County animal shelter temporarily closed

By Brittany Hively -

POINT PLEASANT — During the regular Mason County Commission meeting last week, it was made known that the county animal shelter is currently closed to the public.

Commission President, Sam Nibert said the animal shelter is currently undergoing a change in personnel and overall reorganization of the shelter.

As of Saturday, Aug. 28, the shelter “has been closed [for] about 10 days” County Administrator John Gerlach said.

Animals in the shelter are not currently up for adoption. The shelter is also at capacity.

“We are not currently adopting, but taking names and numbers of those interested,” Gerlach said. “Right now, until we move some of what we have to rescues, we are not picking up or taking animals.”

Gerlach said the shelter will begin accepting animals again upon reopening, which is expected to be mid-September.

“We are taking inventory, going through paperwork to determine which animals are already scheduled for rescues and attempting to make arrangements to register the remaining with rescues,” Gerlach said.

The entire building is going through additional cleaning.

“The facility is also undergoing a thorough cleaning to cut down on potential diseases that could affect the animal population,” Gerlach said.

While the shelter is closed, animals are reportedly still being cared for daily.

“The county employees [are] up there currently filling in,” Gerlach said. “[They] are working very hard and are doing a terrific job.”

Gerlach introduced William Stuckey to the commissioners, stating Stuckey has been temporarily helping with the animal shelter.

“It’s unbelievable the work they’ve done up there already,” Stuckey said.

It was said multiple times during the commission meeting that the Jackson County Animal Shelter is working with the Mason County Animal Shelter and the restructuring.

“There’s much more to do,” Gerlach said.

While the shelter is going through the restructuring phase, the county asks for the public’s support and patience.

“The shelter is presently full, so we ask for the public’s patience during this transition time from previous staff to hiring new staff,” Gerlach said.

Gerlach said positions for a shelter office manager and dog warden will be posted soon and the commission encourages the public to apply.

In other commission business:

A motion was made and passed to hire John Kinnard as a deputy.

Gerlach noted the Appalachian Electric Power right-a-way amendments for the new transmission line has been sent for Nibert to sign. Commissioner Rick Handley moved and motioned passed.

The Tri-River Transit bus committee met recently, according to Handley.

“The numbers are up,” Handley said. “Applications are always being taken for new drivers or for people who just want to work one day a week, one day every three or four weeks. It’s a pretty good job.”

Handley said he received a call thanking the commission for the bus service. He said he told the caller, Pleasant Valley Hospital and the City of Point Pleasant are also responsible.

“She said it’s a godsend for her because she goes to the doctor — they take her to the doctor in Holzer. They take her to the doctor in South Charleston,” Handley said. “She goes to the grocery store. Wherever she wants to go, they take her and she’s really [thankful].”

Handley said he wished the word could get out more for people to use the service.

Gerlach asked if the cost was still just $1 and Handley said yes. If it for a doctor’s appointment, insurance can cover cost.

An executive session was entered to discuss personnel employment.

When the session ended, Handley motioned to hire Jason Bechtle as the assistant administrator. The motion passed. Bechtle starts Sept. 1.

Nibert discussed the previous abandoned and dilapidated building ordinances the county has, as well as one passed by the state, Senate Bill 368, that will potentially bring money into the county for cleanup. Nibert said he felt this was an important thing for the community and would like to see the county get a jump start or working towards obtaining the potential funding. Nibert also referenced other counties and their ordinances. A committee of five people, made up of different entities, will need to be put together.

“I think we need to work on this as commissioners and we need to work hard on this,” Nibert said.

County Clerk Diana Cromley mentioned is running and available for public use.

It was also mentioned that the Mason County Health Department does not have a Facebook page but does have a website for residents to reference.

© 2021 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Brittany Hively

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (740) 446-4303 ext 2555

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (740) 446-4303 ext 2555