Three Cats, Dogs Might Be Limit in Beckley, W.Va.

Pet owners who violate proposed limit could face $1,000 fine per day.

Posted: April 28, 2008 2 a.m. EDT

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Owning more than three cats and three dogs in the city of Beckley, W.Va., might cost residents $1,000 per day in fines under a proposal to amend an ordinance. The plan, announced this week at a Beckley Common Council meeting, has staff at an area shelter bracing for a pet overflow.

Tom Robertson, a humane officer at the Humane Society of Raleigh County, says that setting a new limit on the number of dogs and cats per household will burden the shelter. The staff must euthanize animals on a daily basis, he says, and the revised measure would result in a higher euthanasia rate.

“We will be inundated with all kinds of dogs and cats,” he says. The shelter has the capacity to house 30 dogs, 10 kittens, nine puppies and five cats.

As it stands, the ordinance has a loophole that makes it acceptable to own several pets, if no more than three of each are allowed outdoors. Robertson says many people have anywhere from eight to 15 animals in their possession, which has led to neighbor complaints.

With a staff of four at the shelter, he says there likely will not be enough manpower to deal with an expected deluge of cats and dogs. For now, he said they will wait and see whether the proposal moves forward.

The measure must first go before city planners and council members. Members of the public would have an opportunity to voice any concerns before the council makes a final decision.

What remains to be seen, Robertson says, is whether a new ordinance would solve the issue of keeping large numbers of pets. “Nothing on the books is worth anything if it is not being enforced,” he says.

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Three Cats, Dogs Might Be Limit in Beckley, W.Va.

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Reader Comments

Lin    Lewisburg, WV

8/11/2008 1:52:27 PM

Good Article. Thank you. But the leaders of Beckley, WV need to get their heads whacked. Killing off the animals is not the answer. How about a ordinance for manditory neuter and spaying of those Beckley animals

Gretchen    Moorpark, CA

4/28/2008 6:05:41 PM

I feel that anyone who ownes anymore that 5 animals should have a visit from the Humane Society to see if they are being properly taken care of and are up to date on their shots, etc.
If not then the officer could write a ticket giving warning to update, or cats/dogs will have to be removed from the home.

Jenn    Wallingford, CT

4/28/2008 5:00:47 PM

How dare the government of Beckley, West Virginia try to limit the number of animals a person may own. This violation of our constitutional rights will not go unnoticed! With all of the animals who are neglected and need care and love, what does the Town of Beckley propose that they do with all of them? I can't even think of the consequences! What a travesty of justice!

Tanya    Paden City, WV

4/28/2008 4:43:47 PM

Hello. Thanks for printing this article. We, the animal lovers of these United States, need help! This is ridiculous, and totally infringes upon our Constitutional Rights, if you ask me! I believe that I/we shouldn't be punished for helping animals. ESPECIALLY because I/we are taking in and caring for the animals that the "Law Abiding Citizens" have abused, mistreated, neglected, abandoned, or took out in the woods and left to fend for themselves! I am very defensive about subjects like this one! I believe that if you can love and care for these creatures of God in an appropriate manner, then there should NOT be a limit on the number you have. Look, people who don't care for their own children but keep having them only to continuously get them taken away by the authorities are the people that need to be fined, and have a 'limit' put on them! Sorry, but that's the way I feel, and I'm not alone in my opinion on this mater. I/WE need the politicians in 'high' government offices to 'get on board' with the animal issues. Please, there are so many people that are CatChannel friends and I'm sure that they (As well as I!!!) would sign petitions to have more laws protecting not just cats, but ALL God's creatures!! Can you,, contact any government officials to get our animals some help.
Tanya & the FAMILY (5 "K-9 Kids", 2 "Kitty Kids", 3 "Bunny Babes", & one loving and understanding Husband/"DADDY"!!!)

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