Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 9, 2011

County Commission tables spay-neuter ordinance, for now

By MATT CHRISTIAN
Princeton Times

PRINCETON — At the meeting to set the agenda for next week's County Commission meeting, the Mercer County Commission discovered that there are still several problems with the Spay and Neuter Ordinance like the exemptions related to the ordinance and the enforcement of it.

One issue was that it was unclear how the ordinance would treat hunting dogs. County Commissioner Mike Vinciguerra pointed out that several area hunters have approached the County Commissioners to gain an exemption for their dogs in the ordinance.

County Commission J.W. Mills said, “I don’t think it’s right for us to place a burden on the guys that go out and work all week and want to hunt on the weekends. I don’t think that’s right at all.”

Also, County Clerk Verlin Moye submitted a letter to the County Commission to remove his office from the ordinance. In the ordinance, the Office of County Clerk is responsible for people to register and pay for their animals.

He said, “I have a letter here. I am respectfully asking the County Commission to remove my name from this ordinance. By my name, I mean the Office of the County Clerk. I think that it belongs at the Animal Shelter. It’s my recommendation that the words County Clerk be replaced with the County Commission, Animal Control, or Animal Control Officer.”

Moye also pointed out to the County Commission that as an elected official, he might not be able to be assigned new duties without changes to the code affecting his position.

This led into a discussion that revolved around several important issues like the privacy of the pet owners and the enforcement of the policy. The example used in the meeting was one of getting law enforcement involved with neighborhood level disputes. A person may contact the enforcer of the policy and use that to harass their neighbor whom they have a dispute with.

With so many problems as pointed out in the meeting, the County Commission is expected to table the ordinance.

County Commissioner Jay Mills said, “We are not going to pass it at the next meeting. But I still want everybody who has something to say to come and talk at the meeting. I'm willing to listen to what they have to say.”

— Contact Matt Christian at mchristian@ptonline.net