Expanded Berkeley Co. animal control dedicated

May 23, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - John Reisenweber came to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Berkeley County Animal Control's expanded facility Thursday because of his job.

He left with a promise to return today, when a formerly unwanted dog will hop into Reisenweber's Volkswagen with him. After finding out the large brown and black male dog was scheduled to be put down, Reisenweber could not resist.

Walking over to Berkeley County Commissioner Steve Teufel after making his promise, Reisenweber put a hand on Teufel's shoulder.

"I took one," Reisenweber said. "I should've known better than to come down here."

The local field representative for U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Reisenweber said he hopes he finds someone to adopt the dog, but will keep him if necessary. Reisenweber and his wife already have one cat and three dogs, two of which were rescued.


"Maybe I can convince Mom and Dad to take it," Reisenweber said of his newfound buddy.

Without the expansion, Reisenweber's dog might already have been put to sleep.

At a cost of $171,000, the expansion added more runs to animal control's South Queen Street facility. Previously, six runs were in place for dogs that were picked up, many because they were running loose.

The new section has 15 runs, each 8 feet by 16 feet. Those can be divided in half, meaning up to 30 runs are available if needed.

On their best behavior, not a single one of the 18 or so dogs in the facility barked, howled, yapped or whined during the ceremony.

The ribbon-cutting was delayed as county officials and others wandered around the new kennel section, patting dogs through their chain link enclosures.

One that seemed to catch many eyes was a small, spotted mixed-breed female that looked to possibly be part Dalmatian and part hound.

Berkeley County Animal Control Officer Terry Orndorff said the dog was too skinny, but has put on some weight. Shy and in need of a bath, it was a few minutes before the dog would let Orndorff touch her. She seemed more comfortable with women.

Animal Control Warden Ray Strine said that is not uncommon.

"You'd be surprised how many dogs will come to a woman that won't come to a man," Strine said.

Officer Victoria Hess has a theory on why some dogs will come to her, but not male co-workers.

"A lot have been abused. More than likely, not being sexist, it's usually by a man," Hess said.

Whether it's because she's only been with the department for a few months, or because she is a woman, Hess said it's especially hard for her to see the dogs put down. Four or five of the dogs at the facility are scheduled to be euthanized.

The spotted female mix is already living on borrowed time, Orndorff said, because she was scheduled to be euthanized earlier this week. Dogs, by law, must be kept for at least five days.

Because she's a nice dog, Orndorff said euthanasia was delayed with the hope someone will adopt her.

"I adopt as many out as I can," Hess said, adding that some of her family members have taken dogs. Others go to the Berkeley County Humane Society, where they are kept longer.

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