In late 2020, Alley Cat Allies received a report of neglect of animals inside the Berkeley County Animal Control (BCAC) shelter in West Virginia. We investigated and found another disturbing case. Then another. Then yet another.
We conducted an in-depth investigation … and uncovered a shocking pattern of extreme animal cruelty in the very institution meant to protect animals.
BCAC withheld necessary veterinary treatment from animals in its care, even those whose emergent medical conditions and sufferings were obvious to any reasonable lay person, let alone an animal shelter professional. As a result, animals suffered and even perished.
Taking Lifesaving Action
Alley Cat Allies immediately removed animals to provide them with necessary medical treatment. Then, to stop the cruelty, we submitted a petition for a writ of mandamus in the highest court in the state. Our filing asks the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia to compel BCAC to comply with the law by providing immediate, necessary veterinary care for animals in its shelter.
Animal cruelty laws of West Virginia make it a crime for anyone to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly withhold medical treatment necessary to “sustain normal health and fitness or to end the suffering of any animal.” These laws apply just as much to BCAC as to any member of the general public, especially since it is the very public office created to uphold them.
As well as providing necessary veterinary care for animals currently in the facility, Alley Cat Allies is calling on Berkeley County to suspend animal intake at the shelter and investigate, charge, and prosecute those involved in the horrific neglect. Then, we seek the creation of a genuine animal control agency that adheres to laws and adopts humane policies and standards that set requirements for how animals are cared for.
The animal shelter system and our society urgently need such a historic overhaul. Alley Cat Allies is making it happen, and we are endlessly grateful to have you with us.