South Whitehall saved money this year by picking The Sanctuary at Haafsville over the Lehigh County Humane Society for animal control services but they are still paying more than North Whitehall for the same service and Commissioner David Bond wants to investigate recouping some of the costs from pet owners.
In South Whitehall, the Humane Society bid $10,200 for a 2013 annual contract and The Sanctuary bid $6,000. In North Whitehall, The Sanctuary is charging $50 to collect cats and $100 for dogs.
During the Wednesday night meeting Bond told fellow commissioners he looked at the law and "it's pretty glaring that we are allowed to collect money...the township can collect $50" from pet owners.
"We are looking at $200-300 per animal as opposed to North Whitehall which is $50 cat and $100 for dogs," Bond said. "I recommend we look at our options and possibly ask owners who collect the animals to reimburse the township."
Bond suggested establishing a fee and working with the Sanctuary for a method to collect. When the pet owners are able to pick up an animal before it goes to the Sanctuary, Police Chief Thomas Toth said they are charged $15.
"When this contract is up we need to look at it closely," Bond said.
Township Manager Jon Hammer said the difference in fees the Sanctuary charges South and North Whitehall came about because South Whitehall canceled its contract with them and North Whitehall remained current.
"Current customers got a per animal fee but since we weren’t with them and went with the humane society we were not afforded that opportunity," Hammer said.
North Whitehall supervisors didn't even consider a bid from the Humane Society this this year after a bid three years ago that came in at $7,400. North Whitehall has opted for The Sanctuary, based in Upper Macungie, ever since.
Last year, South Whitehall had a but decided to end it without giving a reason at the time. It was explained later that the Sanctuary was not yet state-certified.
Before choosing not to renew its contract with the Humane Society in 2011, South Whitehall had relied on the Humane Society for animal control services for 19 years.
North Whitehall Secretary Treasurer Brenda Norder said in January that licensing wasn't an issue for North Whitehall. The lack of license required animals to be housed in Berks County for 48 hours.
Both townships estimated about 20 - 30 strays were picked up last year - making North Whitehall's deal much less expensive.