Tensions mount between county, city, and humane society

Tensions are at a breaking point over the future of a local animal shelter.
Tensions are at a breaking point over the future of a local animal shelter.(wvva)
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 3:11 PM EDT
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - Tensions are at a breaking point over the future of a local animal shelter.

Raleigh County recently hired a company out of Colorado to study whether a new animal shelter is needed for the area and, according to Commission Pres. Dave Tolliver, the Raleigh County Humane Society refused to provide data.

While Tolliver said the county needs an alternative if the shelter is going to continue turning away animals, he said no decision has been reached on what would become of the animals that could not be adopted.

“The no kill is a misconception,” said Tolliver. “We had meetings and they do, in certain situations, euthanize animals. They want us to come right out and say if we build a shelter, we’ll be no kill. We’re not going to do that until we sit down with the city and county and ask, do we keep a dog in a cage for a year?”

He said the problems began with the shelter turning away animals brought in by Raleigh County Animal Control. While Tolliver said the county is running out of options when it comes to placing them, the shelter’s Exec. Dir. Brett Kees said they are not going to take animals over capacity. He said keeping a big dog in a small crate for a long time rises to the level of animal cruelty.

Instead of building a new shelter, Kees said would like to see new ordinances on the books to encourage better spay and neuter practices.

“I’ll help in anyway I can if they want to develop some spay and neuter laws, some ordinances, and actually enforce things. It will cost less than building a new shelter. But if they want to build a new shelter, I’m not helping. I’m not providing data. And I’m not providing access to the site.”

Kees said the humane society routinely applies for grants to help prospective pet owners cover the costs, but wishes the county would do the same.

“If we had other folks on board, like the city and county, we could solve this problem in three or four years,” he said.

Meanwhile, if the city and county do move forward with a new shelter, Tolliver said it would be located at the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority.