Pocahontas County Commission Discusses County Dog Ordinance

Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County Commissioner David Fleming has heard the complaints – incessantly barking dogs or whole pack of dogs running loose and being a general nuisance in the parts of the county. It spurred him to send a request to other counties in the state to see how they have addressed the issue. Fleming says he heard from Berkeley, Monongalia and Cabell Counties, and also from James Johnson who offered the Hillsboro town dog ordinance.

Of the four policies he looked at, Fleming says two of them address the issues he feels are most important in Pocahontas.

“Two of them, Hillsboro and Berkeley County address the nuisance aspect of noise of barking or howling” say Fleming. “The other counties from which I received policies talked about other aspects of dog control issues that were not related to noise.”

Fleming says Pocahontas County does have a version of a dog ordinance created in the 1990’s. But he says compared to other county policies, Pocahontas’ ordinance may be lacking.

“All of the policies that were sent to me go into some detail about dogs posing a danger, vaccinations, running at large” says Fleming, “our policy doesn’t go into detail about that, but basically defers to our right to have a policy based on West Virginia state code.”

He says the state code doesn’t specifically ban dogs running at large, but does allow counties to institute such a ban. Fleming does point out the Berkeley County policy excludes dogs used in hunting, law enforcement and farming from enforcement under their dog ordinance.

Fleming says he only wants to address the issues of noise and dogs running loose right now. Commission President Martin Saffer agreed saying this would dovetail nicely with the Commissions ongoing interest in animal control issues in the county. He asked Fleming to draft a policy for the Commission to consider at their next meeting.

In other business, Gary Gibson, Director of the West Virginia Dept of Agricultures’ Plant Industries division appeared before the Commission to talk about the Black Fly spraying program on the Greenbrier River. He says the impetus for the program came from the state after receiving numerous complaints from tourists in areas where black fly populations are heavy. He also says those doing the spraying take great care to avoid areas where people are located.

Commissioner Saffer asked if the spray is harmful to the honeybee population. Gibson says the spray is not used in areas where honeybees are located, and so far, they have no evidence that the spray is detrimental to the bees. Gibsons’ assistant director Sherri Hutchinson says the goal of the program is to suppress the population of the black fly, rather than eradicate it.

Snowshoe homeowner David Litsey came to the Commission meeting Tuesday to invite the Commissioners to a meeting of the Snowshoe Property Owners Council on Friday, August 13th. Litsey says they will talk about the Rigby alternative plan for the regional sewer plant. He says it’s also intended as a celebration of bringing several diverse groups together in support of the plan.

The Commissioners also made the following appointments:

David Cain to the Pocahontas County Farmland Protection Board
Jerry Ramos to the Pocahontas Parks & Recreation board
Debbie Goodwin to the Pocahontas County Free Libraries board

A request for four appointments to the Emergency Medical Serviceds Authority board was tabled until the next meeting. The Commissioners also noted that Mark Smith’s term on the Pocahontas County Public Service District board will expire in September. This appointment will be on the agenda for the next meeting and ask that that anyone interested in serving on the PSD board send a written letter of interest to the Commission prior to August 17th.

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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