Commission meeting goes to the dogs
Curtis Hively wanted to have a quiet Fourth of July celebration on his deck.
Instead, he listened to his neighborﾒs dog bark for hours. His repeated telephone calls met with an answering machine, but no answers.
Rita and Tony Kelly either have a neighborﾒs ﾓpack of dogsﾔ running loose on their property or, when the dogs are penned, put up with the noise and odor.
James Johnsonﾒs neighborﾒs dogs run through his garden, sometimes stopping to leave deposits.
Those Pocahontas County residents and several others came to the Pocahontas County Commission Tuesday to ask for a fair solution to a growing animal problem through a county dog ordinance.
Hively brought with him documentation of his neighborﾒs dogﾒs barking habits, which, according to County Commissioner David Fleming, seem to be confined only to the dogﾒs waking hours. Hively said a call to his Green Bank neighbor met with an agreement that they would try to keep the dog quiet; when that didnﾒt help, he called Sheriff David Jonese.
ﾓFor awhile the dog quieted down,ﾔ he said. ﾓThen it got worse.ﾔ
The problem has lasted for about two years, he said.
ﾓWeﾒve lost hundreds of hours of sleep because of these dogs,ﾔ Rita Kelly, of Minnehaha Springs, said.
The owner has been approached and asked to do something, she said, but the dog pen is close to other residences and is ﾓnot a pretty sight.ﾔ
Another Minnehaha Springs resident, Trisha Tegtmeyer, said even though she lives a quarter of a mile from the village, the dogs are a problem for her family, as well.
ﾓMy dogs do not leave my property,ﾔ she said. ﾓAll owners of dogs should have respect for their neighbors.ﾔ
Johnson, a Hillsboro Town Councilmember, who related his troubles at a recent municipal meeting, said his townﾒs ordinance is good, fair and illegal because the town didnﾒt run the public notice for the proper amount of time. The council has not made moves to make the ordinance legal, he said.
Jonese said the commission should be fair to both sides, dog owners and non-dog owners alike. He noted that most issues are resolved by a simple visit.
ﾓWe need an ordinance with more bite and less bark,ﾔ said Fleming, who offered to draft an ordinance to present at the commissionﾒs next meeting.
In other animal control related issues, commissioners listened to members of the Pocahontas Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals discuss their guidelines with the sheriff.
In addressing the SPCAﾒs proposal, Jonese said he could not pay volunteers for transporting animals if his humane officer is unavailable, nor did he agree with allowing animals to leave the shelter without being vaccinated for rabies, particularly if the animals were to cross state lines.
Commissioners said the issue was a matter of authority if the officer is not available, then calls from the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center should go to an SPCA member and travel compensation could be dealt with by the commission.
As for the rabies vaccination, or lack thereof, commissioners suggested holding a deposit from the pet owner until proof the pet has been inoculated.
But the biggest issue with the SPCA and the Allegheny Recreation Center, where the SPCA shelters its animals, is overpopulation.
Commissioner Reta Griffith noted that an overage of 20 animalsﾗ10 dogs and 10 cats at $12 a dayﾗcould result in $7,200 a month more than the commission has already agreed to spend.
ﾓItﾒs got to have a lid,ﾔ she said. ﾓIt canﾒt be an open checkbook for overpopulation.ﾔ
She noted that the commission has doubled what it spends on cats and dogs this year.
ARC owners J.P. Duncan and John Fitzgerald said the shelter now has 27 dogs and 27 cats, with the prospect of three more animals the sheriff had received calls about Tuesday.
Commission president Martin Saffer said the parties should continue to work on an agreement.
ARC asked that the countyﾒs payment to them for keeping the animal shelter be paid in advance. Commissioners agreed to pay ARC at its second meeting of the month.
Gas drilling update asks for commission involvement
Hillsboro resident Beth Little updated commissioners with gas drilling reports from around the state and the nation.
Using a Power Point presentation, Little showed commissioners truck accidents, embankment slides and contaminated water all resulting from drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale.
State pictures included shots from Wetzel and Doddridge counties.
Because of their size and length, Little said the trucks have trouble staying on the roads and some do not. Further, she said, increased truck traffic on the roads has caused the pavement to wear away.
Little said an exploratory well near Pickaway in Monroe County has caused residents there to be concerned.
Drilling through the water table, she said, could disturb neighboring water wells, particularly in Karst areas.
ﾓKarst is tricky,ﾔ she said.
According to the website watersheds.org, Karst topography is a landscape created by groundwater dissolving sedimentary rock such as limestone.
Little said drilling in Karst could result in emptying a layer of water into another layer of Karst, which could drain neighboring wells.
She said she is also concerned about spills from the holding ponds at gas well sites, noting that one such spill in Doddridge County went unreported, even to the downstream town which got its water from the stream.
The drilling company there maintained it was not responsible for the spill, she said.
Gas drilling is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, Little said.
Wastewater from the wells is being disposed of in underground injection wells in the state, Little said.
Little asked the commission to support legislation that would:
ﾕcontrol water withdrawals
ﾕaddress deep well spacing for Marcellus Shale wells
ﾕestablish Total Dissolved Solids limits
ﾕdisclose and control hydrofracking fluids
ﾕincrease permit fees
ﾕrequire a synthetic liner for all pits and impoundments
ﾕrequire documentation for waste disposal
ﾕprovide emergency plans for spills and accidents, including notification of down gradient landowners
Little said the problems associated with drilling for gas in Marcellus Shale include, venting and flaring, explosions, noise, and NORMS or naturally occurring radioactive materials like uranium.
Little said commissioners should contact the DEP, which is now receiving comments on gas drilling, and the countyﾒs state representatives.
In other business, commissioners:
ﾕapproved the Emergency Voting Policy.
ﾕapproved a bid from Mitchell Chevrolet for a Sheriffﾒs Department car.
ﾕapproved a request from the Child Youth and Advocacy Center for $5,000 and agreed to add $600 from their budget to combine with an $800 contribution from the prosecuting attorneyﾒs office and another $600 from the sheriffﾒs budget for new forensic equipment for Pocahontas County. AB Communications made an in-kind donation of $1,000.
ﾕ approved various budget revisions.
ﾕdesignated the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation as the lead economic development agency for Pocahontas County.
ﾕagreed to make a final payment to Manno Construction for its work at East Fork Industrial Park. The $43,000 check will release Manno from its obligations. Additional funding is available for the final phase of cleanup at the former tannery site.
The commission meets again in regular session August 3.