Lehigh Valley

Proposed no-kill cat shelter down to its final life in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON, Pa. - Nearly two months ago, the fate of a proposed no-kill animal shelter in Northampton, Northampton Co., was left hanging by a whisker and on Thursday night that whisker was reduced to stubble.

But cats are renowned for having nine lives and advocate Dawn Perl's goal of opening Perl's Pet Place in the borough is still alive following a public workshop meeting of borough council.

Perl has been before council previously armed with about 1,000 signatures in a petition drive to open the shelter to address the borough's robust and problematic feral cat population.

On Thursday night she answered questions from council members about a business plan she submitted last month, which contained no insurance and only $5,000 for legal services, according to the borough's records from the Feb. 20th meeting.

"I have always worked with animals," Perl said in response to a question from Vice President Robert McHale about her past qualifications. "...I would get a vet on board and I would have people that will foster (care)."

Perl is urging the borough to reopen a shelter that had closed seven years ago amid a series of problems when the not-for-profit running the shelter closed down.

It's that very fact that concerned council President John Yurish, who said he was very concerned that if Perl runs out of money, time or will, that she would close up shop, leaving the borough, once again, holding the kitty litter bag.

"I think this is a noble project, but I'm against it," said Yurish at one point. "I just don't see how you can raise the money, I just do not know how you can do this."

Perl said Thursday night that if the shelter were to open tomorrow, she would have $15,000 in liquid funds, $10,000 of which is her own money.

She added earlier in the evening that she had an individual soliciting additional funds from the community.

But money isn't the only thing Perl needs. Township Manager Gene Zarayko added that Perl would also need accreditation. Perl concurred.

Council rendered no final decision during Thursday night's meeting.

"We will keep looking into it and get an answer on it ASAP," Yurish told Perl at the conclusion of questioning.

Councilmen Robert Coleman and Anthony Pristash were absent from Thursday night's meeting. 

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