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Westmoreland County humane police officer Price starts work

| Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, 11:27 p.m.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
(from left) Westmoreland County Prothonotary Christina O'Brien swears in Cyndi Price of Greensburg as a Humane Officer of the Westmoreland County Humane Society at the Humane Society's Hempfield Township office on Thursday, August 15, 2013.

Cyndi Price remembers getting her first pet, a cat named Boots with white paws, when she was about 5. Since, she's fostered a love for animals.

“It's something I'm pretty passionate about; I don't want to see an animal being hurt or neglected, and I hopefully will have the opportunity to change some of those things,” she said.

Price, 48, of Hempfield was sworn in by Westmoreland County Prothonotary Christina O'Brien on Thursday as a humane society police officer after Price completed more than 60 hours of training from the state.

Kathy Burkey, executive director of the Humane Society of Westmoreland County, noticed Price's demeanor when she started working at the shelter in the fall of 2010 after volunteering and fostering animals there and from other organizations.

“I realized she had this intensity about her,” Burkey said. Price often would follow up on adoptions and make home visits to check on the welfare of animals.

Price will work alongside humane Officer Jan Dillon, who is the only agent in Westmoreland County, as employees of the Humane Society.

Dillon said that with the exception of an officer from a Pittsburgh organization who sometimes takes cases in a portion of the county, she has worked alone for nine years.

“It's going to be nice,” Dillon said of having a partner. “You can't be in two places at once.”

Price has been shadowing the officer during her training, and Dillon said she thinks the newly minted humane agent has what it takes to confront pet owners, or simply educate them when need be.

“You can't be afraid to go knock on somebody's door,” Dillon said. “I think she's going to do fine.”

Price, who now has two cats and two dogs, started volunteering at the Humane Society after fostering animals with Community Angel Network, based in Irwin.

“I love animals,” she said. “I've always had a soft spot in my heart for them.”

Owning pets is about responsibility, a value Price said she hopes to instill in people as she takes on her new role.

“The more you're out there, the more you can educate people,” she said.

With the state-sanctioned training, Price learned the legislation governing animal abuse and neglect, as well as procedures for enforcing the laws, collecting evidence and working with the court system.

The training included house pets as well as large animals and livestock and signs that the animal may be in trouble.

“As long as I can try to make a difference, that's what I'm going to do,” Price said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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