A Franklin County man is giving unwanted animals a second lease on life. George Statler runs the Mountainside Pet Rescue out of his home in Upper Strasburg.
"Dogs here cost no money ” he said. “The price of a dog is a good home."
The 77-year-old started the no-kill rescue in 1999 after adopting a severely neglected pit bull named Duke. “His whole tail -- you could see every bone ” he said.
Statler a Vietnam veteran and retired sergeant major from Letterkenny Army Depot funds the rescue through his own monthly Social Security checks. He takes in dogs who are too feisty to be adopted whose owners can no longer care for them and most importantly dogs who simply aren't wanted.
“I just can’t imagine why anyone would want to pitch these dogs ” he said. “They live better than I do because I clean their pens every day. Mine might not get cleaned until next week!"
He also gives them a special place to rest after they die. He built a pet cemetery and a chapel for pet funerals. He has already created a memorial for his two favorites. “Me Duke and Dozer already got our stone. We're ready to go ” he said.
Statler and his wife currently take care of 85 dogs with just one extra helper. So they rely on a few community donations to help with vet care costs.
Next Saturday the Pet Store on Lincoln Way East in Chambersburg will hold a safety fun fair from 12-2 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Mountainside Pet Rescue.
Donations can be sent to Mountainside Pet Rescue 7705 Upper Horse Valley Road Upper Strasburg PA 17265. Checks can be made payable to “Mountainside Pet Rescue.”