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Commissioners voice concerns with Humane Society director

October 16, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday told the executive director of the county's Humane Society to be proactive in responding to concerns raised by citizens and animal welfare groups.

The advice came after the Humane Society issued citations to Second Chance Rescue of Inwood, W.Va., alleging dogs taken by Second Chance to PetSmart on Garland Groh Boulevard for adoption weren't being properly treated while on display.

The county Animal Control Authority ruled on Oct. 1 that there was no evidence of abuse or mistreatment of the dogs and dismissed the citations.

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At the County Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Commissioner William J. Wivell told Humane Society Executive Director Maria Procopio he has received complaints from animal groups and citizens about practices at the Humane Society. He said the complaints have increased during the past two weeks.

"You're going to have to sit down with them - whether it's you or the (Humane Society Board of Directors) - and try to work with them," Wivell said to Procopio. "It just seems like we have to work with them and not against them."

Procopio agreed to meet with concerned groups and residents, but said some complaints were lodged by what she called a disgruntled employee.

She also said some groups resent the Humane Society because it has the ability to enforce the county's Animal Control Ordinance.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said Procopio should be proactive in responding to concerns and complaints.

Commissioner Bert Iseminger said meeting with those who voice concerns might reduce controversy.

He also said the Humane Society should provide a satisfactory service.

"Our role is to make sure you are providing that service," Iseminger told Procopio, adding that it was up to the Humane Society to work out how to accomplish that.

After the meeting, Iseminger said he and Wivell had met with some animal groups and residents and that many of their concerns dealt with the way the Humane Society communicates with the public.

"I think a lot of that is just some misunderstandings that have come about, and that needs to be addressed," Iseminger said.

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