| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

New Kensington no-kill shelter wants larger home

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Coming up

Who: Allegheny Township Zoning Board

What: Hear a request by Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley to build a shelter off Oberleiter Road .

When: 7 p.m.Tuesday

Where: Allegheny Township Community Building, 136 Community Building Road

Daily Photo Galleries

AlleKiski Valley Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By R.A. Monti
Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

New Kensington's no-kill animal shelter, Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, usually helps place abandoned pets in new homes.

But now the shelter, itself, is looking for a new residence.

The shelter, which is on Linden Avenue, was gifted five acres of land off Oberleiter Road in Allegheny Township by Joyce Anderson.

The land is zoned only for kennel use, so the shelter must apply for a special exemption to construct a shelter on the land.

The hearing for the special exemption is Tuesday.

“We've outgrown the building we're in right now,” said Jeanne Lessig, the president of the nonprofit shelter. “So, we would love to have an new place of our own.

“For this to come along, it's such a godsend.”

Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley is the only no-kill shelter between Pittsburgh and Kittanning, Lessig said.

Last year, the shelter took in 631 animals and adopted out 402. It spay/neutered 503 animals.

“We serve all the communities in the Valley, on both sides of the river,” she said.

Anderson, a New Kensington native who lives in Imperial, said she has always hoped to see an animal shelter built on what was once her farm.

She explains her land donation to Animal Protectors this way: “My whole family loves animals. It's probably the most important thing in the world to me. We are huge animal lovers, and there's such a large need out there.”

Anderson said she put a time condition into her donation.

“I want to see it built within the next three years,” she said. “I think this is a really great asset for the community.

“I love that land; it's where our ancestors grew up. I want to use it to make a difference — not just build condos on it or something.”

Kathy Starr, chairwoman of the Allegheny Township supervisors, doesn't think there will be any issues for the shelter at Tuesday's zoning hearing.

“The area is zoned R-2, and an animal shelter is permitted there,” she said. “There should be no problem with the zoning board approval. That would clear the way for them to purchase the land.”

Starr said the township would be more than happy to house the shelter.

“I think it would be a great thing for our township,” she said. “We're good farm people here, but sometimes we have little cats and dogs that need our help, too.”

Getting the township's approval is only half the battle, according to the shelter's vice president, Phyllis Framel.

“If we get approval, we have to do a feasibility study on raising enough money to build the shelter,” Framel said. “It will cost about $2.2 million to build it.

“We have to see if we can raise that much money in that time.”

The city of New Kensington owns the shelter's current location, according to Lessig. The shelter pays the city $1 a year to rent it but pays for maintenance, utilities and other expenses.

New Kensington used to pay the shelter's utilities and give it $500 a month to act as its dog-catcher. Lessig said that stopped a few years ago.

New Kensington Mayor Tom Guzzo did not return a call for comment.

R.A. Monti is a contributing writerfor Trib Total Media.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read AlleKiski Valley

  1. Captured Armstrong jail escapee Crissman’s criminal history
  2. Armstrong inmate escapee charged with murdering family matriarch
  3. New Kensington-Arnold committee discusses ways to combat bullying
  4. Northbound Rt. 28 ramp to 31st Street Bridge closed tonight
  5. Winfield supervisors OK natural gas-drilling regulations
  6. Avonmore mayor to resign after being charged with theft
  7. South Butler superintendent heads home for Mohawk job
  8. Surveillance video shows Fawn tire shop burglar
  9. U.S. Open parking fee to go to Oakmont recreation board
  10. Sun shines on Oakmont regatta
  11. Crash ties up traffic at Routes 380 and 286 in Murrysville