A group of dog lovers in Penn Hills has banded together to raise money for a temporary holding space for lost pets and launched a website aimed at keeping track of them.
Brittney Norris of PAWsitive Voice animal advocacy group hopes a $2,500 goal will be met in order to purchase kennels to be kept at a space in the Penn Hills Police Department.
The money also will go toward items such as pet beds, food and water bowls, leashes and collars and sanitary supplies.
“The existing facility is makeshift. The police have done what they can but there is no really well-defined space with supplies and they’ve gotten no support to do so,” Norris said. “That’s why we wanted to help them to make that space.”
All pets picked up by Penn Hills police are taken back to the station at the municipal complex to be held for up to 24 hours before an animal control officer transfers them to Hoffman Kennels in Delmont.
Norris estimates the municipality captures three to seven lost pets in any given month before they are transferred to the kennel.
In August, Norris publicly criticized Hoffman Kennels for having “unethical business practices and inhumane treatment of animals.” She and others have urged council to make amendments to the municipality’s contract with Hoffman.
Gary Hoffman, the kennel’s owner, has said he owns “the nicest kennel in Pennsylvania for dog control” and his business does everything “by the books.”
The municipality’s contract with the kennel expires in June. Councilman John Petrucci in October said Penn Hills is accepting suggestions for a new animal control company “in light of the recent problems with Hoffman Kennels.”
The advocacy group also developed a website – pennhillspets.com – where pet owners can enter information about their pets, including a photo, brief description, name and the owner’s phone number and email.
Norris said the website has catalogued 28 pets since its April 12 launch.
“So far, so good – that’s not a bad start,” she said of the website. She said the website comes after the municipality agreed to post to its website lost dogs with a brief description and a photo. The online database will supplement that effort and hopefully be more consistent, she said.
“The more visibility the better. We just wanted to make a more consolidated version that centered around our community. And we wanted to make it more accessible to the public,” Norris said.