Denver Council makes new provisions for stray dogs

By on August 31, 2011

By: KIMBERLY MARSELAS Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Denver officials have decided not to renew their animal control agreement with the Humane League of Lancaster County, but they’re not letting animal care go to the dogs.

At a meeting Monday night, borough manager Mike Hession said the borough has worked out a tentative agreement with East Cocalico Township supervisors and a local veterinarian to keep most local strays in the area.

Council voted unanimously not to continue its partnership with the Humane League, which planned to increase its service fee for dog control to $3,102.50 in 2012, up from $776 this year. Hession said the borough generally sent one to two dogs to the shelter annually.

Under a new plan, police will pick up any stray dogs found in the borough and contact Dr. Marianne Fracica to see if she can care for them at her Cocalico Cat and Gingham Dog Animal Hospital. Dogs found after hours or believed to be vicious can be taken directly to the police department and, after a required holding period, be turned over to the state dog warden.

Fracica will charge $100 per dog, up to a total of $500, for her services and will also try to find new homes for any unclaimed animals. The borough will use its website to help reunite lost dogs and owners.

Hession said the borough expected to have some additional costs for police services; those will be determined during upcoming budget talks.

Stray cats will not be provided for under the new animal control plan. Residents with complaints about feral cats will be directed to animal welfare organizations, rescues or trappers.

"We’re giving the homeowners options to handle this," Hession said. "We’re not getting directly involved in it."

Also Monday, council agreed to move forward with an alternative energy ordinance that provides regulations for solar, geothermal, hydronic and wind energy production. After some debate, council decided to move forward with a plan that restricts solar panels to roof-mounted systems.

Mayor Adam Webber questioned whether the move could hurt businesses that want to install solar panels in industrial zones. But officials from the township and county planning commissions said most businesses would have enough roof space that top-mounted solar panels would be preferable. Few residential lots in the borough would be large enough to provide space for panels on the ground.

"With the minimum number of people it would effect, it would be good to go ahead and not allow it," said councilman Stephen Binkley.

The ordinance must now make its way through a review process and public hearings scheduled for Oct. 11 and 31.

Hession also presented a storm report, complete with a slideshow of damage around the borough. Crews spent much of Monday removing debris from the parks and the pool.

At the main park, wires still dangled across the entrance as of Monday night. PPL cut the power to the lines until they can be repaired, leaving many of the lights and park buildings in the dark. Hession reported that a tree fell into a cabin used by the Boy Scouts, but he was unaware whether there had been any major damage. A small tree also fell into the tot playground, but it did not damage any of the equipment.

At the Bon View Linear Park, floodwater washed away the gravel path to expose treads and pushed fallen branches and leaves into seating areas.

Township crews are continuing their clean up efforts this week.

In other action:

? Council denied a request to allow Denver Fire Company to conduct a vehicle extraction exercise on a car located on Catalpa Circle. The car’s owner donated the vehicle, but asked that the exercise be done in the neighborhood. Council members were concerned that the fire apparatus and debris would cause problems on the roadway.

? Council voted against installing new crossing signals or devices at the railroad tracks on Locust Street. PennDOT offered the borough grant money to upgrade the crossing, which the borough previously downgraded at the railroad owner’s request in 2002. Improving the crossing, which is maintained by a flagman and limited to a 3 mph speed limit, would have cost the borough as much as $6,500.

"The general consensus is ‘No thanks,’" said council president Kevin Brandt.

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