Man’s best friend has a new guardian in the Mount Joy area. On Oct. 17, the Township reached an agreement with Playful Pups Retreat to care for stray dogs during the 2012 calendar year.
This new agreement replaces an old accord the Township had with the Lancaster County Humane League. According to the Lancaster New Era, the Township anticipates a $2,500 savings in this budget area next year.
“In working with the Township our main goal is to reunite stray dogs with their owners,” Playful Pups owner Laurie Yost said.
Yost was contacted directly by Township Secretary Patricia Bailey to form the new agreement. The contract will go into effect Jan. 1, 2012 and lasts one year. According to the Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era, the official particulars of the contract indicate that owners will be charged a boarding fee of $25 for every day their dog goes unclaimed. Additionally, the Township will be billed $300 if a dog has to be placed with a rescue facility.
“One of our company’s overall missions is to educate owners on everything dog,” Yost said. “We want to be able to provide the community with a place to go with any questions or concerns they may have about their beloved furry family members so that those dogs will stay in the home and never be surrendered to a rescue.”
According to Yost, there were 20 stray dogs found in Mount Joy Township last year. The Playful Pups facility, which is located at 850 Milton Grove Road in Elizabethtown, can accommodate 45 dogs.
“We strive to provide an upscale boarding experience for all our furry guests,” Yost said. “Our goal is to provide the dogs with a stress-free experience where they can relax and have fun while the owners are away.”
According to Yost, Playful Pups will work closely with Mount Joy Township officials to reunite owners with their pets. As part of the contract, police officers will be responsible for transporting the animals to Playful Pups. When strays initially come into the facility, the Playful Pups staff will document where the dog was found, in addition to its physical description. Then Yost and company will try to find the owner of the strays.
“We will work to reunite the dog with its family, starting with looking for the dog’s state license and scanning for a microchip,” Yost said. “The dog will be housed at Playful Pups Retreat for 48 to 72 hours to give owners time to reclaim their pet. If after that time the dog has not been reclaimed, it will be turned over to a local rescue organization.”
According to Yost, dogs assigned to rescue facilities will receive a thorough veterinary evaluation. The screening will include vaccinations, and the animal will be spayed or neutered if necessary. Then the adoption process will begin.
Yost stresses that there are steps owners can take to expedite the reunion process in the event that a pet is lost.
“We strongly urge Township residents to have their dogs properly licensed as well as micro-chipped to assure that their pet will find its way home to them,” Yost said. “The goal will always be to reunite every stray dog with its owner.”
Other neighboring townships may follow the example set by Mount Joy. Yost has similar contract proposals pending with Donegal and Rapho Townships. If the proposals are approved, Yost and the Playful Pups staff will also monitor strays in those respective areas.
Members of the K-9 Club at Elizabethtown College recognize the importance of rescue organizations. “I think that canine rescue groups are wonderful because they focus their time and effort in helping animals that can’t speak for themselves,” K-9 Club vice president and Etownian assistant copy editor Shannon McNamee said.
McNamee currently owns a dog and would feel awful if it went missing. She also identifies with Yost’s message to make sure owners obtain state licensed identification tags and microchips for their pets. “They are very important because they help animal shelters and good citizens locate pet’s homes,” McNamee said.
Next semester the K-9 Club will hold their annual “Pup-e-Palooza” event to promote local Pennsylvania shelters. “We bring in many of the rescue groups we work with on campus to promote their organizations,” McNamee said. “After working with many different organizations, you realize that there are some cruel people out there, and rescue groups try to do as much as they can to save not just dogs, but other animals as well.”