2010-09-09 / Front Page

Residents Hear Animal Cruelty Concerns

Commissioners offer office space for follow-up meeting
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Around a dozen residents were on hand last Thursday evening to hear about the growing need for an enforcement officer to respond to and accordingly charge county residents in cases of animal cruelty and neglect.

Burnt Cabins resident Karen Croft spearheaded the discussion launched at the tail end of the Fulton County commissioners’ town meeting held at the Hustontown Firehall. Pointing out that the county does not have its own animal shelter or enforcement officer, Croft stated an officer from the Better Days Animal League in Shippensburg has recently been responding to allegations of cruelty here. Unable to attend the meeting last week, officer Dennis Bumbaugh, according to Croft, has more than 30 open calls/cases in county at this time.

“I think this warrants our attention,” said Croft, who questioned commissioners Bonnie Mellott Keefer, David Hoover II and Craig Cutchall if they would be able to appoint or sanction a committee of interested volunteers to properly address the issue.

Cutchall stated the issue of animal cruelty came to the forefront this summer when Ashley Summers Duvall of Hustontown penned a letter to the Fulton County News on July 1 detailing a “horrific example of cruelty to a farm animal in Burnt Cabins.” In the letter, Summers-Duvall wrote she contacted a variety of organizations such as animal control, Pennsylvania SPCA, Pennsylvania State Police and eventually the commissioners in hopes of having the matter rectified.

“I’m not sure what we need to do, but I was shocked when I heard the numbers just from our county. I think it’s something I would like to see us address,” said Cutchall.

For the purpose of enlightening those in attendance, comparisons were then made between the roles of Bumbaugh under state law Title 18 of the crimes code and local dog Warden Tracy Miller. Miller is unable to act of matters on neglect and cruelty through his position under the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Dog Law and is limited to areas such as dog licensing, rabies vaccinations and kennel inspections.

“Fulton County is costing the (Better Days) shelter a lot of money,” said Croft, who added an idea has been broached of establishing a thrift shop in Fulton County to help offset the cost of Bumbaugh’s time spent locally and animal related expenses.

The Better Days Animal League, a nonprofit, no-kill animal rescue, currently has thrift stores in operation in Shippensburg, Waynesboro and Carlisle. Their wish list in setting up shop locally could include donated items such as shelving units, jewelry display cases, pant and skirt hangers, a laptop, cash register, vacuum cleaner/dustbuster and pricing stickers/label maker.

One individual in attendance pointed out many residents, especially those in the northern portion of the county, support the Bedford County Animal Shelter with funding and pet adoptions. It was suggested to Croft to contact the organization for further assistance as well as the state police and SPCA.

“The issue is that in order to have an enforcement officer for Fulton County they have to be associated with a nonprofit association,” reiterated Croft.

At the conclusion of the dis- cussion, the commissioners agreed to offer Croft office space in the form of a conference room to conduct a follow up meeting for individuals such as county township officials and representatives from Better Days.

Information about Better Days Animal League, their vision and mission can be found online at www.betterdaysanimalleagu e.org.

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