Cumru Township, PA -  The Animal Rescue League of Berks County says it is implementing new procedures after two family pets were euthanized.

"The following is what we have done and what we are working on to prevent an additional incident from occurring," Tom Hubric, interim executive director of the shelter in Cumru Township, wrote Sunday in a post on the organization's Facebook page explaining the changes.

Last month, an Exeter Township kindergartner's cat, Violet, was put down for "aggressive behavior." A Fleetwood couple's cat, Sir Didymus or Diddy, was euthanized just weeks later; the ARL said it, too, displayed aggressive behavior.

Both cats were apparently believed to be strays and turned over to the shelter.

Hubric said last week that the euthanization of Diddy was a result of "human error." The cat had been scanned twice by technicians, he said, but the rice-sized microchip had moved farther up the pet's neck from where it is usually placed between the shoulder blades and was not found until it was too late.

"Two veterinarians trained our staff how to properly scan animals for microchips," he said Sunday in an interview, "and a new microchip scanner will provide additional range."

Hubric said any animals displaying aggression will be sedated so that they can be properly scanned.

Management also has implemented a 48-hour minimum hold policy for cats, he said, doubling the hold time established last month after the first incident.

But the extra time is putting a strain on the organization's resources, he said.

"We need more space for more cats, more staff to care for the increased cat population, more cat food, litter and other supplies, and additional veterinary care," Hubric said. "That means greater labor, materials and veterinary costs."

The ARL provides animal control in the entire county and receives some funding from the city and other municipalities, he said.

"However, the amount we are receiving doesn't begin covering expenses," he said.

The organization relies on donations to continue its mission. The donations are crucial, Hubric said, at a time when some are threatening to boycott the shelter.

The ARL brings in about 10 cats each day, he said, or about 4,000 a year.

Hubric urged cat owners to act responsibly by spaying and neutering their cats and keeping them indoors.

"Do cats sneak out? Yes, they do," he said, "but that should be a rare occurrence."

Contact Michelle N. Lynch: 610-371-5084 or mlynch@readingeagle.com.