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Kittanning group donates money for quarantine kennel

| Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 1:21 a.m.

KITTANNING — Suspected dangerous dogs in the borough that require a period of quarantine will soon have a secure location to wait out their time thanks to a monetary donation from a local organization.

Police Chief Bruce Mathews told council Monday night that the Kittanning Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Eagles donated $1,000 for the construction of a kennel large enough to house two dogs. The kennel will be erected in an area of the water and sewage facility on the south end of town near Water Street.

“It is not legal to prohibit certain dogs (in the borough),” said Mathews. “We do have the right to seize a dangerous dog and quarantine it but we don't have a place to do that.”

The announcement was made after a recent review of the borough's dog ordinance by the police committee following two separate dog attacks reported last month within days of each other.

An American bulldog mixed breed named Scrappy bit a boy, causing injuries that required surgery. The owner, Stacy Baczynski, has been charged with three counts of not having the dog validly registered (a misdemeanor) and two summary charges of failing to vaccinate the dog against rabies and failing to apply for a dog license/fees, according to district court filing. A preliminary hearing has been set for November.

Because there had been no authorized location to place Scrappy at the time, Baczynski had to quarantine her dog at her own premises.

That was the case regarding the three pit bulls involved in the fatal mauling of a small dog in the borough. Charges have been filed against at least one person in that incident. Mathews was not immediately able to provide the name of the person on Monday.

In other police matters, Mathews told council that Wednesday's Crime Watch meeting was well attended. He said that Crime Watch will sponsor a spaghetti dinner for senior citizens at First Church of God, Woodward Avenue, on Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. The purpose of the dinner is to reassure seniors that their identities will be protected if they report crimes or suspicious activity to police.

Councilman Ange Turco said that some seniors in the area told him they were worried their names might be heard over emergency air waves.

Mathews said he understood their concern, adding that seniors are “a wealth of information because they are always home.”

Councilwoman Kim Fox thanked Mathews for his work in planning the police procession in honor of the late Kittanning police Chief Robert J. Hulings Sr.

She said that the borough received $1,215 for the K9 fund from the Hulings family and from others who gave in memory of Hulings.

Fox asked council to consider naming a street after the late chief.

Borough Solicitor Chase McClister said that the street committee could make a recommendation on choosing a street to name in Hulings' honor.

In other business, Walt Smail, planning and development project manager, told council of an unexpected change to the town's revitalization project.

“We have to abandon our plans (for improvements) at the Jefferson Street intersection at this time,” Smail said.

Last month, he had told council that minimal traffic light work might be possible as part of the project.

However on Monday, he said that PennDOT required that any work done to the intersection must include additional improvements like ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) ramps, which added significantly to the cost.

Smail said those improvements can be made at a future time, but until then, project funding will be applied to the intersection at North Grant Avenue and North McKean Street, making North McKean a two-way street.

That new traffic pattern is going to be an adjustment for motorists, Mathews said.

“If we're not going to lose any parking, it's going to be tight,” he said.

Mayor Kirk Atwood noted that mailboxes at the corner of Arch Street and North McKean will likely have to be relocated.

Smail said the fundraising campaign is under way to meet the goal of filling in the $400,000 gap in funding for the $2 million project.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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