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County to send bill for cleaning up after dogs

July 20, 2000

County to send bill for cleaning up after dogs



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The county is sending the owners of a house that once contained as many as 30 Russian wolfhounds a $1,700 clean-up bill.

Beverly Joan Lord and her daughter, Terri Lynn Snodgrass, must pay at least $2,000 in legal fees related to the case, according to Berkeley County Administrator Deborah Sheetenhelm-Hammond.

More than two dozen of the dogs, which are known as Borzois, and animal feces were found in the house after police and animal control officers responded to a 911 call at the house on May 17, authorities have said.

Frank M. Snodgrass, 48, who lived at the house with his wife, Terri, has been charged with six counts of animal cruelty.

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The Berkeley County Commissioners discussed on Thursday how to handle the personal belongings still in the townhouse, which is on Morningside Drive in the Spring Mill subdivision in Falling Waters, W.Va.

After obtaining a Circuit Court order to clean the house and pass along the bill, the county hired Gerald Taylor & Co. Inc. of Williamsport, Md., to clean the excrement with septic tank cleaning equipment at a cost of $1,690, according to Sheetenhelm-Hammond.

County officials believe the house is still unsafe. Sheetenhelm-Hammond said that the floor in the kitchen, where a makeshift dog pen was set up, is rotting badly. Several times, vinyl covering was laid on top of feces, creating up to seven layers, she said.

"Somebody has to move pretty aggressively to clean that place up because it's a disaster waiting to happen," said Norwood Bentley III, the County Commission's attorney, who suggested that demolition may be the solution.

The county has condemned the house. A next-door neighbor moved out of his house because of the feces' odor.

Commissioner Robert Burkhart said he is "very disappointed" that the owners of the house have not been in touch with the county in several weeks.

Contacted Wednesday afternoon at her Alabama home, Beverly Lord said she has not heard from the county in a while about the clean-up.

She said she is aware that the court order states that she will be billed for the clean-up. Lord is listed on the deed as a co-owner, but only because she put a down payment on the house for her daughter and son-in-law, she said.

When she first heard that so many dogs were found in the house, "It was quite a shock," Lord said.

Most of the dogs were dirty and malnourished, and a few later died of a viral attack.

Lord said that the belongings left in the house belong to her daughter and son-in-law, who should be responsible for removing them. Other items are stacked up on a back porch.

County officials said they have not heard from Terri Lynn Snodgrass in a while, either. Sheetenhelm-Hammond and Lord said that she still lives in Berkeley County.

The county has also lost touch with Frank Snodgrass, who is free on $5,000 bail, officials said.

Burkhart said the county should remove the personal items from the house and take them to the dump so the clean-up can continue, but Bentley cautioned against the idea.

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