Alley Cat Allies is taking action after our in-depth investigation in Berkeley County, West Virginia, revealed that Berkeley County Animal Control intentionally, knowingly, and/or recklessly withheld critical veterinary treatment from animals in its shelter, causing extreme suffering and, in some cases, death.
Animal cruelty laws in West Virginia make it an offense to withhold “medical treatment, necessary to sustain normal health and fitness or to end the suffering of any animal.” Berkeley County Animal Control routinely violates these laws.
Animal cruelty laws apply just as much to Berkeley County Animal Control as to any member of the general public, especially since it is the very public office created to uphold them.
Alley Cat Allies is seeking justice for the animals abused at the Berkeley County Animal Control shelter. We are focused on creating a humane animal control agency that adheres to laws and best practices, earns the trust of the community, and guarantees real protection for animals.
What You Need to Know
On November 23, 2021, Alley Cat Allies filed a writ of mandamus in the state’s highest court: the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. This lawsuit asks the Court to compel Berkeley County Animal Control to comply with the law by providing necessary veterinary care for the animals in its care.
We are also calling for an immediate halt on animal intake and for an investigation into Animal Control’s shelter operations.
Watch this page for more breaking news and updates.
Animals Who Suffered
The stories of Berkeley County Animal Control’s victims are heartbreaking.
Newt, a cat in Animal Control’s care, suffered for 10 days without medical treatment for his grossly thickened, enlarged, and discolored tongue. Pharyngeal swelling prevented him from closing his mouth, eating, or drinking.
Alley Cat Allies rushed to remove Newt from the shelter in July 2021 and immediately brought him to a veterinary hospital. Tragically, veterinarians quickly determined that Newt had to be humanely euthanized because of the severity of his medical conditions. He was 7 years old.
The veterinary team that treated Newt believes he could have survived had Animal Control brought him to a veterinary professional right away.
Kimberly, a dog impounded by Animal Control, had a bulging and enlarged eye, with glaucoma, ocular inflammation, corneal ulcer, and an open wound underneath. She endured extreme pain at Berkeley County Animal Control for eight days without any medical treatment until Alley Cat Allies rescued her.
Had Kimberly received veterinary treatment the moment she entered Berkeley County Animal Control’s care, her condition could have been much improved.
Many more animals suffered in silence in the Berkeley County Animal Control shelter without critical veterinary treatment they were required to be provided by law.
End the Cruelty Now—Take Action
Tell the Berkeley County Council to launch an investigation and ensure that animals currently in the care of Berkeley County Animal Control receive immediate veterinary treatment.