New Rules for Lost Pets

Oonagh from Cedar Lane

Major Changes in Local Pet Wrangling have Made it More Complicated and Expensive to Retrieve your Retriever

Keep an Eye on Fido!

Responsible dog and/or cat ownership requires one to aware of what is best for the animal, consideration for neighbors and visitors, as well as local ordinances to be observed. Delaware County’s animal care and control procedures have seen some changes that may affect Morton resident animal owners, should problems arise.

If you didn’t already know, as of January 1, 2012, the Delaware County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals became a “life-saving” shelter, accepting strays, animals taken from cruel or abusive situations, or owners who wish to surrender their pet. The Delco SPCA provides veterinary care to their charges and to the public, and, as always, invites adoption. (Check out http://delcospca.org.) What that means for dog and cat owners in our county and our borough, is that, should one of our pets wander out of the yard, it cannot be taken to the Delco SPCA to await their owner. What happens to them then?

Once the Delaware County SPCA changed their policy on accepting any animal surrendered by Animal Control or a caring citizen, the Chester County SPCA stepped up and agreed to accept those animals turned away by Delco. Due to the necessity to fund the added burden to the shelter, in January of this year, CCSPCA entered into an agreement with the members of Delaware County Council. In return for accepting lost and strays from our county, we will provide fixed financial assistance.

Dog

Now, how does that affect us here in Morton? Depending upon whether your pet is identifiable (license, ID tags, microchip), where it is found and who finds it determines what happens to your pet and how much it will cost you. First of all, should your pet stray from your home, hope that he/she travels Northeast to Springfield. According to an interview with the Delaware County Animal Control, animals will not be rescued in Morton, Swarthmore, or Ridley Township. If an animal is reported stray in these municipalities, the Chester County SPCA will rescue the animal. Maybe. And, should you need to retrieve your lost pet from the CCSPCA, you will get a bill from Delaware County in the amount of $250, as part of the agreement. If your identifiable pet is rescued by the Delaware County Animal Control, it will cost $45.

What I’ve learned, from this research and personal experience, clear identification is the way to go. My two wanderers have ID tags, licenses, and microchips. I’ve learned, microchip is not reliable on its own since my one rescue dog’s requested and paid-for chip either doesn’t work or was never implanted. Licenses must be obtained on an annual basis. They are very reasonable and easy to get. Your veterinarian should have applications and maybe yours will take payment and send it too. Some animal supply shops will do the same or you can obtain one online: Delco Dog License. Just be aware that you need to open an account (free) and pay a small service charge.

I am confident that every pet-owner in Morton is a responsible one but sometimes things just happen. I’m pleased to know that the Delco SPCA is still doing great work, that Chester County SPCA is assisting them, and our County Council recognizes the need to care for our furry friends.