MARTINSBURG – In response to an eight-page warrant filed against Berkeley County Animal Control by the nonprofit Alley Cat Allies, the county recently filed a motion to dismiss.
In its petition, county officials argued that the deposit was an alleged tactic for the nonprofit organization to establish a footprint in the county and receive money.
“Alley Cat Allies does not seek legal recourse; he is looking for publicity and donations. The strategy is simple: file a complaint, yell and get the loot, ”said the motion to reject and respond to Alley Cat Allies’ petition for a Mandamus Writ.
According to the county’s announcement of the filing, and as Berkeley County Sheriff Nathan Harmon previously said, the allegations in the order denying necessary medical care are “fictitious” and “embellished.”
“This is a very reckless and improper campaign tactic on the part of an entity masquerading as a nonprofit,” Harmon said, categorically denying the allegations with Animal Control Chief Kevin Jones. “I don’t care about their tactics at all. Their lack of professional courtesy and openness to healthy discussion is simply mind-blowing to me. This is not, in my experience, how things should be handled from one organization to another.
“I would say it’s a cape and dagger attempt.”
The Bethesda, Maryland-based company filed a subpoena with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on November 23. 8-l 9 (a) by providing “medical treatment, necessary to maintain normal health and fitness or to end the suffering of any animal”, to all animals in its care at the time of l admission or within a reasonable time after admission, and thereafter if necessary.
A writ of mandamus, according to the High Court’s Glossary of Terms, is a written order from a higher court requiring a public body, lower court, or public official to perform a required task.
The 21-page response filed by the county makes several points as to why it should be dismissed, including: failing to attempt or terminate the proper depot service, Alley Cat Allies does not have standing to sue, Alley Cat Allies does not have a clear legal right to a veterinarian caring for animals in the care and custody of the BCAC, the duty to provide medical care involves the issue of good discretion and other adequate remedies exist.
Since the start of this affair, the departmental council has supported his department, attending the press conference and sharing words of support when the motion for dismissal was announced.
“Alley Cat Allies could donate to Animal Control to get more veterinary care for the animals if that was their goal, but that clearly doesn’t appear to be the case,” Copenhagen said.
“The allegations in this case represent less than half of one percent of the hundreds of animals Animal Control has collected in the past two years.”
Out of 693 animals recovered between September 2020 and last September, 433 were returned to their owners, 114 were placed or rescued and 58 were adopted.
Copenhagen continued, “Sheriff Harmon, his management team and Animal Control Officer Kevin Jones have gone to great lengths to ensure that animals kept at our facilities receive proper care and treatment. “
Berkeley County Council Vice Chairman Jim Whitacre said such allegations are taken seriously.
“We have a stellar animal control facility. Animal abuse and cruelty are things that have not been tolerated since I have been here for over 10 years, ”said Whitacre. Berkeley County Council member Eddie Gochenour echoed the same sentiment.
Following the December 8 press conference at the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department, Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson responded with an emailed statement to the media. However, she was adamant that her organization had found undeniable evidence.
“We believe our investigation uncovered a pattern of abuse denying animals veterinary care and, in some cases, urgent medical treatment,” Robinson said in her statement. “We actually took animals to Berkeley County Animal Control and provided emergency vet care, for which we have evidence in mandamus’ warrant.
“Our investigation uncovered undeniable evidence of animal cruelty inside the Berkeley County Animal Control Shelter, which is why we are seeking action from the highest court in the state. Berkeley County Animal Control’s failure to follow the law results in extreme animal suffering and abuse. This is a case where the animal rescuer becomes the aggressor. “
According to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeal, a scheduling order required the BCAC to file a response to the petition no later than December 31.
“Once the deadline for filing the response has passed, this matter will be ripe for consideration by the Court under Rule 16 (i) of the Rules of Appeal Procedure,” the order emailed to the Journal said. “In due course thereafter, all parties will be informed in writing of any decision in the matter.”