Mercer County Commission has first reading for potential leash law

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:28 PM EDT
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MERCER COUNTY W.Va. (WVVA) - A potential leash law for Mercer County took a step back during the Mercer County Commission meeting on Tuesday. A first reading for the law was read to the public with hunters and farmers in attendance voicing their concerns for the potential ordinance.

The potential law was modeled after the ordinance in Raleigh County which prohibits dogs from running at large unless they are on the owner’s property.

Their concerns revolve around having their dogs running freely without a leash while hunting or protecting farm land from wild animals. The farmers in attendance said sometimes animals may run from their property while chasing animals. The hunters said it’s not feasible to have their dogs leashed while hunting, adding that most the time they are not hunting on their own property.

Mercer County Commissioner Greg Puckett said during the meeting that the ordinance was not aimed at farm or hunting dogs but farmers and hunters say there needs to be something in the ordinance that protects them from being punished when their dog inadvertently leaves their property or while they’re out hunting in the county.

“You just can’t put a leash on everything. It’s got to be worked out and it could be worked out without forcing it on people,” said President of the Mercer County Farm Bureau, Frank Nash.

Nash said he is not opposed to the ordinance but wants it to be amended which the commission said they will be doing to address concerns. A new first reading for the amended ordinance will take place during the next commission meeting. Three readings must be held for an ordinance before it can be set into law.