Dog Tethering: An Encore Presentation at Pocahontas Commission Meeting

What looked to be a short, boring Pocahontas County Commission meeting on November 19th, was livened up by an encore presentation about dog tethering by Alice Arbuckle.

At the September 17th Pocahontas Commission meeting, Arbuckle, concerned by the number of “forlorn” dogs she has observed cruelly tethered in the county, asked the commissioners to revise the county dog ordinance using the Kanawha County Animal Cruelty & Canine Tethering Ordinance as a model for those revisions. That meeting was packed by people upset by that proposal. At the time, the commissioners agreed to talk with Josh Vaughn, the Animal Control Officer, to see if he needed additional resources to investigate problems like that.

When Arbuckle re-appeared at the November 19th meeting, she wanted to know what follow-up on this the commissioners had done and brought them a copy of WV Code Article 8, Section 61-8-19 (H)  which makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $300.00  to $2000.00 and/or 6 months imprisonment to “cruelly tether or chain an animal.” She said she could not find a definition of “cruelly” in the Code.

Commissioner Helmick explained that they had spoken to Josh Vaughn, and he said he had enough resources to enforce both the County Ordinance and the state animal cruelty laws and responds to all complaints about tethered dogs. Arbuckle said she remains concerned by the many dogs cruelly tethered all over the county and that she has called Animal Control a number of times to report her neighbors, who in her opinion, keep their dog cruelly tethered outside year-round. But only on one occasion was the dog removed in response to her call, and even then, it was returned shortly.

Once again, the commissioners agreed to look into this.

Before abruptly leaving the room, an emotional and frustrated Arbuckle said “It’s not just that dog! it’s throughout the county that the dogs are in the same predicament, and now the winter is here!”

Lauren Bennett, the Director of the County Parks and Recreation delivered their annual update. She said that since the Hotel/motel tax revenues are up, they are doing well and are in a position to make improvements to their facilities. She mentioned that they want to put a bike park and bike playground in Stillwell Park and that Snowshoe Mountain resort donated skateboard ramps to Stillwell Park also. They are looking at replacing the roofs on pavilions at Cass and Stillwell parks; adding a fitness center and an interpretive trail at Cass; adding toddler play equipment; and maybe hiring a part-time, or possibly a full-time person to supervise at the Wellness Center in Marlinton.

The Commissioners said they met with an engineer and representatives of the Public Service District at the East Fork Industrial Park to inspect the proposed easement the District wants to obtain from the commission at that site. The commissioners were satisfied by their inspection, that granting the easement will not cause any issues with future uses of that county property, but may actually help. They approved the proposed deed and agreement with the Public Service District.

The Commission’s Counsel, Bob Martin, reported that he is putting together an employment application for non-lawyers to apply for the position of Fiduciary Commissioner. He also reported that the opioid litigation is moving along and that the judge would like to see it settled by the end of the year, but Martin feels that is too optimistic of a time-frame.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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