McDowell County Continues Struggles with Stray Animals

WELCH, WV (WVNS) -- As of 2018, McDowell County has not had a ward to patrol areas for stray animals for years.  Although a McDowell deputy is acting as a humane officer, commissioner Gordon Lambert says the county does not have the $70,000 baseline funds to start a standalone ward.

"Pens have to be cleaned," Lambert said. "You have to buy food for them. You have to have a policy to keep them for so many days. You have to have a vehicle (and) equipment to pick them up."

McDowell County Humane Society Director Sharon Sagety sees the winter months as the worst for the hundreds of stray dogs throughout the county battling the cold elements.

"Many of them are malnourished," Sagety said. "They're not fed and they don't have proper water, so the animals suffer."

Sagety and her staff receive calls regarding stray animals putting locals in danger. But with no resources to their disposal, there is nothing they can do.

"We do get these calls, but sadly we don't have anyone to answer the calls," Sagety said. "There's no way we could house the number of animals, so we have to refer the calls back to the county. We wish we could take them all in, but we don't have the manpower or the room or the finances."

With the humane society always full, Sagety hopes the county's animal ward will return to ensure the safety of the people and their pets.

"It would be nice if there was animal control to help people that are in these situations where they need help," Sagety said.

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