Gary Knapp, President of the West Virginia Bear Hunters’ Association, was there Thursday evening to provide the hunter’s perspective on the issue that night. Knapp understands where the commission is coming from to a point.
"There are dogs I’m sure that never get off the leash or get any exercise. We don’t agree with those types of things. I don’t believe in being cruel to animals," says Knapp. "We have a large investment in our dogs. We take good care of them."
The law says dogs must be attended at all times when they are tethered. If they are left outside, they also must be left in 10′ by 10′ pens with adequate food, shelter, and water. Dogs also can’t be left out in extreme conditions.
However, Knapp fears the tethering ban will be the end of hunting with dogs in
Another man opposed to the law feels it was rushed through the commission. That’s even with four public hearings over the course of the summer.
Charlie Nichols of
"Even the commission in there didn’t know exactly what was in the latest revision of the ordinance," says Nichols.
Nichols trains Britney bird dogs to hunt grouse, quail, and other fowl. He says the dog he purchased was raised in 4′ by 10′ pen with other pups and its mother which would violate the 10′ by 10′ rule.
However, there is a statute that allows an exemption for certain dogs at the humane officer’s discretion. Nichols says that statute is too open ended.
"If the humane officer’s had a bad day that day, are five beagles the correct size for that pen or if he’s feeling lenient to the land owner, is it three?" Nichols asks.
The ordinance only applies to the unincorporated areas of the county. A provision in the law allows municipalities to vote to adopt the tethering ban.