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Penn Hills Council extends animal-control contract through 2015

| Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 12:09 p.m.
Penn Hills Progress
Penn Hills Progress
Above, Johnny Mike's on Rodi Road. Penn Hills council approved a liquor license transfer from West Mifflin to a facility which will be located on the property. PATRICK VARINE PHOTO

Penn Hills officials have renewed their contract with a Delmont-based animal-control service, adding a few provisions which they hope will help more animals find their owner or a loving home.

Penn Hills Council renewed its contract with Hoffman Animal Control at its Jan. 22 meeting, extending the service through 2015.

Owner Gary Hoffman will be paid $2,500 per month, the same price as the previous contract, according to a letter from Penn Hills Deputy Clerk Diane Fitzhenry to the mayor and council.

New language regarding hours of service, added when the contract was renewed in 2011, also will remain in place. Hoffman will provide service five days a week for an average of six hours per day, patrolling the municipality to corral as many at-large animals as is reasonably possible.

Fitzhenry also aimed to extend the amount of time a stray dog is held before being placed in a home or humanely destroyed.

“State law requires kennels to hold stray dogs for 48 hours. Hoffman generally keeps the dogs a longer period of time,” Fitzhenry wrote. “I asked that the minimum hold time be increased to 72 hours, and he agreed.”

Fitzhenry's letter said no dogs will be destroyed in less than 72 hours, and whenever possible, Hoffman will hold dogs longer to permit other agencies to facilitate adoptions if they are healthy, friendly animals.

Hoffman's contract requires him to hold licensed dogs for five days after having notified their owners.

In addition, an emergency call — defined as a sick or injured dog or one that is endangering public health or welfare — outside of Hoffman's regular working hours will cost $30, paid by the dog's owner or, if an owner cannot be located, by the municipality.

This past September, a local group including residents from Plum, Murrysville, Penn Township and other communities served by Hoffman raised some objections to the way animal control is handled. Municipal officials in Murrysville have tweaked Hoffman's contract over the years in a similar manner to what Penn Hills officials requested — asking that Hoffman hold onto animals for a longer period of time — but Murrysville Council President Joan Kearns said officials there haven't had an issue with the service Hoffman provides.

Liquor license transfer

Council voted unanimously, 4-0 — deputy mayor Sara Kuhn was not present at the meeting — in favor of accepting the transfer of a liquor license from Linguini's Italian Grill in West Mifflin to 540 Rodi Road, home of the former Johnny Mike's bar. Donald Martino, who applied for the transfer, could not be reached for comment.

Swissvale residents John and Norma Cohill own the property, according to Allegheny County property-assessment records.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or

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