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PA Animal Control Facility Shut Down by State, Charges Filed

In Pennsylvania, 58 municipalities contract with Triangle Pet Animal Control Services to pick up stray dogs.  The state Department of Agriculture pays Triangle Pet $30 for every dog it kills.  So guess where the incentive lies with this arrangement?

In what will come as a shock to no one with a brain, Triangle Pet has allegedly been keeping dogs in unsanitary conditions and failing to provide vet care to suffering dogs.  An August inspection found one dog whose body and run were covered in dried vomit.  The owner and a long time employee have been charged in connection with the death of another dog who was allowed to suffer without vet care at Triangle Pet.

In addition, the state shut the facility down on October 1 after an investigation revealed Triangle Pet had been defrauding taxpayers by billing the state for dead dogs who never existed:

Police allege the owner submitted 8,000 fictitious dogs in two quarters and in the process shortchanged the Department of Agriculture nearly $38,000.

Gee, maybe the state of PA should reconsider its Pay by the Body Bag policy.  Not only is there incentive for an agency such as Triangle Pet to allow dogs to suffer and die, but the policy raises a number of other troubling questions.  For example, if Triangle Pet picked up a loose dog, do you think there was any effort made to return the dog to the owner?  Were the impounded dogs fed?

If PA paid by live release instead of mere written reports of dead dogs, auditors could authenticate the reports by making random calls to rescuers and adopters of the live released pets, allowing for third party verification.  Obviously no one is going to dig up the local landfill checking to make sure there are 8000 dead dogs there.

Which brings me to my next question, why did it take so long to file charges?  An inspector apparently noted at one point that the records for a dog supposedly killed by Triangle Pet were missing.  Shouldn’t inspectors have caught something after the first 100 or 500 or 4000 phony dead dogs were reported?  Had action been taken sooner, fewer actual dogs would have been forced to suffer and die at Triangle Pet.

The owner and employees seem rather dismissive of the charges, telling a local reporter that a fine would be paid, ownership of the facility would be transferred to “another person’s name” and Triangle Pet would be back in business.  I certainly hope not.  A hearing has been scheduled for December 4.

The roughly 2 dozen dogs who were at Triangle Pet at the time the state shut it down have been sent to other area shelters.

(Thank you Arlene for alerting me to this story.)

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