Group learns dog auction illegal

The Salvation Army Citadel Corps canceled plans to auction off a toy Chihuahua to raise funds for its kettle drive last Saturday, after yips of protest and warnings the auction would be illegal.

“We understand now that it’s against Pennsylvania law,” said Capt. Matt Morrison in a voice mail to the Mirror. “Also there were the concerns of the community.”

A brief article that appeared in the Mirror that day announcing the auction unleashed a pack of calls and postings.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller wrote in a Facebook post that she was “bombarded with complaints.”

She responded with a warning couched in compliments:

“I think you are a wonderful organization [that] does incredible work for the community. … I have no doubt you had … the best of intentions. … Thank you for all the great work you do,” she wrote. “[But] I wanted to make you aware that you cannot auction a dog.”

Parks Miller cited a law that made the proposal problematic: “It shall be unlawful for any person to buy, sell, transfer barter, trade, raffle, auction or rent a dog at any public place … other than a kennel licensed pursuant to this act, or a dog show or field trial sponsored by a recognized breed or kennel association… [And only if] one of the parties to the transaction is an employee, volunteer or other person acting as an authorized representative of the kennel.”

Others also gave credit before criticism.

“I really think you have good intentions with this, but I think it is a really bad idea,” Christa Gallagher wrote on Facebook. “There are so many pets in our [area] that are sitting in shelters because of rash decisions of owners.”

“Take a minute to think this through,” Parks Miller wrote.

Central Pennsylvania Humane Society Officer Paul Gutshall also contacted the Army about the illegality of the proposal, according to state police spokesman Trooper Jeff Petucci.

Morrison got the message: “We understand it was in poor judgment,” he wrote on Facebook, explaining that the idea was not originally the Army’s.

The auction was the suggestion of Johnstown promoter James Crum, who was going to donate the dog, “Donny Boy.”

“We will do better at looking at other ways to raise funds in future,” Morrison wrote.

“Canceling this was the correct and moral thing,” wrote Dawn Cohenour on Facebook, approvingly.

“We listened to what they had to say,” Morrison stated in his message to the Mirror.

“Your heart was in the right place,” Cohenour wrote.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.