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					        Institute for Public Affairs


              The West Virginia
        Public Affairs Reporter
     Volume 24, No. 1              Institute for Public Affairs   West Virginia University   Morgantown, WV   June 2007




      In This Issue:
               Animal Welfare and Control Issues in
               West Virginia and the United States:
               Old Problems with New Answers
                                by Susan Hunter




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                                                                                                            behavior. A recent survey of US citizens by Hunter
          A Publication of:
                                                Animal Welfare and Control Issues                           and Brisbin found that close to 43% of Americans
                                                in West Virginia and the United                             own cats, and over 46% own dogs (Hunter and
          The Institute for Public Affairs      States: Old Problems with New                               Brisbin, 2006). Fewer than 30% own neither dogs
                                                                                                            nor cats and only about 20% own no animals at
                                                Answers                                                     all. Among these respondents, support for animal
          Eberly College of Arts and Sciences   by Dr. Susan Hunter, PhD                                    welfare legislation ranged from 75% support for
          West Virginia University                                                                          legislation to include poultry under cruelty provisions
                                                Introduction                                                to 96% supporting puppy protection laws to protect
          PO Box 6317                                                                                       consumers against the purchase of unhealthy pets.
                                                    In 2006, headlines in West Virginia reported more            Increasing evidence of the link between animal
          Morgantown, WV 26506-6317
                                                than 200 animals seized from Star Ridge Rescue              abuse and other forms of abuse (Deviney, Dickert &
                                                Ranch in Preston County, more than 100 animals              Lockwood, 1983; Flynn, 2001; Ascione, Weber and
          Volume 24, No. 1, June 2007           seized from one woman in Spencer (both in June              Wood, 1997) has led many states to take stronger
                                                2006), 22 animals seized from a home in Jefferson           action against animal abusers. West Virginia, has
          Kevin M. Leyden, Director/Editor      County, more than 100 animals seized in Marshall            enacted laws to require cross-reporting of animal
          Thomas K. Bias, Assistant Editor      County, and more than 100 animals seized from               and domestic abuse (W. Va. Codes §7-10-2; §9-6-
                                                an animal rescue in Inwood, WV (www.pet-abuse.              9a and §49-6a-2b). They joined California, Florida,
                                                com). Unfortunately a similar situation appears to be       Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Tennessee
                                                developing in Nicholas County in 2007. According            in recognizing the link between animal and human
          The West Virginia Public Affairs      to a press release from the Nicholas County Sheriff,        abuse (State Animal Anti-Cruelty Law Provisions,
          Reporter is a refereed journal of     another rescue is being investigated by the sheriff’s       2006). Several states (including West Virginia) now
                                                office and information has been provided to the state       either require or allow an order for psychological
          the Institute for Public Affairs.
                                                veterinarian and other authorities (Press Release,          evaluation or even counseling for convicted animal
          Each issue addresses topics of        2007). Can we prevent problems like these and               abusers (See Table 2 for further details).
          concern to West Virginia’s citizens   create a more positive environment for animals and                 Animal laws falls into several categories: (1)
                                                their owners in West Virginia?                              animal welfare laws covering companion animals;
          and state and local officials. The           This article will address the question by first      (2) animal welfare laws covering livestock; (3) laws
          Reporter’s content is written by      describing the status of animal welfare and control         covering wildlife; (4) animal control laws covering
                                                laws in West Virginia and the United States with a          dogs; (5) animal control laws covering other animals,
          public officials, faculty, research   primary focus on companion animals (dogs and                including cats and (6) animal rights laws. Animal
          associates, and others familiar       cats), then providing an overview of the companion          welfare laws, sometimes referred to as animal
                                                animal problems existing in West Virginia, and              protection laws, are concerned with the welfare of
          with West Virginia affairs. All
                                                finally offering recommendations to address these           the animals, while animal control laws are concerned
          published articles have gone          problems. Although animal rights issues are also            with the protection of people and property. Animal
          through a blind review process.       gaining attention in the United States, this article will   rights laws are designed to change the status of
                                                focus primarily on animal welfare and control.              animals from property to entities with rights or
          In all cases, the views of the                                                                    interests deserving legal protection (Hauser, 2006).
          authors are not necessarily those                                                                 Table 1 provides a summary of laws falling under
                                                Background on Animal Legislation                            animal control, welfare and rights with laws enacted
          of the Institute for Public Affairs
                                                                                                            by West Virginia in bold. As the table indicates, West
                                                     Animal issues have become more important in
          nor of West Virginia University.                                                                  Virginia has strong animal control laws, but is slightly
                                                recent years, at national, state, and local levels.
                                                                                                            weaker with regard to animal welfare laws. Only
                                                The U.S. Congress responded to outraged citizens
                                                                                                            a few states have begun to discuss the concept of
                                                after Hurricane Katrina when it was reported that
          Past issues of the West Virginia                                                                  animal rights, although several have enacted laws
                                                thousands of pets died because they were not allowed
                                                                                                            that animal rights advocates strongly support (e.g.,
          Public Affairs Reporter can be        on evacuation buses, boats, or helicopters and were
                                                                                                            restrictions on research on animals and pet trusts).
          found on the Institute for Public     not allowed in human shelters if they did make it
                                                                                                            The data for this table were collected through www.
                                                out of the flooded areas. The Pets Evacuation and
          Affairs’ web site:                                                                                animallaw.com and Lexis/Nexis. Unless specifically
                                                Transportation Act was signed into law on October 6,
          http://www.polsci.wvu.edu/ipa/                                                                    cited, all information on state animal legislation has
                                                2006. Congress is currently considering legislation to
                                                                                                            been obtained by this author from searches through
                                                protect wild burros, to require humane euthanasia for
                                                                                                            state codes listed at www.animallaw.com and Lexis/
          Cover photo courtesy of               downed livestock; and to regulate the sale of animals
                                                                                                            Nexis.
                                                to research labs (http://www.hsus.org/legislation_
          Nenad Nerandzic at www.sxc.hu
                                                laws). Because an increasing number of Americans
                                                own animals, particularly cats and dogs, there is
                                                increasing pressure from citizens for legislation to
                                                protect pets, regulate owners, and control animal


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                                                                                    Table 1
                                                                         Animal Legislation by Category
                       Coverage                                  Animal Control                                        Welfare                                        Rights
                                                                                                        Felony Cruelty
                                                       Running at Largea
                                                                                                        Forfeiture
                                                       Spay Neuter Requirements
                                                                                                        Reimbursement
                                                       License/Tax                                                                                   Pet Trusts/Probate
                                                                                                        Animal Fighting
                                                       Shelter Requirements                                                                          Guardianship Designation
         Companion Animals                             Dangerous Dog Laws
                                                                                                        Exersie/Socialization Requirements b
                                                                                                                                                     Resptrictions on Research c
                                                                                                        Kennel Licensing
                                                       Breed Specic (BSL)                                                                           Euthanasia Restrictionsd
                                                                                                        Puppy Lemon Laws
                                                       Rabies Vaccinations
                                                                                                        Rescue and Humane Organizations
                                                       Insurance Provisions
                                                                                                        Cross-reporting
                                                                                                        Factory Farming Restrictions
         Livestock                                     Taxation/Licensinge                              Cruelty/Neglect
                                                                                                        Humane Slaughter
                                                                                                        Hunting Seasons and Restrictons
                                                       Licensing
                                                                                                        Canned Hunting                               Canned Hunting or Internet Hunting Bans
         Wildlife                                      Disease Control (Rabies, CWD,
                                                                                                        Internet Hunting Ban                         Hunting Restrictions
                                                       Avian Flu, West Nile Virus)
                                                                                                        Rehabilitation Permits
         a. In West Virginia, the Spay/Neuter requirement for animals adopted from county pounds or shelters applies to animals other than canines. Cats must also be spayed or
         neutered and must also reccieve rabies vaccinations. Only dogs are covered by license or running at large laws except in Moundsville, which also covers cats.
         b. Requirements that animals recieve adequate exercise and socialization occur either in cruelty legislation or in legislation to restrict tethering as a permanent living situation.
         c. Although West Virginia restricts the sale of animals from pounds/shelters for research purposes, there are no limitations on the use of animals in research otherwise. In many
         states, research on animals is prohibited in primary and secondary schools as well.
         d. Many states require euthanasia to be either “instant” or painless (using particular drugs). WV only bans shooting as a form of euthanasia.
         e. West Virginia repealed taxation of livestock in 2006.


                                                                                                          of all dogs in the county, or a portion thereof, vaccinated or not, except as
        Where We Stand - West Virginia and the United                                                     further provided herein...” (W. Va. Code §19-20A-8). This section appears
        States                                                                                            to give local governments power to enact leash laws, breed specific laws,
                                                                                                          tethering regulations, and other ordinances to regulate dog ownership.
              West Virginia has strong animal control laws, and the Animal League                            West Virginia law goes on to specifically allow dogs to run free if engaged
        Defense Fund ranks West Virginia in the second tier of states with regard to                      in hunting, training, herding or other lawful farm activity. However, the owner
        animal welfare laws (discussion of the rankings is found in Otto, 2006). As                       of any dog running at large is liable for any damages caused by the dog (W.
        seen in Figure 1 (please see back cover), twelve states fall into this second                     Va. Code § 19-20-13). West Virginia’s law is fairly typical - enabling local
        tier according to their ranking. West Virginia’s spay/neuter legislation,                         governments to pass leash ordinances but not mandating them.
        felony cruelty provisions, cross-reporting requirements, and prohibitions on
        the selling of shelter animals to research laboratories put the state into this                   Licensing Laws
        tier, falling only below top tier states California, Maine, Illinois, Michigan and                    Although all states have some form of registration, taxation, or licensing
        Oregon. A compilation of West Virginia animal laws can be found online at                         for dogs, only one state, Rhode Island, requires that cats be registered.
        www.wvchap.org and can be downloaded as a Word file.                                              Twenty-six states have local ordinances requiring licenses for cats. West
            In the following sections, this article will examine West Virginia’s current                  Virginia code does not define cats as property and has no legislation
        welfare and control laws, and will then address continuing problems,                              allowing local governments to register or license cats.
        including enforcement and funding issues. This article will not cover animal                         The major problem with licensing laws is compliance. Most communities,
        rights concerns, although it will briefly discuss euthanasia methods.                             including West Virginia counties, estimate compliance at 20% of less.
                                                                                                          States with higher compliance often distribute licenses through veterinary
        I. Animal Control                                                                                 offices rather than through assessor’s offices and require proof of rabies.
                                                                                                          The license and rabies tag are issued at the same time (Wisch, 2004).
        Leash Laws or Animals Running Loose                                                               West Virginia assessors collect the “dog tax” (it is not actually a license),
           Only two states, Michigan and Pennsylvania, require that all dogs in the                       and proof of rabies is not required. Taxpayers are expected to report the
        state must be leashed when not on their owners’ property (Wisch, 2004:3).                         number of dogs they own and pay a $3 county tax per dog. If they live
        Ten states specify that dogs may not “run at large” implying control or                           in a municipality, that municipality may levy an additional $3 tax (W. Va.
        restraints on the animals when off owner’s property. West Virginia’s code                         Code §19-20-2). Although state law provides a fifty cent bounty to the dog
        forbids dogs off lead on the capitol grounds and the governor’s mansion                           warden or deputy who captures an unregistered animal (W. Va. Code §19-
        (W. Va. Code §5A-4-4). Dogs are not allowed to chase birds or other                               20-6) county officials often noted that in most cases dog owners are only
        animals or to defecate on these grounds. Although West Virginia law allows                        fined when their dog has been picked up for running at large, for a biting
        vaccinated dogs and cats to run at large (W. Va. Code §19-20-12) except for                       incident, or some other activity that brings them into contact with animal
        females in estrus (W. Va. Code §19-20-22), the law further states that ”a                         control officers. There is no incentive for animal control officers to seek
        county commission or a municipality may adopt and enforce ordinances not                          out scofflaws because the fines do not come to them. State law limits the
        inconsistent with the provisions of article twenty of this chapter of the code,                   fine for noncompliance with any animal control law to $100 (W. Va. Code
        as it considers necessary or convenient for the control and management                            §19-20-6).


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             West Virginia does have a kennel licensing provision in its state code           Dangerous Dogs and Breed Specific Legislation
        (W. Va. Code §19-20-3), as do many other states. Operators of kennels                    All states have laws regarding the control of dangerous dogs (Dangerous
        in West Virginia are required to pay a ten dollar licensing fee which covers          Dog: Related Statutes, 2007). W. Va. Code §19-20-20 on the keeping of
        up to five dogs. The kennel operator must pay an additional $3 tax for each           vicious dogs; says:
        additional dog. Other states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri,                  “Except as provided in section twenty-one of this article, no person
        and Kansas, specify the number of animals allowed, space requirements                      shall own, keep or harbor any dog known by him to be vicious,
        per animal, health care requirements, and annual inspections. West Virginia                dangerous, or in the habit of biting or attacking other persons,
        does not enable local governments to set animal care requirements or to                    whether or not such dog wears a tag or muzzle. Upon satisfactory
        require periodic inspections of kennels. Inspections are not even allowed                  proof before a circuit court or magistrate that such dog is vicious,
        unless a complaint of neglect or cruelty is made. Humane investigators can                 dangerous, or in the habit of biting or attacking other persons or
        only enter property to investigate abuse or neglect if a complaint has been                other dogs or animals, the judge may authorize the humane officer
        filed. They must have a search warrant and can only conduct their search                   to cause such dog to be killed. A special license ($10) is required
        during daylight hours (W. Va. Code §61-8-21). They can only enter property                 also.”
        to seize a dog which has allegedly attacked someone.                                     All but twelve states (Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii,
                                                                                              Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Vermont and
        Spay/Neuter Requirements and Differential Licensing                                   Wyoming) have either statewide or local breed specific legislation banning
            Spay/neuter requirements and differential licensing are policies enacted          particular breeds (Weiss, 2001). These ordinances or state laws (BSL)
        to reduce the overpopulation of cats and dogs. The Humane Society of the              typically ban Pit Bulls and Rottweilers but could include any breed. Some
        United States estimates that six to eight million cats and dogs enter public          states have banned such legislation (See Table 2) and courts in some
        shelters every year. Three to four million of these animals are euthanized            states (most recently Ohio) have declared the laws to be unconstitutional
        every year (“HSUS Pet Overpopulation Estimates” 2006). States and                     (“Pit Bull Ban Overturned - Toledo, Ohio”, 2006).
        local governments have begun to address this problem with spay/neuter                     Wheeling and Barboursville are two municipalities in West Virginia that
        requirements and/or differential licensing.                                           currently have breed specific bans. Wheeling passed their breed specific
               Spay/Neuter Laws – At least 30 states have passed legislation                  ordinance (BSL) which covers Pit Bulls and Canary type dogs, in 2006
        requiring sterilization of cats and dogs adopted from community shelters,             (Hunter and Brisbin, 2007). Although courts have been divided on the
        according to a fact sheet on the In Defense of Animals website (“Spay/                constitutionality of such laws, animal lovers contend that they punish an entire
        Neuter Ordinances” 2007) Laws are stronger in some areas of the country               breed for the actions of particular animals and the negligence or intentional
        than in others. In New York City, for example, even dogs and cats sold in             actions of irresponsible owners. West Virginia’s current laws appear to be
        pet stores must be spayed or neutered. Rhode Island requires guardians                adequate for handling the problem of dangerous dogs if properly enforced.
        to spay or neuter all cats over six months of age, no matter how they are             According to W. Va. Code §19-19-20, “ no person shall own, keep or harbor
        acquired, or pay a licensing fee.                                                     any dog known by him to be vicious, dangerous, or in the habit of biting or
           West Virginia recently enacted spay/neuter legislation (W. Va. Code §20-           attacking other persons”. A judge can order any dog found to be dangerous
        20B) which requires anyone adopting a dog or cat from any agency, public              to be destroyed, and owners can be held liable for any damages. However,
        shelter or private organization to spay or neuter the animal within thirty days       high penalties for failure to license, failure to vaccinate, or allowing a
        for sexually mature animals and at age six months for puppies and kittens.            dangerous dog to run at large would enhance current West Virginia law.
           Differential Licensing - Yet another way in which states or communities            Several communities have a type of law that is often titled “Responsible
        attempt to reduce the overpopulation of animals is through a differential             Pet Ownership.” Louisville, Kentucky, San Francisco, California, and the
                                                                                              province of New Brunswick, Canada are examples of jurisdictions that have
        licensing requirement in which owners pay significantly higher taxes or
        license fees for unaltered animals (up to $100 in some communities). At               chosen to place the onus on the dog owner to provide adequate training,
        least eight states and the District of Columbia have statewide differential           socialization, licensing, care, and control to ensure the safety of residents
        licensing (Arizona, California, Delaware, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire,             (Hunter and Brisbin, 2007).
        New York, and Ohio). Because licensing fees are generally set by local
        governments in other states, little information is readily available on the           Summary
        actual number of communities with differential licensing. Some communities               Table 2 provides a summary of West Virginia’s legislation on animal control
        require a breeder fee for any animal being bred during that year as well.             compared to other states. As the table indicates, West Virginia appears to
        These license fees are meant to encourage voluntary spay/neuter among                 be on a par with the rest of the states on animal control legislation. The
        pet owners.                                                                           state has provisions for animal overpopulation (spay/neuter), vaccinations
             Although West Virginia code includes a differential licensing provision          requirements that cover cats, a strong dangerous dog law, and police
        (W. Va. Code §7-7-6d) of one dollar for altered females and two dollars for           powers for animal control officers as a county option. West Virginia lacks
        unaltered females, this section was superceded by 1998 revisions that set             licensing or registration for cats, differential licensing, restrictions on hunting
        the tax at three dollars per animal (W. Va. Code §19-20-2).                           preserves, and a statewide ban on breed specific legislation. West Virginia
                                                                                              also does not have any regulations covering public or private animal shelters
                                                                                              or kennels. Data on other states are not readily available on this provision,
                                                                                              although Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas sets standards, regulate,
                                                                                              and inspect shelters, while Massachusetts requires municipalities and
                                                                                              counties to establish shelters, and Ohio requires that every county either
                                                                                              operate or contract with a privately run shelter to provide animal control



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                                                                              Table 2
                                                              Summary of State Laws on Animal Control
                         Policy                                     Statewide                                    Local Option                                   No Provision
                                                                                                                                                    AL, AK, CO, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD,
                                                      AZ, AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, IL, KS, MA, MO,
         Spay/Neuter Law                              MT, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV
                                                                                                      UNKNOWN                                       MI, MN, MS, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OR,
                                                                                                                                                    RI, SC, SD, VT, WA, WY

         Differential Licensing                       AZ, CA, DC, ME, MO, NH, NY, OH                  UNKNOWN                                       WV and 41 Other States

                                                                                                                                             AK, AZ, AR, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, MI,
         Cat Licensinga                               RI                                              CA, CO, LA, MA, MN, NH, SC, VA, WI, WY MT, NV, NJ, NM, NY, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA,
                                                                                                                                             UT, VT, WA, WV
                                                                                                                                                    38 States now Ban Internet or Remote
         Restrictions on Hunting                      CA, MI, MN, MT, NY, NC, OR, RI, TN, TX,
                                                                                                      UNKNOWN
                                                                                                                                                    Hunting, Including WV. Only AZ, CO, FL,
         Preserves                                    VT, VA, WI                                                                                    IN, KS, MS, MO, NE, NH, OH, UT, WA, and
                                                                                                                                                    WY Have no Hunting Restrictions.
                                                      AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, IL, LA, OH, NM, MA,
                                                                                                                                                    Up to 21 States Have No Statewide Laws
         Dangerous Dog Laws                           ME, MI, MN, MS, NC, NE, NM, NY, OH, OK, UNKNOWN
                                                                                                                                                    on controlling Dogs.
                                                      PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WV
                                                                                                      AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY,
                                                                                                      LA, MA, MD, MS, MT, NB, NC, ND, NJ,           OH, MN, NV, WY, PA, DE, AK, AZ, GA, HI,
         Breed Bans (BSL)                             MO, MI, KS, CA, NY, VA, VT
                                                                                                      NM, NY, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT,       ME
                                                                                                      WA, WI, WV

         Police Powers for Animal                     AL, AK, AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, HI, IN, ME,
                                                      MD, MA, NV, NJ, NM, NY, OH, SD, TN, VT,         UNKNOWN                                       27 States
         Control Ofcers                              VA, WA, WV

         a. States not mentioned have cat vaccination requirements but no licensing. West Virginia is included in this category.


        services. Other states may regulate activities of shelters under other laws                          is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, shall be imprisoned in
        such as those described in Table 1.                                                                  the penitentiary not less than one year nor more than ten years;
                                                                                                             and, if the horse, cow or other animal is of less value than one
        II. Animal Welfare                                                                                   hundred dollars, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon
                                                                                                             conviction, shall be confined in jail not more than three months
          West Virginia ranks fairly high on animal protection due to several sections                       and fined not more than five hundred dollars: Provided, That this
        of the state code. These include the leash law provisions and spay/neuter                            section shall not be construed to include dogs.”
        laws discussed above, as well as, a felony cruelty provision, police powers                          This section appears to exclude dogs and all livestock with a value of
        for humane officers, forfeiture and reimbursement requirements, and an                          less than $100. This section of the code was superceded by W. Va. Code
        early intervention program for juvenile animal abusers.                                         §61-8-19b, which was enacted in 2005. W. Va. Code §61-3-27 is still being
                                                                                                        used by some prosecutors despite the newer and more comprehensive law
                                                                                                        (Gainer, 2006).
        Cruelty Laws                                                                                           Another section of the W. Va. Code covers animals used by law-
            Only Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, Idaho and Utah                       enforcement and other officials. It specifies that “Any person who, without
        currently have no felony provisions in their animal cruelty laws (“Felony                       justification, and with the unlawful intent to inflict serious physical injury
        Animal Cruelty Laws, 2006), however, many state cruelty provisions are                          or death, causes the death of any trained dog or horse used by law-
        extremely limited and seldom applied. Texas allows an owner to kill their                       enforcement officials, the department of military affairs and public safety or
        own animal in any way they choose (Sec.42.09; “State Animal Anti-Cruelty                        by fire prevention or investigation officials in the performance of their official
        Law Provisions, 2006). Virginia felony provisions only come into effect if                      duties is guilty of a felony” (W. Va. Code §19-20-24).
        the animal dies (VA 3.1-196.122), Alabama and Kentucky cruelty laws
        cover only dogs and cats (AL 13A-11-241; KY 525.135). Sections §61-                             Tethering Laws
        3-27, §61-8-19a and §61-8-19b and §19-20-24 of the West Virginia code                                W. Va. Code §61-8-19 includes “cruelly chaining” as a misdemeanor
        describe animal cruelty and limit felony offenses for animal cruelty to those                   cruelty offense. This is an unusual addition to cruelty laws, although there
        in which “any person intentionally tortures, or mutilates or maliciously kills                  is no evidence that this provision has ever been enforced within the state,
        an animal, or causes, procures or authorizes any other person to torture,                       and the code does not define “cruelly chaining”. However, only three
        mutilate or maliciously kill an animal”( W. Va. Code §61-8-19b). There is a                     other states, California, Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia include any
        conflict in the law, however, as W. Va. Code §61-3-27 states:                                   statewide restrictions on chaining or tethering (“Anti-Chaining Laws”, 2007).
                                                                                                        Tethering refers to the chaining or otherwise tying an animal to a tree, fence,
               “If a person maliciously administers poison to, or exposes poison
                                                                                                        or other structure for long periods of time. The United States Department of
            with the intent that it should be taken by, any horse, cow or other
                                                                                                        Agriculture, Animal Welfare Provisions does ban tethering as a permanent
            animal of another person, or if any person maliciously maims, kills,
                                                                                                        form of confinement and sets standards for exercise, socialization and
            or causes the death of any horse, cow or other animal of another
                                                                                                        shelter for all animals under its purview (Animal Welfare Act, 2006; “USDA
            person, of the value of one hundred dollars or more, the person
                                                                                                        Outlaws..”, 1997; “Animal Care: A New Era in Animal Welfare”, 2002).


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                                                                   Table 3
                                       Comparison of Animal Welfare Laws- West Virginia and Other States
                     Policy/Law                                   Statewide                                 Local Option                       States that Do Not Have
                                                    AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL ,GA, Il, ME,                                                 AL, AK, DC, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD,
         Lemon Law/ Puppy
                                                    MA, MI, MN, NV, NH, NJ , NY, PA, SC,                                                    MS, MO MT, NE, NM, ND, OH, OK, OR, RI,
         Protection                                 VA, VT                                                                                  SD, TN, TX, UT WA, WI, WV, WY

         Felony Cruelty                             43 states including WV.a                                                                AK, HI, ID, MS, ND, SD, UT

         Tethering/Chaining                         CA, VA, CT, MDb, WVc, PA, ME, NJ, NY,         WV, AL, AR, FL, GA, MO, NC, CO, DC, IN,
                                                                                                                                          AK, AZ, DE, HI, ID, IA, IL, MS, MO, MT, NE,
         Restriction or Exercise                    NV, NC, RI, TXd                               KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NM, NY,
                                                                                                                                          ND, NH, SC, SD, UT, VT, WA, WY
                                                                                                  OH, OK, OR, TN, WI
         Requirement
                                                    AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA IL, IN, IA, KS, ME,
         Psychological Referrals                    MD, MI, MN, MS, NV, NJ, NM , OH, OR,                                                    31 States
                                                    TN, TX, UT, VT PA, RI, VA, WA, WV

         Reimbursement to Impound                   WV, 34 Other States
                                                                                                                                            AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, IN, IA, KS, KY,
         Facility                                                                                                                           NH, NC, OK, TX, VA

         Forfeiture of Animals/
                                                    AK, DE, ME, MD, MI, MN, MT, NH, TN, VT,
         Restrictions on Future                     VA, WI, WV, WY
                                                                                                                                            36 States
         Ownership
         Drugs Required for
                                                    AK, DE, FL, GA, LA, ME, MI, NV, OH, OR,
         Euthanasia of Shelter                      RI, UT, VT
                                                                                                                                            WV and 22 Other States
         Animals

         a. Felony laws are only useful when enforced. Of 36 cruelty cases led in West Virginia between January 1, 2006 and May 1, 2007, only one involved felony charges. Seventeen
         were misdemeanor charges and the rest were either open cases or no charges were led.
         b. These states have current bans on tethering except for short periods
         c. West Virginia denes cruelly chaining as a felony and allows municipalities and counties to develop ordinances to manage dogs.
         d. These states are currently considering legislation to ban tethering.


                                                                                                    Cross-reporting and Psychological Evaluations
             Dogs Deserve Better is one of several interest groups dedicated to                         According to W. Va. Code §7-10-2, humane officers investigating animal
        enacting anti-tethering legislation. Their website, www.dogsdeservebetter.                  abuse are required to report any suspicion of abuse to humans to appropriate
        com lists states that have enacted, or are considering statewide legislation                authorities. W. Va. Code §9-6-9a requires adult protective service workers
        to limit the time in which an animal can be chained. Pennsylvania, Maine,                   to report suspected animal abuse to the humane officer, and W. Va. Code
        New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Texas                       §49-6a-2b requires reporting of suspected animal abuse to the humane
        are currently considering anti-tethering legislation (www.dogsdeservebetter.                officer. In addition, W. Va. Code §49-5-13f provides for referral of an entire
        com, April 29, 2007). At least ten states currently allow local governments                 family for evaluation and counseling if a juvenile in the home is charged
        to enact laws against permanent tethering, either through Home Rule or                      with animal cruelty. Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Utah
        enabling legislation. These include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia,                    and West Virginia also require psychological counseling for juveniles found
        Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas. Most laws                        guilty of animal cruelty (“State Animal Anti-Cruelty Law Provisions”, 2006).
        require times of exercise and socialization for all animals but allow tethering                  Twenty nine states now provide for psychological evaluations for those
        for up to eight hours at a time. Laws that require exercise and socialization               convicted of animal cruelty, although it is only mandatory for anyone convicted
        each day would also ban the 24/7 confinement of animals to cages.                           of animal cruelty regardless of age, in California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana,
                                                                                                    Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia (“State Animal-Cruelty Law
        Forfeiture and Reimbursement                                                                Provisions”, 2006). West Virginia law mandates evaluation for those
              West Virginia law (W. Va. Code §61-8-19.I) requires forfeiture of                     convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony before they can receive
        currently owned animals upon conviction for either misdemeanor or felony                    probation (W. Va. Code §61-8-19.H1) and W. Va. Code §61-8-19.H2 allows
        animal cruelty. Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota,                     courts to mandate an anger management program for convicted animal
        Montana, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia,                       abusers.
        Wisconsin, Wyoming all have forfeiture provisions as well (“State Animal
        Cruelty Law Provisions”, 2006). Those convicted of misdemeanor animal                       Police Powers
        cruelty cannot own animals for five years and those convicted of felony                          West Virginia requires that each Sheriff appoint a humane office to
        animal cruelty cannot own animals for fifteen years. Thirty five states,                    handle animal control and welfare issues in the county (W. Va. Code §7-10-
        including West Virginia, require reimbursement to the seizing agency                        1) In addition, county dog wardens may also be given police powers. This
        for the cost of care of the animals until the animals are released to the                   is an important provision as animal cruelty is often a low priority concern for
        owner or forfeited (Hunter and Brisbin 2006a; W. Va. Code §7-10-4).                         overburdened sheriff’s departments. Twenty-two states give police powers



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         to humane officers, although in two or three of these states the humane
        officer must already be a police officer. In the others, county dog wardens
        or shelter directors can be given powers to issue tickets and make arrests.           III. Current Issues in West Virginia
        The primary complaint from animal rescue personnel in West Virginia
        (Hunter, 2006a) is that many counties with no shelter have only a sheriff’s                 Although West Virginia has enacted legislation to address many
        deputy appointed as a humane officer. With no local shelter in which to               animal control and animal welfare issues, several issues have increased
        impound seized animals, the Sheriff’s department may be unwilling to                  in importance in recent years. This section describes several of those
        pursue cruelty investigations.                                                        problems, along with potential solutions for them.


        Humane Euthanasia                                                                     Overpopulation and Feral Cats
             Humane euthanasia is an issue addressed by many states. Although                      Overpopulation, especially of cats, continues to be a problem in many
        the American Veterinary Medicine Association report on euthanasia                     areas of the country. In West Virginia, local government officials who
        describes many euthanasia methods, the report notes that euthanasia of                attended the Institute for Public Affairs’ Local Government Leadership
        unwanted animals in shelters should be done so that the animals are calm,             Academy workshops on animal control in 2005 and 2007 cited feral cats as
        not stressed or frightened, and die quickly and painlessly (2000 Report               their most serious animal problem. Cats kills birds, destroy gardens, carry
        on the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia, 2001). The report notes that gas is                  disease including rabies, and reproduce rapidly. They are not regarded as
        stressful and takes longer than drugs. They note that death should always             property, so there is no owner relationship for liability. Some shelters in West
        be verified because animals may become comatose during gassing, but                   Virginia do not even accept cats (Morgan, Lewis, Upshur, Jefferson County
        not actually die. Many states have legislation requiring that euthanasia              shelters, according to www.petfinder.org, 2007). Statistics compiled by the
                                                                                              National Council on Pet Population study and Policy (www.petpopulation.
        be instant and painless (Arkansas, Iowa), while Wyoming, Pennsylvania,
        California, Maryland and New Jersey prohibit certain methods, including               org, 2007), indicate that only about 2% of cats coming into shelters are
        carbon monoxide (CO) gas. Some require specific drugs (Alaska, Delaware,              returned to owners and over 70% of the cats in shelters are euthanized.
        Florida, Georgia, Maine, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont) to ensure that this             According to an irate renter, at least one apartment complex in Morgantown,
                                                                                              WV has resorted to hiring a pest control company to exterminate stray cats
        mandate is met, while most require only that the method be “humane”.
        A few (Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and South Dakota)                   on their property (Confidential interview, October 2006). For cats that are
        apparently allow virtually any method. West Virginia has banned shooting              identified as “feral”, the situation is even worse.
        (W. Va. Code §19-20-8.c(1)) except in emergencies and by an expert with                    Alley Cat Allies describes a feral cat as “a cat who has lived his whole
                                                                                              life with little or no human contact and is not socialized.” (Five FAQs about
        firearms, but allows virtually all other forms, including carbon monoxide gas.
               The AVMA report suggests that the preferred method for small                   Stray and Feral Cats, 2007). Because feral cats cannot usually be tamed,
        animals is intravenous injection of barbiturates by trained personnel                 they do not make good pets. If feral cats are taken to animal control or a
        (2000 Report, p. 680). Other studies have shown that this method                      municipal or county shelter, the cats “will almost certainly be killed” (Five
                                                                                              FAQs About Stray and Feral Cats, 2007).
        is actually less expensive than CO gas as well (Fakkema, 2007).
        According to Fakkema, carbon monoxide is no longer considered                               It is more difficult to lower the cat population than dogs for several
        acceptable by the American Veterinary Medical Association, although                   reasons. Cats can have several litters per year, while dogs generally have
        this researcher could not locate a policy statement to that effect.                   one or two litters per year, and cats survive in the wild better than do dogs.
                                                                                              Cats also survive and reproduce when abandoned so feral cat colonies
             Twenty five states, including West Virginia, require that euthanasia be
        conducted by a certified euthanasia technician or a veterinarian (W. Va.              develop and contribute to the cat overpopulation problem. Research on
        Code §30-10-A and W. Va. Code §19-20-8) although it is alleged that this              cat production indicates that a cat reaches sexual maturity as early as four
        is not enforced in some counties in West Virginia (Confidential, 2007).               months of age and can produce up to five litters per year (Feldman and
                                                                                              Nelson, 2004; Ptaszenka, 2002).
        Other Animal Welfare Laws
              West Virginia does not have laws to regulate puppy mills (breeding              Potential Solutions
        facilities with large numbers of dogs, usually with several breeds), shelters,        1. Spay/Neuter Programs
        rescue organizations, or humane organizations. State cruelty laws make no                  Spay/neuter legislation has been adopted in many states to address
        provisions for socialization or exercise and the law requires only protection         overpopulation and high euthanasia rates of cats and dogs at public
        from fatal freezing or heat exhaustion (W. Va.Code §7-10-4). Policies adopted         shelters. Many experts claim that this legislation has significantly reduced
        by other states that may be relevant for West Virginia will be addressed below.       the number of both cats and dogs coming into shelters in many states.
                                                                                              According to SPAYUSA, an organization devoted to reducing overpopulation
        Summary                                                                               of cats and dogs, New Jersey instituted their spay/neuter law in 1983
            As Figure 1 indicated, West Virginia has ranked in the second best tier           to provide low-cost clinics and added shelter animals to the program in
        of states on animal welfare, according to the Animal Defense Fund League.             1986. Intakes to shelters began to fall almost immediately (“New Jersey
        Table 3 provides an overview of West Virginia’s placement on several                  State Animal Population Control”, 2007: 4). New Hampshire law which
        important animal welfare issues. Despite the state’s fairly high ranking on           provides mandatory spay/neuter for shelter animals and a spay/neuter low
        legislation, there are no data to indicate that local governments have taken          cost clinic for pet owners, began in 1994. A sudden dropped occurred the
        advantage of these regulations (regulations related to tethering and felony           following year (www.spayusa.org). Both spay/neuter low cost clinics and
        cruelty provisions for example). Funding and lack of enforcement of the               mandatory spay/neuter have an impact, although it appears that mandatory
        state laws are issues that will be addressed below and in the conclusion              spay/neuter may be more effective. It apparently takes several years to
        of this article.


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        make a difference, and the addition of low-cost spay/neuter clinics is also          In addition, this bill would have created W. Va. Code §19-20-8b to allow
        an important program as well.                                                        county commissions to enact ordinances to control cats. HB2096 did not
              Although West Virginia’s law requires all adopters from both private           really address the overpopulation problem. A more useful provision would
        and public agencies to spay or neuter the adopted animal (W. Va. Code                be an amendment to W. Va. Code §19-20-22 to include cats under the
        §20-20B), no oversight is provided to ensure that private shelters enforce           requirement that they be confined during estrus.
        this law. Spay/neuter regulations also only apply to animals adopted from            4. Trap/Neuter/Release Programs
        agencies or shelters. West Virginia does not offer publicly funded spay/                   Feral cat programs that provide for humane capture, vaccinations,
        neuter clinics although many humane organizations offer vouchers to low-             altering, and release back into colonies are the most common, humane way
        income pet owners who wish to spay or neuter their pet.                              to reduce cat populations (Kalet, 2000; “Reduce Your Euthanasia Rate”,
             A bill, SB45, was introduced to the West Virginia legislature in 2006 to        2007). Feral cats cannot generally be socialized to live indoors, but colonies
        authorize low-cost spay/neuter mobile vans and to support them by relaxing           of cats can live together fairly well. Feral cat colonies on farms often keep
        veterinary regulations for mobile units. Veterinarians in West Virginia              down rodents in the barns so reduce the destruction of grain crops. If the
        objected to the mobile spay/neuter van because they were concerned that              cats are vaccinated and spayed or neutered so they do not overpopulate
        the veterinarians with the mobile van would come into a county, operate on           the area, the arrangement is a positive one for both farmer and cat colony.
        the animals, then leave the county. The legislation did not require them to          The trap, treat, neuter, release (TNR) programs are generally funded and
        provide post-operative care for the animals. Local veterinarians felt these          managed by Humane Societies rather than local governments, although
        relaxed regulations would create situations in which animals might develop           some states fund mobile spay/neuter vans that will alter the captured
        complications and require emergency care. The local veterinarians (if any            felines, either for free or at very low cost (Levy and Crawford, 2004).
        were available) would be required to provide this emergency care. Because                 Also, some counties and municipalities provide funding for the TNR
        people who take animals to a low-cost clinic are often unable or unwilling to        (trap, neuter, release) programs (Brevard County, Florida; Orange County,
        pay normal veterinary costs, there was also concern that these emergency             Florida; Cape May; New Jersey, and several Massachusetts cities and
        bills would not be paid. These veterinarians felt that the legislature could         counties). There are also public/private partnerships in Columbus, Ohio;
        address the overpopulation problem more effectively by funding low-cost              Berkeley, California; and Miami, Florida (See http://www.pawschicago.
        spay/neuter clinics through local clinics (Seiler, 2006).                            org for additional information). Three active feral cat programs have been
              The experience in other states with low-cost clinics has been fairly           identified by Alley Cat Allies in West Virginia ( although there are probably
        positive however. According to Robyn Hunnicutt, DVM (Hunnicut, 2006),                others that not listed): Feral Cat Project: CampusCats - Athens; Help For
        her experience in North Carolina with low-cost clinics was extremely                 Animals Spay Neuter Clinic - Barboursville; and Save A Kitty Feral Cat
        positive. She stated that regular veterinary practices often referred large          Program, Inc - Parkersburg. (Information on these programs can be found
        dogs to the low-cost clinics because they typically lose money on large              at http://www.alleycat.org.)
        animal neuters.                                                                            To identify the altered cats, a notch in the left ear, a green or red
        2. Licensing                                                                         tattoo around the umbilicus, or an O tattooed into the ear can be used.
              Another public policy designed to reduce overpopulation problems is            Veterinarians would prefer a statewide method to ensure that the marking
        differential licensing for spayed or neutered cats and dogs. As discussed            is understood by all shelters and veterinarians (Seiler, 2006). Alley Cat
        above, differential licensing refers to laws that set the license fee at a           Allies recommends removing a quarter of an inch straight across the ear
        higher level for unaltered animals than for altered ones. If the difference is       as opposed to notching, which can resemble cat fight scars (Burkett, July
        significant, owners are more likely to pay for the spay/neuter once rather           7 2006 email).
        than the license fee every year.                                                        Not all veterinarians are comfortable with TNR release programs (Kuehn,
               Cats are not licensed at all in most communities. Some states do              2002) due to concerns over personal legal liability as well as concerns
        include cats in their definition of companion animal and several specifically        over public health, the possible long-term health of the released cats, and
        list them as personal property (although West Virginia does not), but only a         financial responsibility. For this reason state support for the program is
        few states have enabling legislation to allow local governments to license           important.
        cats. Only Rhode Island has a state-wide licensing requirement for cats
        (RI ST § 4-22-1 - 10 ) and that state also passed a bill in 2006 to increase         Dog Bites and Dangerous Dogs
        the licensing fee to $100 for cats that are not spayed or neutered (Johnson,            Despite strong dangerous dog laws, leash laws, and other animal control
        2006). Cats are not recognized as property in West Virginia and are neither          measures, citizens continue to complain about dangerous dogs in their
        licensed nor taxed.                                                                  community. According to research by Richard Brisbin and Susan Hunter
               Licensing by itself, does not address the feral cat problem, even if          (Hunter and Brisbin, 2007), almost 40% of all Americans
        owners license their feline companions (Kalet, 2000). The serious problem            believe that some breeds of dogs are inherently dangerous or at least more
        in most communities is overpopulation by cats that have no identified owner.         prone to bite. Research on dog bites indicates that unaltered male dogs
        Differential licensing of altered and unaltered cats, however, might reduce          (not spayed or neutered), chained or tethered dogs (dogs that are tied in
        the number of abandoned cats who become feral or produce feral kittens.              an outside area for long periods of time), and unvaccinated dogs are most
        3. Leash Laws                                                                        likely to bite. Twenty-five percent of all fatal dog bites in the United States
           Only Rhode Island has statewide legislation restricting cats from running         have been by dogs that are normally chained (Delise, 2002; Gershman,
        at large. The West Virginia legislature has considered such legislation, in          Sacks and Wright, 1994; CDC 1997). As noted above, West Virginia has
        2006 and again in 2007. HB 2096, introduced in the 2007 session, would               a strong dangerous dog law and allows localities to enact breed specific
        have amended W. Va. Code §19-20-13 to include cats in the provision                  legislation.
        for owner liability of damage incurred if the animal is running at large.


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           In rural states like West Virginia, dogs chasing livestock and wildlife can           Although West Virginia is not yet known for puppymills (only one breeder
        be a significant problem. West Virginia law holds owners responsible for              has obtained a breeder license from the US Department of Agriculture),
        the actions of their animals. W. Va. Code §20-2-16 governs dogs chasing               there are reportedly several large facilities in Preston and Berkeley counties
        deer, while W. Va. Code § 19-20-12 allows anyone to shoot dogs worrying               (Davis, 2007; Johnie, 2007; Leonhart, 2007). Puppymills are so well-known
        or chasing livestock. The owner of the dog is liable for any damages.                 for abusive, unsanitary, and inhumane conditions, that Governor Rendell
                                                                                              in Pennsylvania recently fired his entire Dog Advisory Board for failing to
        Potential Solutions                                                                   improve conditions in the state’s mills (“Governor Rendell Acts..”, 2006)
        1. Breed Bans and Dangerous Dog Laws                                                  and Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania introduced legislation
           These laws were discussed under Animal Control laws in the first section           in Congress to force more oversight of puppymills (“Senator Santorum..,”
        of this article. Although research on breed bans does find that incidences            2005). Federal bills have been introduced every year since 2003 to increase
        of bites from the banned breed decrease in communities where a ban is                 federal oversight of puppymills, but to date none have passed.
        in place, the overall number of dog bites does not decrease (Hunter and
        Brisbin, 2007).                                                                       Shelters and Rescues:
        2. Tethering Laws                                                                       As animal rescue efforts have become widespread across the country and
            Tethering laws are seen as a solution to serious dog bites because data           in West Virginia, additional problems have also arisen. Although Humane
        indicate a clear linkage between chained dogs and dog bites. Twenty-five              Societies and breed rescue groups (recognized by cat and dog breed clubs)
        percent of the serious dog bites in the United States between 1985 and                often do excellent work, anyone can claim to rescue animals. Collectors
        1994 were by tethered dogs (CDC, 1997). A longer discussion of this issue             who accumulate animals have been a problem for many years but recently
        is found under the discussion of animal welfare laws in this article.                 people have begun to use “rescue” as a way to obtain animals for resale to
        3. Licensing                                                                          research labs or even to the public. West Virginia does not inspect kennels
            Data from Calgary, Canada found that strict enforcement of licensing              or rescue organizations so anyone can call themselves an animal rescue
        laws, and differential licensing to encourage spay/neuter of pets significantly       and collect animals. Between June, 2006 and May, 2007 three large rescue
        reduced dog bites in their community. Unaltered male dogs are more likely             organizations in West Virginia have come under investigation. Star Ridge
        to bite than other dogs (CDC, 1997).                                                  Rescue Ranch was shut down in June 29, 2006 through the efforts of West
        4. Education and Responsible Pet Ownership                                            Virginia Citizens for the Honest Adoption of Pets, Preston County Animal
            Education is directed toward children, the general population, and dog            Control, and the Preston County Sheriff’s office (www.wvchap.org).
        owners. Several organizations publish materials to educate children about                   Over 200 dead or diseased animals were found and 165 ultimately
        avoiding dog bites. Fido! Friend or Foe? is an activity book provided by the          were seized (Animal Abuse Case Details, 2006). The caretakers were both
        College of Veterinary Medicine and Auburn University to teach children how            charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, convicted and
        to avoid dog bites (no longer available, but was available at www.auburn.             sentenced to one year home confinement (WBOY, 2-15-07; Salem News,
        edu or www.statefarm.com in 2006). Another excellent resource is the                  4-26-07). Another animal rescue facility located in Inwood, West Virginia
        National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE),                  had 149 animals removed by animal control in July of 2006 (Rondeaux,
        which has inexpensive coloring books, games, videos, and pamphlets to                 2006). The owner, has not yet been convicted and is still raising funds and
        educate adults and children about safety around animals. These can be                 maintaining a website for her rescue, although she has no pets listed at
        found at http://www.nahee.org/bite.asp. The American Kennel Club, www.                the moment. A third rescue is currently under investigation by the Nicholas
        AKC.org and the Humane Society of the United States, www.HSUS.org,                    County Sheriff’s office (Press Release, 2007). This rescue continues to
        also provide educational pamphlets and materials for children and adults.             place animals for adoption, and maintains several websites which solicit
                                                                                              funds to assist their efforts.
                                                                                                  Legitimate rescue groups are able to provide veterinarian references,
        Consumer Protection Concerns                                                          generally are recognized by the local county shelters, and often have
        Puppymills:                                                                           an affiliation with a national breed club or rescue organization (“Guide
              Over 70% of all Americans own a pet (Hunter and Brisbin, 2007),                 to Adopting a Pet”, 2007). Although many county shelters now require
        so breeding for the pet market is a big business. Puppymills are large                applications and references from rescue groups in an attempt to ensure
        commercial enterprises in which dogs are bred to produce puppies to                   their legitimacy, the public is unaware of the potential problems. Legitimate
        sell to research labs, pet stores or individual buyers. Missouri, Nebraska,           rescue groups spay/neuter before placement, provide medical care for the
        Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania have the majority of                animals, provide socialization and evaluation of the animal, and screen
        puppymills in the United States (Puppymills Breed Misery, 2007; Breeder               adopters carefully. Although a rescue organization may be too small to
        Facility List, 2007). Those that sell wholesale or to research labs are               have an actual shelter which could be inspected, a legitimate one will
        required to obtain a breeder’s license or a dealer license from the US                provide a clean, safe environment for the animals.
        Department of Agriculture. Breeders who do not sell wholesale or in litter
        lots (an entire litter to one purchaser) are not required to obtain a federal         Potential Solutions
        license. In recent years, the internet has allowed many puppymills to avoid
                                                                                              1. Differential Licensing
        federal oversight because they can sell and ship nationally to individual
                                                                                                Differential licensing reduces puppymill profits. The higher the difference
        buyers through internet sales (Puppymills Breed Misery, 2007; “Internet
                                                                                              between fees for unaltered animals vs. spayed or neutered animals, the
        dog sales shelter rogue breeders.” 2007). An online magazine, The Dog
                                                                                              more likely commercial breeders would be to move to another state. This
        Owner’s Guide has developed a set of definitions to help pet purchasers
                                                                                              would have no impact on rescue organizations unless they also bred
        avoid puppymills (“Dog Owner’s Guide”, 2007).
                                                                                              animals.


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        2. State Kennel Licensing and Inspection                                                the adoption or purchase price would probably gain more support (Burkett,
          Statewide or local kennel licensing and inspection laws allow veterinarians           2007).
        or animal control officers to inspect facilities to ensure compliance with state
        laws, including animal welfare laws and state health laws. In order for these           Animal Hoarders
        laws to be truly effective strong cruelty legislation that sets standards for              Many animals are also the victims of people who take them from shelters,
        housing, health care, nutrition, and socialization must also be in place.               owner surrenders or other situations, but fail to provide adequate care. These
           Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts,               hoarders or collectors are well-meaning people who may have started out
        Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey,                   as rescuers but never placed any animals. They rapidly become overrun
        Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia all provide for inspections.                 with animals, and the situation becomes unsanitary and even dangerous
        Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina, and West Virginia require              for both people and animals. Many of these people have mental health
        kennel licenses but have no inspection requirements. Most kennel licensing              problems and need care rather than punishment (Patronek, 1999; 2001).
        and inspection laws cover only breeders who sell several litters per year.              The recidivism rate is about 60%, meaning that they begin to hoard animals
        Definitions of a kennel range from a facility housing more than some set                again as soon as they are released to do so ( Vermont Animal Cruelty Task
        number of animals per year (as low as five in West Virginia) to facilities that         Force, 2004). Although they are often charged with animal cruelty due
        sell or place a set number per year. Pennsylvania law covers any facility that          to the inhumane conditions, the cause of the problem is not addressed.
        “keeps, harbors, boards, shelters, sells, gives away or transfers a total of 26
        or more dogs in any one calendar year.” (Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement,                 Potential Solutions
        2007) Virginia law may provide the broadest coverage. Virginia code §                        Hoarding is really a mental health issue and can only be addressed
        3.1-796.67:2 gives the state veterinarian the power to “conduct inspections             through referrals for mental health evaluations and counseling, in addition
        of animal shelters, and inspect any business premises where animals are                 to constant monitoring. Kennel licensing and inspection laws would provide
        housed or kept, including any boarding establishment, kennel, pet shop,                 animal control and law enforcement officers with the ability to inspect a
        pound, or the business premises of any dealer, exhibitor or groomer, at                 hoarder’s facility on a regular basis. Although kennel inspections would not
        any reasonable time, for the purposes of determining if a violation of (i) this         help the hoarder, they would prevent the accumulation of animals above
        chapter; (ii) any other state law governing the care, control or protection of          the person’s ability to provide care. West Virginia law provides for mental
        animals; or (iii) any other state law governing property rights in animals has          health referrals upon conviction for animal cruelty so a hoarder could be
        occurred.” (www.animallaw.com 2007).                                                    required to receive psychological counseling (W. Va. Code §61-8-19.(h)(1).
        3. Puppy Protection/Lemon Laws
             Lemon laws are designed to protect consumers, but tend to protect                  Funding and Enforcement
        animals as well. If a breeder, kennel operator, or even rescue organization                 Although West Virginia has addressed many animal control and welfare
        has to reimburse the purchaser for the purchase price, and in some cases                issues, a primary problem is funding. Without sufficient funding, sheriff
        even more (California requires reimbursement up to 150% of the purchase                 department humane officers, county dog wardens, and animal control
        price for veterinary expenses), the seller is likely to provide adequate health         officers lack the capacity to fully enforce existing state animal laws. Many
        care and nutrition to ensure the sale of healthy pets.                                  counties and municipalities have no public shelter for impoundments and no
           Puppy protection bills (lemon laws) range from nonexistent (West Virginia            dog warden to assist the sheriff’s department with animal control problems.
        and 27 other states) to California, Florida, and Minnesota laws which give                    Currently West Virginia counties are able to levy a $3 per dog tax,
        consumers two years to discover genetic problems in their cat or dog and to             and municipalities can levy an additional $3 tax on dogs living in their
        receive reimbursement for medical expenses up to the purchase price of the              jurisdiction (W. Va. Code §19-20-6). These taxes are collected by the
        animal (“Puppy Lemon Law States”, 2007). In these states pet stores are                 county assessor, who takes a 10% collection fee from the total. A portion is
        required to post the law prominently in their store. The strongest of these             returned to municipalities and any remaining amount goes to the Sheriff’s
        laws also cover anyone who sells more than 2 animals or one litter per year             Dog and Kennel Fund, which was established to reimburse livestock
        (Vermont), thus covering most breeders as well. Florida, Minnesota, New                 owners for damage created by stray dogs. Funds may also be used to
        Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Vermont cover most                   pay expenses for a humane officer, a shelter, and other animal control
        breeders as well as pet stores and commercial facilities. No current laws               activities. Unfortunately assessors estimate that at least 80% of the dogs
        specifically cover rescue or humane organizations, although California law              in WV are unlicensed (Hunter, 2006.b). The law specifies that the penalty
        covers anyone who sold, transferred or gave away two or more litters during             for failure to pay the dog tax is confiscation and possible euthanasia of
        the preceding year, and Pennsylvania law covers everyone who operates                   the dog. There is no incentive for county animal control officers to look for
        a kennel. As this includes rescue organizations who have more than 25                   unlicensed dogs as there is a fine of only $1.50 per day for up to 15 days for
        animals at one facility, some rescues would also possibly be covered.                   failure to pay the license/tax (W. Va. Code §19-20-2) and a bounty of $.50
        (Puppy Lemon Law States, 2007).                                                         per dog captured. County Commissions can supplement the allocation to
           WV Citizens for the Honest Adoption of Pets (WVCHAP) drafted a puppy                 shelters and other animal control activities, but are not required to do so.
        protection bill that was introduced into the West Virginia House and Senate                    Because of the low tax and the lack of compliance, county dog
        during the 2007 session. HB2869 and SB547 were written to include rescue                assessments range from a low of $411 in one county to $53,000 in
        organizations, shelters, and breeders who sold more than 25 animals per                 Wood County (Hibbs and Patel, 2006). The average yearly dog tax
        year. Neither bill made it out of committee. Humane organizations were                  revenue is $11,800 per county. Counties must therefore fund shelters
        concerned that the requirement that they reimburse adopters for veterinary              and animal care from general funds if they wish to have a shelter. The
        costs would cause them to shut down (Shaffer, 2007). A bill that exempts                number of counties in West Virginia operating public funded shelters
        publicly funded shelters, and required reimbursement only up to the cost of             varies, but there are fewer than twenty at any one time. Many counties


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        in West Virginia have shelters operated by Humane Societies (Taylor,                      hunting: Washington, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota,
        Kanawha, and Mason) or animal welfare organizations and some have no                      Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia,
        shelter at all. Some have no county funding, while others are primarily                   and Florida (“Internet Hunting: Where Does Your State Stand?”, 2007).
        funded by the county. Hampshire County Humane Society receives no
        county funding, while the Mason County Commission funds the no-kill                       Potential Solution:
        shelter operated in their county (Hunter, 2006.a). Without strong public                  1. Ban hunting of non-indigenous species
        support and donations, shelters cannot operate in most counties. This                        West Virginia already bans remote hunting. A ban on hunting non-native
        has been exacerbated by recent passage of SB370 to exempt livestock                       species would reduce the appeal of hunting preserves. Hunting preserves
        from property taxes (Hibbs and Patel, 2006) . This reduces funding                        charge hunters a fee above the cost of the hunting license so they increase
        resources for counties, already overburdened by increasing demands.                       the costs of hunting. If only native species can be hunted in the state, there
                                                                                                  would be little need for hunters to pay the extra fee.
        Potential Solutions                                                                       2. Require that animals on hunting preserves have a reasonable
        1. Increase Taxes and Fees for Non Compliance                                             chance of escape
          West Virginia dog taxes are extremely low. Raising the tax to $10 per altered              As with a ban on hunting of non-native species, this requirement would
        animal and $50 per unaltered animal would increase revenues while also                    make hunting preserves virtually equivalent to public areas and would
        providing an incentive for owners to spay/neuter their pets. A minimum fine               remove the incentive to pay the extra fee to hunt on a preserve.
        of $100 for failure to license pets would also increase compliance and would              3. Ban the sale of non-native (exotic) species except to institutions
        provide an incentive to animal control officers to check for proof of vaccinations        accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association
        and licensing. Adding a similar tax for cats could potentially double revenues.                This proposal was part of West Virginia Senate Bill 384 and House Bill
        2. Establish minimum fines with revenues going to support animal                          2430 which were introduced during the 2007 legislative session to regulate
        control efforts.                                                                          the care, sale, and transfer of exotic animals within West Virginia. Senate
           A minimum fine of $100 for unconfined females in estrus, with the addition             Bill 384 passed, but House Bill 2430 did not make it out of committee. These
        of cats to that provision would both reduce the number of puppies and kittens             bills would have established a West Virginia Animal Safety Control Board to
        taken to shelters and would increase revenues. High minimum fines for                     regulate the sale and care of exotic animals. This legislation would be an
        failure to vaccinate, operating a kennel without a license, and animals running           excellent first step in protecting non-native species.
        at-large (again adding cats to this provision) with the fines going to support
        animal control would provide an incentive to animal control officers to strictly          Conclusions
        enforce these laws, and would also provide the income to allow them to do so.
                                                                                                      Much of the recent legislation and bills introduced into the West Virginia
        Wildlife and Hunting                                                                      state legislature have been instigated by national publicity on several terrible
             Although hunting is a popular sport in West Virginia, and many other                 cases of animal abuse, but also by an increase in animal welfare interest
        states, some types of hunting are considered by animal welfare advocates                  groups in the state. There are currently 78 animal rescue groups that
        to be cruel. Canned hunts have existed for centuries, but there is growing                have met the requirements of 501(c)(3) status or acknowledgment by local
        opposition to the hunting of captive animals (“Stop Canned Hunts”, 2007).                 veterinarians and county shelters as legitimate animal rescue groups (as
        Canned hunts involve “shooting animals in small enclosures”, and have                     listed on www.Petfinder.org). Thirty nine counties have an active humane
        nothing to do with keeping herds healthy or providing food for families                   society, although this number fluctuates. (Burkett, Email, May 15, 2006).
        according to Ted Kerasote, a hunter and noted author (“Stop Canned                        West Virginia Citizens for the Humane Adoption of Pets (WVCHAP) was
        Hunts” 2007). Canned hunting ranges from large hunting preserves or                       organized in 2006 in response to concerns about unethical practices by
        state forests, covering thousands of acres, on which hunters are allowed                  rescue organizations in the state, but has refocused its efforts on legislation.
        to hunt for indigenous wildlife such as deer, elk, and bear to fenced in                  All of these organizations have an interest in improving animal welfare laws
        areas of a few acres in which indigenous wildlife and sometimes exotic                    in the state.
        animals are trapped, allowing hunters to locate and kill with relative                            Although lack of capacity (funding and trained staff) are serious
        ease. In the worst cases the animals are drugged or even tethered. True                   impediments to improving animal control and animal welfare in the counties,
        sportsmen disapprove of these hunts and several states have banned                        there are issues that state and local governments must address.
        hunting preserves that do not provide animals a reasonable opportunity                         Tethering, although recognized by the USDA as inhumane and now
        to escape. Twenty-nine states restrict animal preserves to indigenous                     banned under the Animal Welfare Act, is still allowed with virtually no
        species, while seven of these states require that even native wildlife                    restrictions in West Virginia despite wording in the state code to allow
        be provided a reasonable opportunity to escape (Alabama, California,                      local governments to restrict it. Other forms of abuse, particularly failure
        New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and West Virginia).                           to provide sufficient food, water, and shelter even to the point of death,
             Another form of hunting, internet hunting, has gained even greater                   are still considered misdemeanor offenses in the state. The punishment
        disapproval. Internet hunting is a new and terrible form of animal                        is often probation or a small fine, making the offense of killing an animal
        abuse, in which hunters log onto a computer and point their joystick                      through starvation equivalent to a speeding ticket. State action is required
        gun at a tethered or closely confined animal somewhere, perhaps                           to increase penalties for animal cruelty.
        thousands of miles away, and shoot it. The animal is killed and a trophy                      Hoarding, dishonest rescue groups that do not provide humane care of
        is sent to the “hunter”. Texas was the first to develop this opportunity                  animals, and puppymills appear to be an increasing problem in West Virginia.
        but many states, including West Virginia, reacted quickly by banning                      Without kennel inspections, and significant fines for non-compliance, these
        such practices. All but fourteen states have banned internet or remote                    problems will likely continue to increase. To protect consumers from


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        unethical breeders and rescuers, a statewide animal consumer protection                 control and manage dogs. However, data indicate that responsible
        act is needed.                                                                          dog ownership is needed to prevent future problems. Responsible dog
              Overpopulation, particularly of feral cats, is a major concern to local           ownership includes socialization, exercise, licensing, vaccinations,
        officials in many West Virginia counties. Shelters are always full to capacity,         and control. These can be addressed through the following policies:
        and a majority of animals coming into West Virginia shelters are euthanized.            1. Strengthen cruelty legislation to include a ban on permanent tethering
        There are not enough adoptive homes for all of the animals. Unless cat                  and to require daily exercise and socialization periods for all animals
        owners are required to take responsibility for their pets in the same manner            under the current misdemeanor legislation. These provisions would allow
        as dog owners, cats will continue to reproduce and contribute to the feral              humane officers to investigate any situation in which an animal appears to
        cat problem. Feral cat programs, supported by local government, along                   be permanently housed outside in a small area and would give prosecutors
        with state legislation to recognize cats as property and regulate them in the           the ability to prosecute owners of dogs that bite, if they had failed to provide
        same manner as dogs are needed to resolve this growing problem. Cats                    any exercise or socialization.
        are not the only contributors to the overflow of county shelters, however.              2. Increase compliance with leash laws, licensing, and vaccination
        Dog owners who do not confine females in estrus and who allow unneutered                requirements through significantly increased fines for noncompliance, with
        males to run at large also contribute to this problem.                                  funds going to animal control.

        Recommendations                                                                         Consumer Protection Concerns and Animal Hoarders:
                                                                                                     Both the animal and its adopter/purchaser suffer when unethical and
                                                                                                uncaring people become involved with breeding, rescuing, and selling
        Overpopulation and Feral Cats
                                                                                                animals. To increase the probability that purchasers and adopters obtain
           One effective tool for reducing pet overpopulation is differential licensing,
                                                                                                healthy animals two policies are needed:
        which establishes one license fee or tax for spayed or neutered animals
                                                                                                1.       Establish a kennel licensing and inspection program for rescue
        and a much higher tax or license fee for unaltered animals. This structure
                                                                                                organizations or individuals that accept more than 50 animals per year
        provides an incentive to pet owners to alter their animals unless they plan
                                                                                                into their facility or have more than 25 animals on their premises at any
        to breed them. This tool is most effective when coupled with spay/neuter
                                                                                                one time; and breeders who sell more than two litters per year or 20
        legislation. The primary problem with differential licensing (or any licensing)
                                                                                                animals. Significant fines for noncompliance must accompany the licensing
        is compliance. This could be addressed in two ways.
                                                                                                requirements to ensure compliance.
           1. Dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated for rabies. If veterinarians
                                                                                                2. Develop consumer protection legislation to cover all companion animals
        were given the authority to issue cat and dog licenses, and did so at the time
                                                                                                sold or placed for adoption by individuals or organizations in the state. This
        of vaccinations, a differential fee could be collected as easily as a set fee,
                                                                                                legislation should require that a health certificate signed by a veterinarian
        and owners would be encouraged to spay/neuter their pets. Compliance
                                                                                                be provided for each animal. The health certificate should certify that the
        would increase as well. This adds work for veterinary clinics so they must
                                                                                                animal has been vaccinated for all contagious diseases (including rabies if
        be able to collect an additional processing fee.
                                                                                                the animal is over four months of age), the animal has no discernible health
           2. Fines for noncompliance should be significant and minimum fines could
                                                                                                problems, and the animal is at least eight weeks of age. A requirement
        be established to ensure that they are applied. If animal control officers
                                                                                                that the purchaser/adopter be reimbursed for medical expenses up to the
        received the revenue from these fines, they would have an incentive to
                                                                                                purchase price/adoption fee if the animal is found to be diseased within
        check animals for proof of registration.
                                                                                                fifteen days of adoption/purchase or is found to have a genetic defect within
            The feral cat issue has been addressed in some counties in WV and
                                                                                                one year of purchase is a necessary component of this legislation. The
        elsewhere with TNR (trap, neuter, release) programs. Local animal
                                                                                                provision relating to reimbursement for genetic defects should only cover
        welfare groups assume responsibility for a cat colony, capture the animals
                                                                                                dealers and breeders who sell animals for profits.
        humanely, have them vaccinated and altered, and return them to the colony.
                                                                                                3. Establish a registration program for rescue organizations that would
        They may also provide food during the winter so that the animals do not get
                                                                                                require veterinary references, an inspection by the local humane officer,
        into trash cans and harm birds. Low-cost spay/neuter and health clinics
                                                                                                and a certificate to be renewed at least every 3-5 years.
        through a mobile vet clinic would significantly aid this endeavor. Although
        most of the effort in this program is undertaken by volunteers, state support
        of low-cost spay/neuter programs, including mobile vans for areas with no               Funding and Enforcement
        low-cost programs offered by clinics would be an important state program.                   Funding is always an important concern in any policy area. Because
            To improve the identification of owned cats, a cat registration program             current taxes and fines are very low, a significant increase in the dog tax,
        would be invaluable. Several states have voluntary programs in which cat                extension of the tax to include cats, a significant increase in kennel license
        owners can register their cats and receive licenses to identify them. A                 fees, and a high minimum fine for noncompliance on all current animal
        mandatory system would include cats in the definition of personal property              control and welfare laws would provide an increase in revenues. To provide
        and tax them at the same level as dogs. Again, giving veterinary clinics the            an incentive to animal control officers to enforce the laws, these increased
        authority to collect these taxes would increase compliance.                             fines and funds must go to animal control efforts in each county.

        Dangerous Dogs and Dog Bites
            West Virginia already has a strong dangerous dog law and already
        enables local governments to establish additional regulations to




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        Institute for Public Affairs                                                                                                                                                       June 2007

                                                                                                                 http://www.hsus.org/pets/issues_affecting_our_pets/pet_overpopulation_and_
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        Institute for Public Affairs                                                                                                                                June 2007

        Shaffer, Sylvia. 2007. Email correspondence providing reasons for opposition to HB2896.
           February 15, 2007
        “Spay/Neuter Ordinances”. 2007. Taken from In Defense of Animals website:                          About the Author
           http://www.idausa.org/facts/spayneuter.html , May 22, 2007.                                         Susan Hunter has been involved with animal issues for over
        “State Animal Anti-Cruelty Law Provisions”. 2006. The Humane Society of the United States
           Fact Sheet. Updated April 2006,                                                                 twenty years as both a researcher and an active participant as a
        “Stop Canned Hunts” 2007. http://www.hsus.org/wildlife/stop_canned_hunts/. Downloaded              handler in the show ring, trainer, breeder, and rescuer of Boston
           May 31, 2007
        “The Five Best States to be an Animal Abuser” , May 31, 2006.                                      Terriers. Dr. Hunter received her PhD in political science from The
           http://www.aldf.org/article.asp?cid=550.                                                        Ohio State University in 1984 with an emphasis on environmen-
        “USDA Outlaws Dog Tethering as a Means of Housing” 1997. Animal Welfare Information
           Center Newsletter, Summer 1997, Vol. 8. No. 2                                                   tal policy and political theory. Recent papers, co-authored with
        WBOY 2007. “Case Update: Starved Dogs Removed from Shelter”, print file at
           http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/9264/WV/US/#UPDATES
                                                                                                           Richard A. Brisbin Jr., include “Rights Consciousness and the
        Weiss, Linda S. 2001. “Breed Specific Legislation in the United States” Animal Legal and           Meaning of Animal Rights: A Four Nation Study”, “Animal Welfare
           Historical Web Center, Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law.
           http://www.animallaw.info/articles/art_details/print.htm                                        Laws and State Politics: What Puts a Bite in the Law?” and “Pan-
        Williams, Terry. 2007. Telephone interview with Terry Williams, Putnam County Animal Relief        ic Policy Making: Canine Breed Bans in Canada and the United
           Center director, May 22, 2007.
        Wisch, Rebecca F. 2004. “Overview of State Dog Leash Laws” Animal Legal and Historical             States.” Dr. Hunter has received grants from the Eberly College
           Center, Michigan State University College of Law. December pp 1-10.                             of Arts and Sciences at WVU and from the Canadian Embassy in
        2000 Report on the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia JAVMA Vol 218 No .5 March 1, 2001.
           668:697.                                                                                        the United States to pursue animal policy research.




     Mark your calendar now for the
           LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
                                                       FALL 2007 CONFERENCE
                                                          Friday, August 24th
                                                                   and
                                                        Saturday, August 25th
                                                                  at the
                                                    Embassy Suites Hotel
                                                       Charleston, west Virginia
                                                    1-304-347-8700
                                           www.embassysuitescharlestonwv.com
                                                         Reserve your room now!
                      A block of rooms are available for a limited time at a special conference rate of $124 per night.
                      The room reservation deadline is August 1, 2007. Refer to the “WVU Leadership Conference”
                      and use the three-digit code “LGL” when making reservations. Additional information about the
                      conference will be posted as it becomes available on the WVU Institute for Public Affairs’ Local
                        Government Leadership Academy website at: http://www.polsci.wvu.edu/ipa/academy.html



                                                                                                      14




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               Scholarships Available to Attend the
        Local Government Leadership Academy
              The Institute for Public Affairs has been awarded a grant from the Appa-
         lachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the West Virginia Development Of-
         ce to provide scholarships for public ofcials to attend the Local Government
         Leadership Academy. To qualify, ofcials must be rst-time attendees to the
         Academy and be from ARC designated distressed or at-risk counties (See List
         Below). Scholarships will pay for tuition and other costs associated with trav-
         eling to and attending the Academy. If interested, please contact the Institute
         for Public Affairs at: IPA@mail.wvu.edu or contact Thomas K. Bias at 1-304-
         293-5432. Please note that scholarships are limited and available on a rst-
         come, rst-serve basis for qualifying attendees.
              Participants will attend a variety of core and elective workshops on topics
         such as economic and community development, land-use management, grant
         writing, leadership skills, metro government and consolidation issues, broad-
         band connectivity, along with a whole host of other pubic policy issues impor-
         tant to West Virginia. These efforts are a part of a broader effort to enhance
         leadership and governing skills in association with the West Virginia Associa-
         tion of Counties, the County Commissioners; Association of West Virginia, and
         the West Virginia Municipal League.
         Distressed Counties: Barbour, Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Lincoln, Logan, Mason,
         McDowell, Mingo, Roane, Summers, Webster, Wirt, and Wyoming.

         At-Risk Counties: Boone, Doddridge, Jackson, Lewis, Mercer, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston,
         Randolph, Ritchie, Taylor, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, and Wetzel.



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                   To subscribe, e-mail the WVU Institute for Public Affairs at IPA@mail.wvu.edu




                                                           15




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        Institute for Public Affairs                                                                                     June 2007

        Figure 1: Animal League Defense Fund Best and Worst Animal Welfare Laws, 2006.
        Source: “The Five Best States to be an Animal Abuser”, http://www.aldf.org/resources/details.php?id=103
        This figure is reproduced with permission of the publisher.




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