Borough Council asked to enact dog ordinance

JOYCE F. NOWELL

Ilse-Marie Bramson has expressed her interest in the treatment of dogs in the Borough of Greencastle before. Monday evening she was joined by other concerned citizens and asked the borough council to consider enacting an ordinance to protect canines.

“Having such an ordinance would give the clear message that Greencastle cares how animals are treated,” Bramson, of Leitersburg Street, told the borough council.

Bobbie McIntyre of Barr Road presented the council with a draft ordinance that sets guidelines for the “proper restraint, shelter, protection and care” for dogs. She said Frederick, Md. has passed a similar ordinance.

“It’s working very well for them,” she said, while noting that the only municipality in Pennsylvania to have such an ordinance is Hazleton.

Call to action

The group was spurred to the action after being concerned about a beagle that they said was left out in extreme cold with inadequate shelter and no water.

“It’s nothing anyone wants near them,” said Bramson. “That dog suffered a lot and anyone who lived nearby suffered.”

“What would you do?” Robert Wertime of Leitersburg Street asked the council.  “Police made a number of responses, but no wrongdoing was found under the current law. What should be done?

“This ordinance may be a step forward.”

An anti-tethering law was introduced in Harrisburg five years ago, according to McIntyre, but nothing has been passed. She said current law allows tethering of dogs 24/7. The ordinance she proposes would disallow that between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. It also makes stipulations on shelter, bedding, shade, space, food, water and medical care.

Legal issues

“This is new and unique,” said Council President Charles Eckstine.

Councilman Paul Schemel suggested the council obtain a copy of the Hazleton ordinance.

Officials also questioned whether a local dog law could override state law.

Council decided to have the borough solicitor review the matter.

Councilman Harry Foley suggested that a humane society representative to invited to the next meeting to discuss the issue.

Sprucing up

The council approved plans by the borough’s Beautification Committee to proceed with the placement of four welcome signs, to purchase hanging flower baskets for the downtown area and get designs for seasonal banners that would be placed in the downtown area.

“Ideally we’d like to have things in place before Old Home Week,” said committee chairman Marissa Pinto-Burt.

“We think it will make an incredible impact on the downtown.”

Pinto-Burt said the committee is also working on a cleanup project for the borough and into sprucing up the mural at the railroad underpass on Baltimore Street.

Other business

The council also approved a Franklin County Housing Trust Fund Agreement for the use of a $15,000 grant to assist low and moderate income homeowners with sidewalk installation and repair on Madison Street. The grant will be available in the 2011 fiscal year.

The dates of May 7 and 8 were set for a bulk item collection in the borough.

The council also approved a subdivision plan for Tower Bank of properties at 28 and 36 North Carlisle Street. The plan calls for eliminating a lot line separating the lots and reconfiguring the total parcel into three separate lots.

Fred Frederick of Frederick, Seibert & Associates, Inc. told the council that the bank wants to keep the parking lots on the property, but doesn’t want to be in the rental business and therefore sell the houses.