KEYSER, W.Va. — A Wiley Ford resident who complained last month about a putrid smell in her neighborhood was assured Tuesday that county officials would try to find and eliminate the source of the odor.

Jerry Freeland told Commissioners Janice LaRue and Wayne Spiggle during a meeting held July 29 in Wiley Ford that she has sought help from a number of entities but so far has been unable to determine the exact origin of the smell.

“I’ve called the health department, I’ve called the EPA, and everybody passes the buck,” she said.

“I’ve been complaining for five years and nobody does anything.

“The smell is so bad coming in my bedroom window every night that I can’t breathe.”

At the invitation of Spiggle, she brought the problem to the full commission Tuesday.

“I think the smell’s coming from next door,” she said, noting that a trailer and some rental apartments in her neighborhood have all been vacant for several years.

She wonders if the smell is coming from the sewers in the buildings, or from the large number of feral cats living on the vacant properties.

“We have a cat problem, and we have a skunk problem. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not living in that trailer,” she said.

“I know I don’t keep the cleanest yard, but I don’t have animals decaying there, either.”

Freeland said the cats lie around sunning themselves on the deck around her swimming pool, and dig up her flower gardens.

“On a sunny day, we might have six or eight cats on the deck,” she said.

“And they know my dog’s chain is only so long.”

County Coordinator Mike Bland told Freeland that County Planner Scott Clay, who is on the enforcement agency for the county’s new Safe Building Ordinance, is attempting to get permission for the Frankfort Public Service District to gain entry into the trailer.

“Scott will contact the owners of the property and ask them if the PSD can enter the property,” he said, adding that if the property owner denies permission, the county will pursue the situation through the court system.

“We’ll pursue this until we can get into that building,” LaRue told the Wiley Ford resident.

“Then, once the trailer is addressed, we’ll see if that takes care of the cat problem.”

In the meantime, Freeland obtained some cat traps from Humane Officer Jim Hawk, who told her to call him to make arrangements to pick up any felines she might ensnare.

Contact Liz Beavers at

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