Cumberland Times-News

Local News

February 12, 2014

Officials say bill would negatively impact Hampshire animal control

ROMNEY, W.Va. — Senate bill No. 398, introduced by Sen. Donald Cookman, would damage the animal control program in Hampshire County, according to the county’s chief animal control officer and the county commissioners.

Commission president Steve Slonaker and Commisioner Bob Hott discussed the content of the bill with chief animal control officer David Gee at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

In a letter to the editor of the Times-News, Cookman said the bill’s intent is to help animals, not hurt them.

The bill would allow a state public school with an animal and veterinary science program to obtain impounded dogs and cats for use in the school’s curriculum.

Last year Isaac Lewis, head of the veterinary tech program at Hampshire High School, asked that dogs and cats from the animal control center be provided to the school’s veterinary program.

Cookman said the idea is to help students develop job skills in the areas of veterinary medicine and care.

During Tuesday’s commission meeting Gee explained that only the best animals at the shelter would be used by the school program, which would decrease the animal control income.

“They would be picking and choosing purebreds such as collies. Grooming them for their use and then selling them,” Gee said.

By doing that, Gee said, and the commissioners agreed that animal control would lose income.

“We aren’t opposed to the program at the school but we can’t jeopardize our animal control,” Slonaker said.

Cookman said, regarding the bill, “It appears to have caused some heartburn. The majority of the people who contacted me were concerned that this bill would open the door to scientific testing and abuse of animals. …”

Cookman said that is not the case.

Gee told the commission that animal control receives approximately $150 for every dog adopted out.

“We put $100 or so in each animal,” Gee said.

Income from the adoption of the animals pays for the vehicles and utilities, not the kennel, he said.

In 2013, animal control adopted 193 animals and euthanized only 19. Seventy-eight dogs were returned back to the owners.

As it stands, the Hampshire County Animal Control is successful.

“The only way this request would work is for them to pay for the adoption of every animal that is taken from animal control for the veterinary program,” said Gee.

The commissioners agreed.

Hott said there would be concern that without the animals being formally adopted, the county would be liable if something went wrong.

“If they want to come out and pay to adopt an animal that would be OK,” Gee said.

Cookman said he still believes that the purpose and intent of SB 398 is truly worthy.

“However, after the response my office has received, I have asked that the chairman of the Senate Education Committee hold the bill from consideration until there is an opportunity to make sure that the bill accomplishes these worthy purposes while at the same time insuring that no animal is treated in an inhumane manner,” Cookman said in the Feb. 3 editorial.

Gee told the commission he would contact those involved in the proposed program.

The commissioners agreed and said they would send a follow-up letter regarding the negative impact to the county.

Hott said prior to the Feb. 3 editorial regarding the bill the commissioner had no knowledge of its content, nor had they been advised of its making.

Contact Marla Pisciotta at

Text Only
Local News
  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

  • RYAN WOLF Wolf named 2014-15 Garrett Teacher of the Year

    Southern Garrett High School teacher Ryan Wolf has been named the 2014-15 Garrett County Teacher of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock

    While giving a civics lesson at Frostburg State University on Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, congressman from Maryland’s sixth district, told students that the polarization in Congress is due primarily to redistricting and a poorly designed Congressional schedule.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fourmile Ridge wind project approved, moves forward

    The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the Fourmile Ridge wind project in eastern Garrett County and site preparation started April 7, according to Frank Maisano, a wind industry spokesman. The current notice listed on the FAA website for the project is for a small change in turbine location.

    April 17, 2014

  • Oakland back to normal after toppled tanker closes business district

    The town of Oakland returned to normal activities Thursday, one day after a tanker full of liquid propane overturned in the heart of the business district.
    Shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday the toppled tanker was removed and its 10,000-gallon load transferred to another tanker.

    April 17, 2014

  • Students back Southern Middle School renovation

    Students from both Southern and Northern middle schools presented a list of reasons why Southern Middle needs to be renovated during the Garrett County Commission meeting Tuesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Trial run Trial run

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 72nd anniversary of Doolittle Raid on Tokyo 72nd anniversary of Doolittle Raid on Tokyo

    Friday, April 18, has another special meaning for me besides Good Friday.
    April 18, 1942, proved to be a pivotal day for American morale, following the deadly air attack and destruction conceived and executed by Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lara Courrier seeks re-appointment to Mineral school board

    I, Lara Courrier, am seeking re-election to the Mineral County Board of Education to continue the work I’ve done the last four years. Having served as a school counselor at the Burlington Center School and the Chick Buckbee Juvenile Center for nearly six years, as well as approximately 20 years total working with children, I have insight into the needs of kids and the importance of the actions of the school board. Having three sons and several nieces and nephews in Mineral County schools, I have an added incentive to continue to work hard to ensure the efficient running of our school system. 

    April 17, 2014