Focus will be on fostering dogs

MILTON — With Haven to Home Canine Rescue preparing to shift its focuses, a group of volunteers are coming together with the hope of providing services to stray dogs that are found in Milton.

Milton Borough Manager Jessie Novinger announced during this week’s council meeting that Haven to Home notified the borough it will be ending its memorandum of understanding to handle stray dogs in the borough, effective July 31.

Melissa Rowse, Haven to Home president, said the organization has several board members from Milton whose terms on the board will be expiring at the end of August. She is one of those members.

“The new board decided they wanted to close the kennel and focus on fosters,” Rowse said. “It’s so hard to run a building, with heat and rent.”

She said it’s also difficult to find volunteers willing to fill all of the shifts necessary to care for the stray dogs seven days per week.

“It was an extremely difficult (decision),” Rowse said. “We love the kennel. We think it serves a wonderful purpose. It allowed us to bring dogs in and have them bedded.”

She said Haven to Home was paying $650 per month for rent of the facility it uses as a kennel on Cherry Street. In addition, heating bills were between $3,000 and $4,000 per year.

While Haven to Home Canine Rescue will now focus on providing in-home foster care to dogs, Rowse is part of a small group of volunteers coming together with the hope of eventually offering kenneling services to stray dogs found in Milton.

“I’m a dog owner myself,” Rowse said. “Things happen, dogs get out. I would hope that someone, somewhere would pick up my own dog and place them somewhere safe... I feel that’s something we should do for the community. It’s neighborly.”

Most often, Rowse said stay dogs are returned to their owners within three days of being placed in the Haven to Home kennel.

She added that Haven to Home takes in fewer than 10 stray dogs each year which are never claimed by their owners.

Rowse said a number of steps must be taken in order for the new group to proceed.

“We would need to file to be a 501c3,” she said. “We need to file for a kennel license. We need to have some funding.”

By November, she said the group will have to decide if it can move forward with its efforts. The hope is to begin applying for 501c3 status in January.

“This new group would need volunteers to help with lost and found phone calls,” Rowse said. “If we would be able to secure enough to rent that space again, we would need volunteers to cover shifts.”

Currently, she said Haven to Home is caring for three dogs at its kennel.

“We are hoping to have them adopted by Aug. 31,” Rowse said. “Two of them have applications in the works. We do have one dog that needs a home, her name is Rosie.”

She offered thanks to everyone who has supported Haven to Home, particularly over the last seven years as it has operated its kennel in Milton.

“Thank you very much to the Milton Borough for all of their support and believing in us,” Rowse said. “Thank you for the financial support from the community.

“We have a very nice backbone of volunteers,” she continued. “We would like to have more volunteers. We are very, very thankful.”

Anyone who would like to become involved with or support the volunteers coming together with the hopes of continuing to care for stray dogs in Milton can contact Rowse at 570-556-7907 or Angie Cooper at 570-854-4512.


Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email

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