Animal care costs near $165,000

June 08, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Expenses associated with taking care of 149 dogs seized in an animal cruelty case last year totaled nearly $165,000, Berkeley County officials learned Thursday.

Mara Spade, who ran the Second Chance Rescue animal shelter, was charged with one count of animal cruelty and the case still is pending, officials said.

In a June 29, 2006, visit to the Second Chance Rescue shelter off Harlan Springs Road, a Martinsburg-area veterinarian reported seeing dogs exhibiting lameness, poor skin and haircoats, and open wounds in pens that had inadequate ventilation, sanitation, water and food, according to court records.

The county began taking care of the dogs, and it was learned during the Berkeley County Commission meeting Thursday that expenses in the case totaled $164,883.


Berkeley County Sheriff W. Randy Smith emphasized that no taxpayer money was used to care for the dogs.

Of the $164,883, $68,747 were charges to Spade for keeping the dogs, Smith said. Another $96,135 was spent by foster families that helped take care of the dogs, Smith said.

Smith said $50,000 from Spade went to the foster care bill, and $38,325 from a county kennel fund went toward payment of the foster bill.

The $38,325 came from a county kennel fund that was established through sources such as fines from violations of animal laws, Smith said.

Another $7,810.35 is due to the foster families and that will be paid from the kennel fund, Smith said.

Nine of the dogs either died because of health problems or because they had to be euthanized because of health problems, officials said. The rest were adopted, officials said.

County Commissioner Ron Collins said he wanted to know how such a situation could be prevented in the future.

County attorney Norwood Bentley suggested that shelters be required to post a bond to pay for any problems that might arise.

Donna McMahon of Berkeley County Animal Control wanted to know if her office could inspect kennels.

"We tried to help her for several years to make changes, and she wouldn't allow us on her property," McMahon told the commission.

The commission took no action on the issue.

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