Standing Room Only At Commission Meeting For Second Reading Of Dog Ordinance

Marlinton, WV – It was standing room only as the Pocahontas County Commission began the second reading of the proposed county dog ordinance at their meeting Tuesday. As workman pounded on the roof overhead, Ralph Beckwith voiced his concern about the ordinance.

“I am concerned that it is just the beginning of more regulations and more regulations that you add on” says Beckwith.

He says he thought it was a noise ordinance, but discovered it applied only to dogs after speaking with Commissioner Reta Griffith.

“And I’m gonna say it straight out, she felt that the other two Commissioners [were] trying to push it right on through and said they are going to do it regardless” says Beckwith.

Beckwith implied that the other two Commissioners want to pass the ordinance for political reasons rather than a need for the ordinance. Jamie Walker says he’s bothered by the lack of guidelines.

“You have absolutely no guidelines on this at all” says Walker “as to when it becomes a problem, how many times it’s got to be reported before it becomes a problem; it just says it’s up to the Sheriff and his deputies when and where it’s going to be a problem.”

Alice Arbuckle says she’s worried she won’t be able to let her dog run free when enjoying the outdoors.

“I’m here because I’m a dog owner” she says. “I consider her my fur child; I live alone and she’s my companion. And I gotta admit, she’s not on the leash all the time; I’m on the River Trail, I let her go, she needs to run.”

Dixie and Lee Stine, of Frank, are in favor of the ordinance. They’ve tried to resolve a dispute with their next door neighbor whose dog barks constantly when tied up between their houses. They’ve also been told that there’s nothing the Pocahontas County Sheriffs’ department can do about the situation under the current regulations.

Commission Administrative Asst Sue Helton reads from a letter from Pocahontas resident Tim Morris.

“Being a lifelong county resident and past owner of hunting dogs myself, I’m writing to let you know that I support your effort to pass a dog ordinance as long as our enforcement officers use some common sense while enforcing this new ordinance” says Morris.

Helton says she’s also received several phone calls both in favor and in opposition to the ordinance. Commissioner David Fleming, author of the proposed ordinance, says the document has undergone several revisions and is not perfect.

“What I’m trying to exemplify is that there are aspects of this ordinance which certainly will need to be revisited in the days ahead” says Fleming “some things will need to be improved. What I want to see us do is have this as a starting point from which we can improve it going forward.”

Commission President Martin Saffer made a motion to adopt the discussion as the second official reading of the dog ordinance. The motion passed two to one with Commissioner Griffith opposed. The Commission must have a third official reading before the ordinance becomes county law.

The Commissioners also took the following actions Tuesday:

Had the second official reading of the new County Floodplain ordinance
Appointed Dr. Charles Eric Clay to the Pocahontas County Emergency Medical Services Authority Board
Recognized the week of November 7 through the 13th as a celebration of the Pocahontas County Scottish Rite Club on their 30th anniversary
Approved the purchase of fire extinguishers for the former Hanover Shoe building in Marlinton
And approved a road name change from Fairview Road to Clifford Sharp Road.

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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