ROMNEY, W.Va. — After many years of contemplation, the Hampshire County Commission voted Tuesday to offer $130,000 for two parcels that equal 15.5 acres in Augusta for a future animal shelter.
The land, owned by two separate families, is adjacent to the state-owned Potomac Highlands Regional Jail and Chick Buckbee Juvenile Center, and has water and sewer access.
The new facility entrance would be off U.S. Route 50 on the main road to the jail which would provide access to the two parcels.
Commission President Bob Hott said the location is in the center of the county and would be easily accessible for residents.
Hott said the commissioners have been discussing the need for a new animal shelter for years.
Recently, he said, “We have talked to the landowners several times.”
A contract has not yet been signed.
Currently the county uses a shelter located on Chief Animal Control Officer David Gee’s Twin Oak Farm in Slanesville.
The county pays Gee $1 a year for the use of his farm, which he has maintained and operated for the past 13 years.
In April, Gee and Chief Deputy Nathan Sions spoke with the commission about the need to build a county animal shelter.
Gee said that discussion has been ongoing for years.
The Hampshire County Animal Shelter on Gee’s property takes dogs and cats and has taken in abused horses.
Gee said that the facility is the only shelter in the area that houses horses.
The shelter also has a crematorium that would have to be moved to the new site once the shelter is built.
Hott said as soon as the commission can afford it, a new modern facility would be constructed.
The commissioners said they have visited other animal shelter facilities and are relying on Gee to help develop their new facility.
Commissioner Dave Parker said at the April meeting, “I think we can build our own based on the experience we’ve had with Col. Gee.”
Gee designed the shelter currently being used by the county.
It is complete with a run for dogs so they can go in and out at night. It also has a puppy shelter to contain them from the adult dogs and safe from disease.
Commissioner Steve Slonaker said due to the proximity of the jails, “When a shelter is built the county may have the option of using inmates to help clean and feed the animals.
“That could help the county save some money.”