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Motion filed with Supreme Court to dismiss animal advocate group’s claims in Berkeley County

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A motion to dismiss has been filed with the state Supreme Court in response to a petition filed last month by Maryland-based Alley Cat Allies.

Sheriff Nathan Harmon

“Alley Cat Allies does not seek a legal remedy; it seeks publicity and donations. The strategy is simple: file a suit, raise a hoot, and collect the loot,” the motion to dismiss and response to Alley Cat Allies’ petition states.

Berkeley County Sheriff Nathan Harmon, who supervises county animal control operations and the chief animal control officer, calls it a “cloak and dagger attempt” and says the allegations in this case account for less than one half of one percent of the hundreds of animals that animal control picked up in the last couple years.

“Their writ is simply asking the Supreme Court to tell us to do our jobs. It’s so ridiculous. But what was really offending was the language in there that these officers intentionally, negligently, and purposefully refused medical treatment to these animals for upwards of ten to fifteen days. At the very least, an embellishment – at the most a fabrication,” Harmon said in a recent appearance on Panhandle Live on WEPM Radio.

Officer Kevin Jones adamantly deny and dispute the allegations in response to the Petition filed by Alley Cat Allies.

Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson though, tells The Panhandle News Network their documentation has proof of abuse as well as pictures. Robinson released a statement last Wednesday saying prior to filing the petition with the state Supreme Court Alley Cat Allies had conversations with Berkeley County officials about their concerns.

Becky Robinson

Robinson says they also visited the shelter on multiple occasions and even bought ‘multiple air conditioning units’ for the building during a period of ‘extreme heat’ in the Animal Control shelter during the summer.

“We believe that our investigation has uncovered a pattern of abuse, denying animals veterinary care and in some cases urgent medical treatment,” the statement said. ”In fact, we took animals from Berkeley County Animal Control and we provided emergency veterinary care, for which we have exhibits in the writ of mandamus.”

According to the release from Berkeley County Council, of 693 animals picked up between September 2020 and September 2021, 433 were returned to owners, 114 were fostered or rescued and 58 were adopted.

The council also questioned the events during the week of the Alley Cat Allies complaint, pointing out that on Nov. 23, -Alley Cat Allies $311,000 purchase of 17.2-acres of land in Berkeley County is recorded with the Berkeley County clerk.

The state Supreme Court has yet to rule on the controversy.

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