Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 23, 2013

Commission working on animal shelter policy, procedure manual

PRINCETON — If he didn’t know it before, newly elected Mercer County Commissioner Gene Buckner is rapidly finding out that Mercer County residents are passionate about their pets, and the Mercer County Animal Shelter constantly faces challenges.

Buckner visited the Bluefield Daily Telegraph last week to share information about the new policy and procedures manual he is working on in an attempt to provide guidelines for staff and volunteers use in an effort to improve the working relationships with the public.

“We developed the new set of policies and procedures by working with staff and volunteers,” Buckner said. “We talked with staff and we talked with volunteers. We called a meeting at the courthouse. Once we adopt it, we’re going to live by it.”

A pet owner, Courtney Hern, had been trying to adopt a pit bull, and said that Buckner had helped her adopt the dog. Hern expressed her concern that in her opinion, as a breed, pit bulls appear to receive different treatment at the shelter than other breeds. She said that since the first of the year, only two pit bulls have been adopted from the shelter.

Hern said that she understands that the operation of the animal shelter is difficult, but she said that pit bulls can be safe and loving pets. “Just because it’s a pit bull doesn’t mean its dangerous,” Hern said.

Buckner said he was aware of the concerns of perspective pet owners as well as the concerns of the Animal Shelter staff. “The staff has concerns when a pet owner lives on a farm and intends to let the pit bull run free,” Buckner said.

Another animal lover who gave her name as “Beverly,” said that her main concern is for the pit bulls to be evaluated. “I wish to God we could get a no kill shelter,” Beverly said.

“We’re making great progress. People are bringing animals in and people are adopting them out,” Buckner said.

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