TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

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

Forward residents campaign to keep Fallen Timber open

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Santana, a 4-year-old boxer mix, is going to a new home. Fallen Timber Animal Shelter manager Christa Diebel and others at the shelter in Elizabeth Township will have to relocate as well when the facility closes at at the end of September.

Daily Photo Galleries

McKeesport 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.

Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 5:06 a.m.
 

Two Forward Township residents are pressing the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society not to close the 38-year-old Fallen Timber Shelter in neighboring Elizabeth Township.

“It's time to demand that Fallen Timber be kept open,” Betty Jane Cline and her daughter Amy L. Cline said in a joint statement.

The women have taken their appeal to the Forward Township board of supervisors and a to a meeting with Humane Society officials.

They said others have contacted them and they are inviting the community to join their cause.

On Sept. 30, the shelter is slated to close and its operations will be consolidated with the facility at 1101 Western Ave. on Pittsburgh's North Side.

“It was and still is a financial decision to close the Fallen Timber animal shelter,” society spokeswoman Gretchen Fieser said on Thursday.

“It is in the long-term best interest of the entire organization, both financially and operationally, to consolidate Fallen Timber with the North Shore facility,” said Jeff Sterling, co-president of the society board of directors, in an Aug. 6 news release.

“By taking this step, the (society's) board of directors want to fulfill the mission of the organization for decades to come for all of Pittsburgh's homeless pets,” Fieser said.

The Humane Society won't totally vacate Fallen Timber. Fieser said a pet cemetery will remain.

The society pointed out in the Aug. 6 release that White Oak Animal Safe Haven is approximately 9.5 miles from Fallen Timber. The White Oak shelter is not affiliated with the Humane Society.

The late Amy Lannan donated the land on which Fallen Timber was built in 1974. Betty Jane Cline said several families including her own helped to raise funds to erect the shelter on the donated land.

The Clines said that Betty Jane Cline also made a $25,000 donation in 2011 “to be used for the exclusive benefit of the Fallen Timber animal shelter ... without resulting in any diminishment or offset to its annual budgetary funding allotment.”

Betty Jane Cline said she also was told of a $50,000 gift from the Camp Bow Wow Foundation as part of its “On Our Way Home” project to expand the Fallen Timber Shelter.

“On Aug. 29, 2012, (Betty Jane) Cline received a letter from development director Deanne Heller, announcing WPHS had purchased a new facility in Shaler and was acquiring land on the North Side for a dog park, with no mention of any Fallen Timber expansion,” the Clines said in their statement.

The Clines said subsequent audits of the society showed no restricted gifts were received.

“What happened to the two gifts restricted for use at Fallen Timber?” the Clines asked. “And how many others are unaccounted for?”

After Betty Jane Cline threatened to withhold future donations from her natural gas royalties, she and her daughter were invited to an Aug. 26 meeting with Heller, executive director David Janusek and society board member Lisa Giusti. “Ms. Heller promised an accounting of (Betty Jane) Cline's windfall donation, but none has been received to date,” the Clines said.

“The response Mrs. Cline mentioned not receiving was sent out first thing (Thursday morning) to her home mailing address,” Fieser said in an email sent to The Daily News four hours after a copy of the Clines' statement was forwarded to the Humane Society. Fieser declined to disclose the contents of that response.

Seven employees are affected at Fallen Timber, including manager Christa Diebel, who referred inquiries to Fieser.

“All employees are welcome to apply for open positions at the North Shore shelter for which they are qualified,” Fieser responded to a question about their future.

As of Thursday, 11 dogs and 10 cats still were housed at Fallen Timber.

In August, the society said it would seek to determine future use for the property and entertain offers from other, certified animal care and adoption organizations.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read McKeesport

  1. Elizabeth Forward community offers support to family of drowning victim
  2. Lincoln council OKs chicken coop ordinance
  3. New state regulations are taxing for some
  4. Police initiative puts the heat on  aggressive drivers
  5. Elizabeth K-9 program benefits from National Hot Dog Day charity drive
  6. GTECH Strategies volunteers to beautify McKeesport
  7. Restrictions begin on Route 51 south
  8. Elizabeth fire department’s Riverfest kicks off
  9. McKeesport’s Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce revamps website
  10. McKeesport radio station asks FCC for permission to go dark at night