Sean Billings said he doesn't know the details of the contract issues between East Manchester Township and the York County SPCA.

"I don't know what the problem is, but we have (stray) dogs and cats that need help," Billings, a township resident, said. "What do you want me to do, not help them? I can't ignore animals that are crying and starving."

East Manchester Township board members haven't signed a contract for SPCA stray animal services in 2013 and never signed a contract for 2012.

Despite having no contract for 2012, SPCA executive director Melissa Smith said the organization continued providing services as supervisors mulled contract renewal.

The SPCA's fee structure charges 50 cents per capita for each municipality. For East Manchester Township, that meant $3,632 last year.

The township offered to pay $1,500, which the SPCA refused, as it does not negotiate its fees, Smith said. The township paid the 2012 fee in May this year, though it was due March 2012, according to Smith.

Township's response: After their meeting Tuesday, township supervisors said the township has an animal control officer and they have not heard complaints from residents unsatisfied with stray animal service.

Supervisors Steven Gross Jr. and Barry Rudisill said the SPCA provides a great service to York County, but should be willing to negotiate its fees or charge a per-animal fee.


Gross said the SPCA's fee is actually a taxation, as municipalities use taxpayer money to pay bills. No nonprofit organization should have that type of financial authority over a municipality, he said.

"(The SPCA wants) a tax from the township," Gross said. "They're not listening to the township's concerns. It's very disheartening."

The SPCA already receives funding from York County and solicits donations from residents who already paid their fees through their municipalities' contracts with the organization, Gross said.

Supervisor David

Naylor said he wants the township to revisit the SPCA contract issue. He said he wants to do what is best for residents, whether that means paying the SPCA fee or working with the organization to develop a fee formula that is a "reasonable economical service for our citizens."

Naylor said he personally thinks the SPCA fee is fair.

Calls for help: The fees are used to provide housing for stray animals, Smith said, adding that people donate money to the SPCA of their own free will. The organization does not require a tax, but a contract to render stray animal services to municipalities, she said.

Since March, the SPCA has received eight calls or visits from East Manchester Township residents who found more than a dozen stray dogs, cats and kittens, according to Smith.

The organization has turned away residents -- and the animals -- because there is no contract with the township, Smith said.

"This is not entirely an animal issue, but a resident issue," she said. "Residents are finding animals and can't get help for them. This is a bind (township officials) are putting their residents in continually."

Billings said he and his wife, Jeorice Billings, found two cats -- one pregnant and bleeding -- in Saginaw about three weeks ago and took them to the SPCA. The couple was referred to the township, Smith said.

Billings said he could not find a township official or another organization to help the animals, so he returned to the SPCA because of the pregnant cat's dire medical condition. The organization treated both animals, only charging a small fee, Billings said.

He said the township needs the SPCA to help overcome the stray animal problem. The SPCA's fee is more than fair, Billings added.

"They just want 50 cents per person?" he asked. "I don't mind doing that. I pay taxes, so I was kind of irate that the township didn't help me ... the SPCA did."