By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Mercer County Animal Control officers are now investigating more than 10 dead pit bull puppies that were found in the Grassy Branch Road area near Bluefield.
A property owner saw bags being thrown from a vehicle Friday and called Mercer 911 Sunday because he smelled an odor, said Animal Control Officer Tracy Monninger, who works at the Mercer County Animal Shelter. Monninger said she did not go to the scene, but another person she supervises, Animal Control Officer Elizabeth Morehead, was dispatched.
“There were a few bags, and a couple in each bag,” Monninger said.
The puppies were decomposing, but Morehead could tell by their heads what type they were, Monninger said. The bags may have held up to 13 pups, but their state of decay made it difficult to determine how many had been dumped.
The animal shelter does not pick up dead animals, but the property owners planned to bury the pups, Monninger said.
“We see dead animals on the side of the road and things like that, but we’ve never seen anything like that — puppies thrown out the way they were. It was horrific. That’s why she (Morehead) called me. She was just shocked,” Monninger stated.
Morehead was not available for comment Monday because she was not on duty.
Mercer County 911 sent a county animal control officer because dispatchers thought the scene was outside the city of Bluefield, Monninger said. Property owners were able to provide a description of the vehicle the pups were dumped from, but they did not get a tag number.
Monninger said county animal control officers will investigate the incident along with either state or county police.
City Manager Jim Ferguson said Monday that county animal control contacted Randall Thompson, the city’s animal control officer, on Sunday.
A description of the location helped determine that it was in an area called Wyoming Loop. That neighborhood has trailers, and there are no trailers in the city limits of Bluefield, Ferguson stated.
The Bluefield City Board passed a ban on pit bulls April 23 by a vote of 4 –0. Board member Dr. Tom Blevins was absent. Ferguson said under the new ordinance, pit bull puppies do not have to be registered until they are 6 months old. Residents have until May 7 to register their pit bulls with the city; a grace period of 10 business days was announced when the ordinance was passed.
“It could have been an illegal breeder, but we don’t know this for sure,” Ferguson said about the puppies’ origin. “We have issued citations to three individuals who we feel were illegally breeding. We found 15 dogs at one residence."܀