Chief of McKees Rocks kennel trying to get facility on track
Dogs sit in their cages at Triangle Pet Control Service.
Brian Holzer of Triangle Pet Control Service cleans cages Wednesday at the company's McKees Rocks facility.
A dog claws at his cage Wednesday at Triangle Pet Control Services in McKees Rocks. Triangle Pet was cited by the state for failing to maintain records and sanitary conditions at the kennel, which has served more than 50 of the county's municipalities.
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The chief of Triangle Pet Control Service says he's entering negotiations to buy the company from the current owner to provide better animal control services to the region.
"We're not bad people," said Paul McIntyre, who has worked at the facility for 28 years. "The owner had the problems, not us. My guys want to help dogs."
Mr. McIntyre took over as chief of the McKees Rocks kennel in January shortly after state police brought charges against the owner, Bernard Dudash, for tampering with records and inflating the number of dogs the shelter euthanized in order to receive more state reimbursement.
He knew his boss was reporting hundreds of fictitious euthanizations each quarter, he said, but his hands were tied.
"It was either I shut up, or I lose my job," he said.
The kennel's license was officially suspended Oct. 1 by the state Department of Agriculture after a warden visited the site in August and cited Mr. Dudash for failing to maintain records and sanitary requirements.
Triangle Pet had been serving dozens of Allegheny County municipalities.
The state said they cannot comment on what would happen to the kennel's standing if Mr. McIntyre purchased the company because it hasn't happened.
Mr. McIntyre now finds himself between a rock and a hard place again.
The 23 dogs housed at the kennel need other homes in light of the suspension, but he said for the past few weeks shelters that previously took some of the animals Triangle picked up have been keeping their distance.
To make matters more difficult, he can't find a veterinarian to work with the kennel either, he said.
"The vets I've called to reach out for help hear Triangle Pet and won't help us," he said. "They don't want the bad publicity."
For example, a light brown dog that looks like a pit bull mix was picked up by Triangle a couple of weeks ago. It appears to be extremely sick -- its bones are visible.
Under the suspension, Triangle is not allowed to euthanize, board, sell or acquire dogs until the outcome of a hearing on the suspension Dec. 4.
And without a veterinarian willing to visit the site, Mr. McIntyre said he's running out of options.
"If we can get a vet and get help, we'd be able to get on the right track," he said.
Mr. McIntyre said he's tried to contact the county dog warden -- whom the state said was reaching out to local shelters to see if any can take Triangle's dogs -- but to no avail. Samantha Krepps, a spokeswoman for the agriculture department, said Triangle has been in touch with the agency's legal office in relation to the proper steps to take with the animals.
Ms. Krepps also said Triangle has not yet provided the department with the appropriate paperwork agreeing to turn over the dogs to nonprofits, such as shelters.
In response to the sick dog, she recommended that someone contact state police or a humane officer to help the animal because her department does not handle cases of animal cruelty.
First Published October 4, 2012 12:00 am