PSPCA divests itself of another satellite shelter

Perhaps it may soon be time for a name change as the Pennsylvania SPCA reduces once again the number of shelters it operates statewide.

The organization announced today it has transferred its Montrose shelter in Susquehanna County - which it had operated since 1998 - to a newly-formed local non-profit group.

That's two shelters off-loaded by the PSPCA this month (the Wellsboro shelter closes April 30) that served populations in the rural far-northern reaches of the state.

In 2009, threatened to close the Montrose shelter for budgetary reasons. 

The PSPCA now operates only two satellite shelters: one in Danville and another Centre Hall. Four years ago it had six shelters. Facilities in Clarion County and in Stroudsburg were closed under Cosby's predecessor, Howard Nelson.

The shift away from operating shelters elsewhere in the state and the apparent end of large scale humane investigations outside of Philadelphia appear to be over, although Cosby denied that in an email several months ago.

Under Nelson the PSPCA closed down several notorious puppy mills and bad rescue operations, ending the suffering of hundreds of dogs and cats.

Busting dog fighting rings and hoarders in Philadelphia is wonderful. The PSPCA should be applauded for its recent investigative work. But we have to ask, who will come to the aid of sick and abused animals on the scale of a Tiger Ranch (the cat "rescue" where hundreds of stray and feral cats met horrible deaths in western Pennsylvania) or Almost Heaven kennel (the large puppy mill in Lehigh County with a long history of abuse whose owner was just released from prison cruelty charges) now?

The PSPCA still has two fulltime and one part-time humane officer outside of Philadelphia. Cosby has said humane officers will be dispatched from Philadelphia in cruelty cases if necessary.

Meanwhile, the shelter in Montrose will continue to operate as the True Friend's Animal Welfare Center.

The PSPCA stabilized the Montrose facility and increased animal adoptions. Cosby said in a statement, adding her organization believed it was a good time to turn over the shelter to a local group that understands the community's needs.

In the last 12 months the shelter took in 646 dogs, according to Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. The plan calls for the PSPCA to continue its ownership of the facility but to lease the building and grounds to the new organization for one dollar. It will also provide support and guidance to the newly formed management group to ensure a smooth transition.

The new shelter is accepting donations through the Community Foundation in Montrose. Those interested in supporting the shelter may call 570-278-3800 or visit True Friend's Animal Welfare Center at