South Huntingdon’s Pet Adoption League is considering a move, ending a multi-year feud between the animal shelter and its founder.
The league has a 99-year lease that allows it to lease its current location for $ 1 a year to Barbara Flanigan, who founded the shelter about 30 years ago. His house is next to the shelter and the two buildings share a driveway on Spring Street in the Yukon.
The league’s board of directors fired Flanigan in 2013, and the relationship between the refuge and its founder has been strained ever since, prompting numerous duel lawsuits.
Westmoreland County Judge Richard McCormick ordered Flanigan not to enter the kennel property after being accused of entering it and harassing its staff and volunteers. Flanigan was sentenced to 10 days in prison in 2017 after repeated violations of this order.
Pet Adoption League Director Sarah Jo Smith said staying at the site was not worth the “ongoing battle” and the legal costs.
“We ended up buying 10 acres from us, and we’re going to be leaving the property, but that also involves the construction of new buildings,” she said.
The league will set up a temporary office in a trailer on a 3-acre property it owns on Spring Street as it raises funds to build a new permanent location on Bells Mills Road in Wyano.
“We need some serious fundraising,” Smith said. “We need around $ 250,000 to build the kennel.”
Flanigan said she would be happy to see the league go.
“We came to an agreement and they are finally leaving my property, and I think both parties are happy that it’s over,” she said. “It has been a long, very ugly, very bitter conflict. “
She’s not sure what to do with the land and buildings after leaving the league – she is considering renting to a vet clinic or other rescue group, but could use it for some other purpose, she declared.
The league adopts more than 500 animals a year, but will suspend adoption activities for about a year as it struggles to fund and build a new shelter, Smith said.
“Our main objective will be to raise funds to increase our breeding,” she said.
In December 2018, the Pennsylvania State Department banned the Pet Adoption League from fundraising because the league failed to complete required legal documents from charities. The issue has been resolved and the league can once again solicit donations, Smith said.
The league will be leaving the Spring Street shelter by July 15 and must find homes for several cats and dogs before that date.
For Flanigan, July 15 will mark the last chapter of his relationship with the group.
“This is how it ends,” she said. “I really don’t wish them bad at this point in the game. I just wish them to leave my property.