Anti-chain/tethering dog ordinance needs more discussion

September 24, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- More than 35 people crowded into the Morgan County Commission meeting trailer Thursday morning to hear what the commissioners had to say about a possible anti-chain/tethering ordinance for dogs in Morgan County.

In August, local resident Gary Brock, of Unchain Morgan County, asked the commission to consider an ordinance to protect dogs that are not being properly cared for or that are chained.

Commission President Brenda J. Hutchinson said Thursday's meeting was not a public hearing on the matter and that more information is needed to draft an ordinance for the county.

She said the commissioners should address the issue in a workshop with Morgan County Sheriff Vince Shambaugh and Morgan County Animal Control Officer Laura Klein.


Brock said an anti-chain/tethering ordinance in Kanawha County, W.Va., that was passed in August had to define the state cruelty law relating to dogs, "and it needs to be defined here."

Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said he did not see the need for an ordinance because the West Virginia law covers cruelty to animals.

"It needs to be enforced," he said.

"If it's not being enforced, that's something that needs to be done" without adding a new ordinance, Commissioner Stacy A. Dugan said.

After much discussion, Dugan and Swaim agreed that a workshop would be helpful to determine what the problem is in enforcing the current law before going forward with a second workshop to draft an ordinance.

Shambaugh, Klein and Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney Debra MH McLaughlin will be part of the workshop on Oct. 22 at 1:30 p.m. at the commission meeting trailer, Swaim said.

He said a state police officer, game warden and conservation officer also will be asked to attend.

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