Easton dealing with influx of stray dogs

Published: 4:58 PM EDT Apr 03, 2012   Updated: 5:31 PM EDT Apr 03, 2012
Stray dog in Easton

Animal stories, especially those about dogs, tend to tug on people's heartstrings.

Easton recently instituted a city kennel. Some 69 News viewers e-mailed about their concerns over the care of the canines.

"We call her momma. Don't know her real name," said Amy Gruber, an animal control officer for Easton said, about one of the stray dogs for which police are trying to find homes.

Another dog is named Baby.

"These two longest residents been here a week," Gruber said.

The Easton Police Department's new canine kennel is located at the city's waste water treatment facility.

"Our obligation, as a police agency, it kind of falls to us," said Chief Carl Scalzo.

State law mandates police agencies take in stray dogs, which Scalzo said used to mean having to share space with the dogs at headquarters.

Dan Roman, of the Center for Animal Health and Welfare, said he sees abused, abandoned and neglected dogs all the time.

The steady stream of strays, Roman said, stresses animals rescue groups throughout the Lehigh Valley.

"Economy has something to do with it," said Roman. "People have trouble feeding themselves, simply don't have enough money to buy $50 dog food."

That meant the need for the kennel in Easton, which does have padded and heated cages. The city's animal control officers feed and walk the dogs twice a day, seven days a week.

Since opening March 5, seven out of the 10 dogs kept at the kennel have found homes. None has been euthanized, said Scalzo, who is pushing the county for a comprehensive canine plan with the goal of getting the dogs safely home.

If not claimed, the dogs will be sent to rescue groups, the city said.

If you've lost a dog, you can call the county 911 center's non-emergency phone number. From there, you can be put in touch with police, who could very well know where your dog is.