I-Team: SPCA Stray Fee Fight

PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)  An I-Team exclusive. The Luzerne County S.P.C.A.wants each community in the county to pay a fee for every stray animal brought into their shelter from that community. The S.P.C.A.. says it has no choice - it needs the money. but the idea is getting a cold reception from at least one community. The I-Team's Andy Mehalshick  with the story.

Wilkes-Barre City officials say they don't have the money either. They are barely making ends meet. They are telling the I-Team they will not ask taxpayers to be stuck with another expense.
The S.P.C.A says then get ready to have the animals brought to city hall. The Luzerne County S.P.C.A. takes in thousands of stray animals every year at no charge.
That, they say, has to change.
Todd Hevner, is the Luzerne County SPCA Executive Director, "The cost of doing business continues to rise. It's come to the point where we can no longer maintain the same level of service unless we take some proactive steps."

 The S.P.C.A sent out letters to all 76 luzerne county communities asking them to sign a 5-year contract which will eventually lead to a $100 per animal fee brought in from those communities.

 "Our concern is the financial impact on the city of wilkes-barre." Wilkes-Barre officials say hold on one minute. Ted Wampole- Wilkes-Barre City Administrator told Eyewitness News "We have no problem working out an agreement with the animals the city takes up to the SPCA.

The problem is the SPCA now wants us to be responsible for every stray animal somebody brings off the street.

"Last year about 700 animals were taken to the shelter from the streets of Wilkes-Barre, but the animals were brought by people who found them - not city representatives. so how does it know the animal really came from Wilkes-Barre." said  Wampole-"Which means the taxpayers of Wilkes-Barre will pay $70,000."
  Hevner responded: "I can absolutely understand those concerns, but we have to have some inherent trust in the good samaritan bringing in the animal."

  Hevner  says they will send each community an itemized list of animals brought into their Plains Township Center and the communities can challenge the bill.

 Hevner told the I-Team's Andy Mehalshick so far only two communities have agreed to the contract. Wilkes-Barre says they will not sign the deal.  The SPCA plan is used in other parts of the nation. The city of Wilkes-Barre is currently looking for another animal shelter to takes its stray.


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