Pocahontas Humane Society – ARC Owners At Impasse Over County Animal Shelter

Marlinton, WV – The Pocahontas County Humane Society and the owners of Allegheny Recreational Center in Marlinton are at an impasse when it comes to the county animal shelter. Both organizations appeared before the PCC Tuesday to talk about the animal shelter currently located in the ARC building.

The Humane Society agreed to take over the duties of county animal control officer Sandy Mallow when she stepped down last December. They sub-contracted with ARC owners John Fitzgerald and JP Duncan to upgrade part of the ARC building to use as an animal shelter.

When the Humane Society budget was approved by the Pocahontas County Commission, the ARC owners assumed it included money that would be paid to them to continue to run the animal shelter. But the Humane Society wants to use part of that budget to hire a shelter manager and sub-lease the shelter space in the ARC building, something Fitzgerald and Duncan are unwilling to do. Humane Society President Leslie McCarty says the shelter manager is needed in order to take the burden of managing adoptions and rescues off the shoulders of volunteers.

Fitzgerald and Duncan would prefer the County Commission open up the contract for bids. This could put the humane society at a disadvantage if they can’t work out an agreement with ARC to provide shelter space. The ARC owners say there is another animal welfare group in the county willing to partner with them to provide the services now covered by the Humane Soc. This is a surprise to both the HS and the Commissioners. ARC declined to say who the group is.

After further discussion, the Commission voted to put the contract up for bid. The new contract will go into effect on July 1st.

In other business, PC Coordinator Jay Miller offered advice on how to proceed with planning for the county. He says there are three guiding assumptions – the Commission would need to adopt a county ordinance establishing a planning commission, such a commission should have 5 to 15 members including several who have lived in the county for 3 years or more, and that land use is only one topic of discussion and may not be the primary topic.

Miller says information for a planning commission could be collected in two ways – either through public meetings, perhaps hosted by a group like Create Pocahontas, or through an appointed committee of 12 to 15 interested citizens. Both Commission President Martin Saffer and Commissioner David Fleming favor the more structured form of an appointed committee. Commissioner Griffith agrees saying that while Create Pocahontas may not want to take this task, they would most likely need to be involved at some point.

For now, the Commissioners are asking that anyone interested in being part of committee to study comprehensive planning please contact the County Commission.

The re-appointment of David Henderson to the Solid Waste Authority did not happen as expected. Although supported by SWA Chairman Ed Riley, Commissioners Fleming and Griffith both said they’ve been contacted by other county residents expressing an interest in serving on the board. While Commissioner Saffer says he’d be surprised to find someone as qualified as Henderson, he agreed to advertise for the position and move the appointment to the next meeting in June.

Other actions by the Commission Tuesday include:

The sale of the PMH Home Health Agency to Amedysis for 400,000.00

Endorsement of a five thousand dollar match for the Town of Hillsboro for a grant to paint the interior of the Towns water tank. Hillsboro Mayor Anne Walker says they have raised almost half the money needed to do the job. She hopes to secure grant funding to make up the difference.

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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