Penbrook woman says she will still help feral cats despite possible citation

Investigations

PENBROOK, Pa. (WHTM) — Paula Grunden is an animal lover, but she says Penbrook Police told her she will be cited if she continues to help feral cats in the borough.

“Police said if I brought a cat home from York after being spayed and neutered and I got caught I would get a citation,” Grunden said.

Grunden showed abc27 an abandoned building on Herr and North 27th Streets in Penbrook that has become what she calls a breeding ground for feral cats.

“There’s a lot,” Paula Grunden said. “Female cats can have three to five litters a year.”

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“You see them jumping in and out of these windows,” Joseph Gravino Jr. said.

Gravino’s business is next to the abandoned building. He gave Grunden permission to set up traps on his property so she could catch the feral cats and take them to the York County SPCA to get rabies shots and spayed or neutered.

“She is spending time and money. I appreciate it. She is working for the community,” Gravino said.

Grunden says she was recently told by Penbrook Police she has to stop what she is doing or she will get cited.

“I asked permission. I was told I don’t need a permit to set a trap. What I am doing is good,” Grunden said.

“She is not breaking the law. She is trying to help the situation out,” Gravino said.

According to Penbrook Police Chief and Borough Manager Joseph Hogarth, a neighbor complained to police saying the food Grunden was putting out was attracting more cats which were going to the bathroom on his property and belongings.

Chief Hogarth directed abc27 to this borough ordinance:

Article III § 92-14. Desecration.

A. No owner, custodian, or keeper of any cat shall suffer or permit such cat to defile, befoul, corrupt, or otherwise desecrate any sidewalk, walkway, or other property of another.
B. Every owner, custodian, or keeper of any cat which defecates on any sidewalk, public street, any highway, or property of another shall promptly clean up and remove all feces discharged and dispose of such feces in a lawful and sanitary manner

Chief Hogarth also told the abc27 Investigators the borough is more interested in solving the problem than issuing citations.

Paula says she has to feed the cats so they can be spayed or neutered.

“I have to feed them to make sure they are at three pounds before they can even go through the procedure. There is all of these people up here complaining about stray cats, not one person said well what can we do to help,” Paula said. “I am going to continue doing this because it is not a crime.”

Chief Hogarth says the issue will be discussed at the next Penbrook Borough council meeting on Monday, October 18th at 6:30 p.m.

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