Pocahontas County Commission At An Impasse With SPCA Over Animal Control

Marlinton, WV – On June 15th, the Pocahontas County Commission awarded a contract for animal control to the Pocahontas County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Final approval of that contract was contingent on reaching an agreement on operation guidelines for the county animal shelter. Despite several deadline extensions, SPCA Treasurer Jay Miller told the Commissioners Tuesday that it seems they are at an impasse.

“The request for operational guidelines was raised at the initiative of the SPCA; it’s not one of the contract requirements” says Miller. “And since we seem to not be able to resolve the issues it doesn’t seem there’ll be any agreement on that.”

“It doesn’t affect any of our response to the counties’ requirements nor does it affect the way that the contract has been working the last two months.”

The Allegheny Recreation Center in Marlinton currently houses the county animal shelter as a sub-contractor to the SPCA. Miller says the SPCA is willing to continue in that capacity, but is also asking the Commission to provide additional funding for veterinary expenses. He says they have already gone through the initial $5000.00 the Commission provided for these expenses. They estimate it could cost up to another $20,000.00 for the rest of the contract year.

Miller says the SPCA is asking the Commission to contribute up to $10,000.00 in matching contributions.

“Given that we’re asking for a dollar to dollar match, we would only be asking for money when we can show you that we’ve raised money” says Miller.

Commissioner Reta Griffith asked if this amount includes the initial $5000.00. Miller says the 10,000.00 would be in addition to the amount already allocated.

If the full 10,000 were allocated, the total cost for the animal control contract would rise to $89,400.00. Of that amount, $74,400.00 goes to ARC for running the animal shelter. Commission President Martin Saffer was not at the meeting Tuesday. Commissioner Reta Griffith says she’s reluctant to take any action concerning the additional funding request in his absence.

“I hate to say it, but I’m hesitant to vote on that part of it without Martin here” she says “I know that Martin’s position earlier was that he did not want to spend any additional money.”

Since the animal contract is paid through the end of September, Griffith asked that this issue be tabled until the next meeting when all three Commissioners can discuss it further.

If the veterinary issues are not resolved, Miller says the SPCA may not be able to fulfill the animal control contract. With this in mind, ARC co-owner JP Duncan gave the Commission a letter indicating their interest in directly contracting with the Commission for animal control. Commissioner Griffith thanked him for the offer, but says the Commission is not yet ready to re-bid the contract.

In other business, Duncan also gave the Commission an update on the activities of the ARC. He and co-owner John Fitzgerald lease the building from the Commission and host a variety of businesses in addition to the animal shelter. They’ve also hosted wrestling matches and are looking into the possibility of adding a bowling alley. Despite the fact that the center has yet to turn a profit, Commissioner Griffith praised Duncan and Fitzgerald for their management and entrepreneurial spirit.

“Prior to you renting this facility even though I know you’re operating at a loss, I just think this is remarkable” says Griffith. “They were able to generate $29,800.00 dollars worth of revenue. Now, granted their expenses were $34,000.00 but that building used to sit empty, [and] it was vandalized.”

“You’ve generated over 29,000.00 worth of revenue in what would have been an empty building for the County Commission; kudos to you, [and] thank you.”

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.

Current Weather