issue as well, and that particular dodge hasn't been repeated for at least 6 months."

Clement added that the shelter wants to work with municipalities rather than battle with them. 

The shelter says it wants to set up the type of arrangements it has with the city of Easton in other communities, and continue its trap/neuter/release program.

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