Griffin Pond Employees Find Animal Remains Behind Shelter

September 8, 2018

Griffin Pond employees found the skeletal remains of dogs and cats in several bags in a pond behind the South Abington Twp. animal shelter. The remains, discovered on Thursday, appear to be several years old, said Elaine Geroulo, president of the shelter’s board of directors, in an emailed statement. Griffin Pond officials contacted the district attorney’s office, which sent the corpses for necropsies. South Abington Twp. police were called to the scene Friday to assist the district attorney’s office, Chief Robert Gerrity said. He declined to comment further because his department is not leading the investigation. District Attorney Mark Powell did not return a voicemail Friday evening. The shelter is also conducting its own internal investigation. Interim Director Ashley Wolo said they hope to learn how many animals are in the bags, as well as how and when they died, once the necropsies are complete, which are not expected to happen until next week. On Thursday, staff had been behind the shelter examining a newly constructed shed when someone noticed a plastic bag surfacing in the pond that they hadn’t seen before. Inside were animal remains. When they found a second bag, they decided to call law enforcement, Wolo said. More bags were pulled from the water; how many in all is also unclear. “Right now we’re at a hold until we get some results,” she said. The way the animals were found runs contrary to the shelter’s policies on euthanasia and disposing of remains, officials say. In the event an animal dies in Griffin Pond’s care, the shelter contracts with a cremation service, board member Janet Garvey said. No remains return to the shelter. When an animal needs to be euthanized for medical or behavior problems, a veterinarian does it at the vet’s office or at the shelter, depending on the situation, she said. Remains in euthanasia cases also are handled by a cremation service, she said. Thursday’s discovery comes as Griffin Pond remains under heightened scrutiny stemming from a public movement more than a year ago to reform policies and replace top officials. In the past year, the shelter has made dramatic changes in leadership and practices, but continues to take criticism. “I still feel we are going in the right direction, we’re just taking care of a lot of old messes,” Wolo said. “We’re overcoming one thing at time. We wanted to handle this properly, and I think reaching out to the district attorney was the best option.” Contact the writer: joconnell@timesshamrock.com 570-348-9131; @jon_oc

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