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PC Councilmembers Seek To Resolve Animal Control Issue

By Staff | Dec 9, 2009


For the Wetzel Chronicle

For years local communities have battled the issue of animal control. Now, in his first term as a councilman, Richard Wright is working to find a permanent solution for Paden City.

Recently Wright, along with veteran councilwoman Eileen Smittle, sought the help of cities throughout the state in the hope of finding some language within their ordinances that would suit the needs to Paden City.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Wright stated. “But we are looking for a place to start.”

Paden City already has ordinances in place in regard to animals, including a leash law and a vicious dog ordinance. The Paden City Police Department enforces these ordinances to the best of their ability, issuing citations for “dogs at large” and animals deemed harmful to the residents of the town.

Still, more could be done to revamp these laws. PCPD Chief Mike Billiter suggested raising the fines associated with the crimes, especially for repeat offenders.

Wright’s main concern was the issue of vicious dogs and what can be done to protect the citizens from an attack. Though he was not in favor of banning dogs based on breed, he cited several communities who are looking to do just that.

“We can’t get as aggressive about this as some other communities, like Beckley,” Wright commented. “They are making it pretty much impossible for people to own vicious dogs.”

He suggested hiring an animal control officer to handle the matter for the city. “We have a line item in our budget allowing for this and we think we have a place to put a shelter,” Wright said.

In the past, Paden City has tried to tackle the issue of animal control, but the cost of running such an operation has always been an obstacle.

Regardless, Wright and Smittle are poised to continue to look into a solution for the residents of Paden City.

In other business, the council voted to extend the burning season through Dec. 15, giving people extra time to burn the debris in their yards.

Meanwhile, the council entertained a motion to participate in the Municipal Court Income Tax Refund Offset Program, a program that would aid the city in the collection of overdue fines. Once the program is in place, money owed to Paden City would be collected from the individual’s West Virginia State Income Tax Return. According to information obtained by Recorder Larry Shepherd, there would be no cost to the City of Paden City.

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4 in the council chambers located within the city building.