Let’s get this thing going
Each week I read, with dismay, of the plight of our county’s missing, lost and discarded animals. What is the hold-up with making a decision about whether to lease the present Humane Society facilities on Rt. 522 in Berkeley Springs? For one dollar a year.
It is my understanding that the present conditions are inhumane, which may account for why the facility is not open to the public. I recently went looking for the present animal control kennel and although I followed the instructions for finding the place, my destination turned out to be a muddy, filthy, fenced lot. I searched and searched for a place I considered suitable for housing the county’s lost and unwanted dogs, but finally gave up. Imagine how shocked I was to find out that the place I had decided couldn’t possibly be the animal control facility, was in fact, just that. I later found out that the few kennel areas were no more than 4 ft. x 5 ft. unsanitary, bacteria retaining, wooden floored jails. To keep an animal in such a place is beyond comprehension. It’s down-right cruel. I would be turning someone in for cruel and inhumane treatment of an animal had I come across such a place. I’m ashamed of our commissioners for dragging their feet. One dollar, and our animals can be properly housed while they wait for their forever home.
How many animal control officers do we have? We have one full-time officer, who works seven days a week, 24 hours a day for a huge salary of $17,000. I know that this county has very few decent paying jobs, but it seems to me that the monies paid to the officer are virtual slave wages. And this officer has no help when called out on a vicious dog call. Anyone who has ever tried to catch, pick-up and confine a vicious, enraged animal knows how dangerous this is. Seriously injured animals, instead of being humanely euthanized must endure prolonged agony, because our officers are forced to transport the animal to a vet for this kind act. A vet cannot always be instantly available for this service. We need to provide training for our animal control officers. And a living wage and workable hours. I realize that funding would be needed for the extra help, but surely an increase in dog licenses wouldn’t be asking too much of our citizens. The only people likely to object are those who do not consider their animals part of their family.
One dollar a year for decent housing. Somewhere people can come to find a new friend. Perhaps an extra dollar, or two, for a license for each animal and things could start to turn around. This county is unbelievably backward in so many ways. But we have good people who want to do the right thing. Most of us are animal lovers and would willingly help make changes if we knew what was needed.
I beg you, County Commissioners, to put some of our most helpless creatures to the front of your agenda and let’s get this thing going.