Chesco SPCA board takes steps to end land deal, hire staff


The newly-installed Chester County SPCA,board moved quickly this week to address the multiple crises it inherited.

It hired an executive director and kennel manager - both with extensive animal sheltering experience - and asked the state to halt action on a land deal involving the board chairman.

At its meeting Monday, the board asked the Department of General Services to put the brakes on the sale of 20-acre parcel of land land held by the shelter to developer Embreeville Redevelopment L.P.

In a letter obtained by the Daily Local, the board voted unanimously to ask the state not to remove a restriction on the property that limits its uses to the prevention of cruelty to animals.

The letter from the shelter to the state asks for time for the new board to review the sale and discuss it with Embreeville Redevelopment, which lists board president Conrad Muhly as a principal, and West Bradford Township. Muhly abstained from the vote on the land deal.

The parcel - at least according to state Sen. Andy Dinniman (D., Chester) - was supposed to be set aside for a dog park and the SPCA was the recipient of a $25,000 state grant to reach that goal. The development company wants to put 1,000 residences on the 240-acre site.

Meanwhile, the board hired two new top staff members: Emily Simmons of the Animal Farm Foundation, a pit-bull rescue service, and who formerly was affiliated with the Pennsylvania SPCA, will be the new executive director.

Danielle Ball was hired as the shelter's operations manager. Ball, who is also a humane society police officer, had been with the Humane League of Lancaster County.

The pair will start Monday.

Board member Tom Hickey is working with volunteers to restore morale and help improve communication between the staff and the volunteer corps. He says the shelter is eager to recruit new volunteers who are the lifeblood of the organization.