Pittsburgh Pets at Home is a mobile veterinary service that provides in-home euthanasia so that dying animals can pass away in the comfort of familiar surroundings, rather than in a cold room at a vet’s office.
Last year, the company purchased the property at 131 Washington Avenue in Bridgeville and recently received a building permit to remodel part of the building to accommodate a pet crematory.
However, a few Bridgeville residents are less than thrilled about the new business moving into town.
Several people who live near 131 Washington Avenue have voiced their opposition to the crematory at borough council meetings for at least the past eight months.
Their objections have been framed as concerns about parking, zoning, square-footage measurements, procedural matters, and the general safety of crematories.
Most recently, Bridgeville resident John Rattenni asked council to revoke a conditional use permit for the project, arguing that Bridgeville did not properly notify residents ahead of time.
“There was no notice of this,” he said at the Feb. 10 council meeting. “Our rights to have a conversation about this were taken away… Back it out and do it right.”
Bridgeville solicitor Thomas McDermott said that if Rattenni believes there is a procedural violation, the resident can take it to court.
As it stands, after 12 months of reviews, approvals, and a few site plan tweaks, borough officials determined that the crematorium complies with local requirements.
Before Pittsburgh Pets at Home fires up its natural gas-powered incinerator, though, it will have to receive permits from the Allegheny County Health Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, both of which regulate crematories and monitor air quality.
This DEP operating permit for an animal crematorium in Lancaster, Pa., for example, contains 26 pages of rules and regulations pertaining to such businesses.
Rattenni expressed disappointment that the crematorium seems to have passed all local hurdles, but he said that the issue might not be dead.
“I know that I’m not going to convince you [otherwise],” he told council. “I will deal with it the best I can, but I am very bitter about this.”
“If there is a smell, you will hear from us,” he said. “And if they continue to use my parking lot for turning around, you will hear from us.
Councilman Nino Petrocelli Sr. noted that there has been another pet crematory operating further up Washington Avenue for years, with no complaints from residents.