LanCo humane to shutter doors to strays, reduce cruelty probes

Okay people of Lancaster County, you are about to get what you paid for from your former countywide animal shelter.


The leaders of the Humane League of Lancaster announced today that because of cost issues and a change in mission, they would no longer accept stray dogs or cats.

In other words, it's going to become a "no kill" shelter. That means the facility will only euthanize pets with terminal illnesses or those deemed too aggressive. That also means no Good Samaritan can show up with a found animal. It will take in owner surrenders but for a fee, officials said.

Dan Massey, chairman of the Humane League board, said during a press conference: "We're not going to provide as many services as we did before."

Not only will they no longer take in strays, officials said they would be "reducing" the number of animal cruelty investigations they conduct, but did not give any further explanation, according to the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal.

Fewer cruelty investigations in the county with the largest concentration of puppy mills - both those operating legally and those that continue to operate underground - in the state. The Pennsylvania SPCA - still facing breeder lawsuits from several years ago - has conducted no animal cruelty investigations in the county since 2009.

Joan Brown, the League's president said stray dogs should go to the municipality in which they're found.

"Municipalities are by law responsible for stray dogs in their area," Brown said. "That's a given." She said stray cats pose "something of a community problem."

She said some municipalities have found their own solutions, but did not elaborate. The others, she added, will have to come up with something by Feb. 1.

This is exactly what happened in Delaware County when the county SPCA shut its doors to strays. Municipalities are now contracting on a per dog or cat basis with the Chester County SPCA for animal control services.

Well, Chester County ready for more contracts?

The Lancaster shelter has take in 5,000 animals in 2012. Brown did not say how many of those have been euthanized. Nor was it reported how many of those were strays versus owner surrenders. Nor how many of those came from cruelty seizures.

Asked if she thinks more people will simply dump unwanted dogs and cats by the side of the road, Brown told the newspaper she hopes not.

"By and large, I think most of our citizens are kind, good-hearted people," she said.