Animal Issues Again Dominate At Pocahontas County Commission Meeting

Marlinton, WV – There are still a few details to work out between the Pocahontas County SPCA and the Pocahontas Sheriffs’ Dept to finalize the guidelines for animal control in the county. Both parties appeared before the Pocahontas County Commission Tuesday to give an update on their progress. In some areas, the Sheriff says the SPCA may be barking up the wrong tree.

Sheriff David Jonese says the agreement now states that if a deputy is unavailable and a SPCA member picks up an animal, they would like to be reimbursed for mileage. While a rare occurrence, Jonese says it’s something he didn’t budget for, but may be able to offer a compromise. While he can’t offer reimbursement in cash, he may be able to replace fuel used to pick the animal up.

Another area of expense that the Sheriff objects to is paying for food and care of animals when the numbers exceed the shelter limits of 25 dogs and 20 cats. Again, the Sheriff says there’s no line item in his budget to cover this expense, which could be up to $ 7200.00 per month. It’s a sticky problem, as evidenced in the exchange between Pocahontas County President Martin Saffer and Jay Miller, treasurer for the SPCA.

“The County set these requirements for this contract” says Miller.

“I understand that, but can’t the SPCA also be looked to, to help defray those extra costs?” says Saffer.

Miller says there has to be some flexibility in the monetary discussions. But Saffer says the “flexibility” can’t be that the County Commission automatically pays whatever additional expenses are accrued by the SPCA.

All three Commissioners are in agreement that the SPCA will have to come up with other funding to handle the overflow. Both parties will continue discussions to finalize the agreement.

The Commission also took up the issue of creating a dog ordinance for the county. Green Bank area resident Curtis Hively has spoken to Commissioner Fleming about a constantly barking dog in his neighborhood.

After listening to the dog bark almost constantly over the July 4th weekend when the dog’s owners appeared to be absent, Hively contacted the Sheriff and was told there’s no existing dog ordinance in the county.

Residents of Minnehaha Springs were also at the meeting. Several complained about a neighbor whose 10 beagles frequently roam in a pack around the area. Commissioner Saffer points out that homeowners can take the dog owners to court, but Hively says he and others shouldn’t have to bear that expense.

Although it would not affect the Towns of Durbin, Marlinton or Hillsboro, Commissioner Fleming says he’d like to pursue a county ordinance that would give the Sheriffs dept more control.

“Right now, all the deputies and Sheriff can say is We’re sorry, we feel for you” says Fleming. But I’d like to give them a little more bite, and less bark to deal with that.”

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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