Widespread criticism over proposed ordinance of ‘disposing’ runaway dogs

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Wording of new ordinance in Swoyersville sparks controversy

SWOYERSVILLE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A proposed dog ordinance in a Luzerne County borough has been the talk of the neighborhood.

It would allow pets that got loose, to be killed if their owners don’t claim them within a certain amount of time.

“The bottom line is, it should’ve never been written like this,” Swoyersville Mayor Christopher Concert said.

In the text, the dog ordinance states that if dogs were to get loose and not returned to their owner within a certain amount of time, they would be “disposed of” or “destroyed”.

It was presented earlier this month to the borough council by solicitor Joseph Yeager.

“People are very upset about it and I try to tell them, ‘I understand’. When I first read it, I was like ‘wow’, too,” said Concert.

Eyewitness News spoke with Michael Quinn, who was walking his dog, Rudy, and shared his thoughts about the ordinance.

“I was out taking my dog for a walk and I can only imagine if I ever lost my dog, I would hope there would be effort and the community would come together and look out for each other trying to return the pets,” Quinn said.

We also spoke with two other residents who wished not to be on camera.

“Anything is bound to happen, dogs get loose. And for them to have their life jeopardized is just uncalled for. I’m so against it. They need to reconsider,” one neighbor said.

“I’m a humane person and I hate to see animals euthanized for whatever reason,” another neighbor said.

Mayor Concert says he investigated other dog ordinances, too.

“I found out other communities that are even right next to us, their wordage is the exact same and also the state ordinance is the exact same,” Mayor Concert said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the solicitor for comment, but we did not receive a response.

Mayor Concert says no dog ordinance should state this and should be changed. Mayor Concert also says that if anybody in the neighborhood has any concerns about the ordinance or if they would like to express their opinions, they can email him and he will present those thoughts at the next meeting. 

Mayor Concert says there is a work session meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and will be livestreamed on the borough’s Facebook page. There will be no public comments.

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