UPPER NAPPAN – The dog was a little nervous of the stranger with the camera – nervous, but not aggressive.
The reporter, no expert on dog behavior, couldn’t tell much about its temperament from a brief encounter through a chain link fence, however.
“The dog had bitten more than once...several times,” said Marilyn Williams, president of the Lillian Albon Animal Shelter in Upper Nappan.
The no-kill shelter was the scene of conflict Friday morning. At issue was a dog in the shelter’s possession. The dog, a medium-sized animal with a shaggy tan coat, was in quarantine, at the request of the Town of Springhill and its canine control officer. Friday morning the animal was to be picked up by animal control to be taken for euthanasia.
The scene at the shelter Friday was charged. Acting on a tip, the newspaper attended the scene, where a group of volunteers were reluctant to relinquish an animal some claimed was friendly into the custody of a government official who would be taking the canine to be killed. The animal control officer seemed frustrated, in part at the complication of uncooperative shelter volunteers.
Williams said it was a situation that might have been avoided with more information. The shelter was under the impression the dog was condemned based on a single incident, when it was actually a number of incidents, at least one of which was unprovoked.
The decision to euthanize is probably the best course of action, according to Williams.
The president provided an overview Friday morning – prior to being apprised of the history’s multiple-bite history – of the events that led to the dog being at the shelter. After the dog bit someone, the owner agreed to surrender the animal to the town to be destroyed, rather than the bite victim pursuing further legal remedies through the police. The animal was in quarantine at the shelter before being euthanized to ensure it didn’t have rabies.
It’s not a situation the shelter will be in again, according to Williams. The shelter has a contract to serve Springhill, Amherst and Cumberland County. But Williams said, in the future, they will not house animals condemned to die.
The president doesn’t know what if any impact that decision will have on their contract with Springhill. That will be discussed with town officials.
“We are going to be having a meeting very soon,” she said.
The shelter’s leader said by-laws may need clarification, and that improved regulations may be the positive that comes out of the confusion.
“The dog’s still at the shelter,” said Williams late Friday morning.
It was her understanding a representative for Springhill would return at the first of the week, when the situation had cooled.
“I do feel terrible… we just could not let that dog go without knowing for sure,” she said.