MCRPD addresses dog protocol

YEAGERTOWN–In an effort to address the rising number of dog issues in the area, representatives of Rescue Our Furry Friends encouraged the Mifflin County Regional Police Board of Directors on Thursday evening to consider implementing new animal protocols within local municipalities.

Missi Bair, a volunteer with ROFF, explained that, historically, law enforcement agencies have depended on animal rescues to pick up and care for stray dogs after they are reported. However, Cindy Shouey, president of ROFF, noted that ROFF in particular does not have the financial resources or the space to accommodate the growing number of dogs the organization receives.

“In the last five years, the dog problems have multiplied,” Shouey said. She also stated that ROFF could ultimately spend up to $6,000 to care for one dog and the rescue could face different liability issues, depending on the dog’s breed or temperament.

Bair added that most animal rescues are volunteer-run, non-profit entities, meaning volunteers and staff are not always able to immediately respond to animal calls. Additionally, dog wardens are not always available because many cover multiple counties throughout the state.

“We just want to get police departments thinking about responses to animal calls when the rescue is not available,” Bair said. Both Bair and Shouey said that the rescue would be willing to donate kennels and supplies to the regional police department in order to accommodate dogs they encounter in response to calls.

“The rescue cannot be counted on to take every stray dog…If we are going to accept animals from police agencies, the agencies have to be willing to follow up with the appropriate and applicable charges if there are any,” said Bair.

MCRPD Chief Scott Mauery said that the police department is open to developing new animal protocols, however the public must understand that dog calls are not always priority when compared to public safety issues.

Bair and Shouey both plan to present their concerns and recommendations to other police departments in order to effectively manage dog problems in all local municipalities.

The Mifflin County Regional Police Board of Directors meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Derry Township Municipal Building.