Dog problem, thefts top meeting

WELLSBURG – The Brooke County Commission on Tuesday heard reports of a recurring problem with a pitbull terrier and an investigation of thefts of unlocked vehicles.

Helen Cheripko, a resident of Louise, told the commission her daughter’s small dog was attacked by a pitbull terrier belonging to residents who have been away. She said the dog sustained such injuries that a decision was made to euthanize it.

Cheripko said the dog has gotten free from its leash and attacked other dogs in the past, one several years ago and another about two months ago. She said she’s concerned for children in the area.

She asked if a record has been kept of the reports. She said when she called the Brooke County 911 Center, she was told to call the dog warden at the county animal shelter.

County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said there has been an increase in complaints about vicious dogs this summer and the county should adopt a formal policy addressing such attacks.

But he said currently the owner may be cited for violating the county’s leash law and when an attack has occurred, the dog may be seized, though the owner has the right to appeal before the animal may be destroyed.

Jackson said it may be that a woman caring for the dog while its owners are away may be held responsible for it, but he will need to research that further.

County Commissioner Jim Andreozzi, a former Brooke County dog warden, said when a dog has bitten someone or another animal, it should be quarantined for 10 days and it must be determined if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.

Andreozzi said he will approach the county’s new dog warden about what actions were taken following the incident.

Another resident, Diane Pepe, asked what residents should do when finding a dead animal on their property.

Andreozzi said though removal of such animals normally are the property owner’s responsibility, he often responded to such calls as dog warden.

“It became such a burden, I was working 12 to 14 hours a day,” he said, which also took time away from responding to calls that were his responsibility.

“But we need to handle it on a case-by-case basis,” Andreozzi added, saying live animals suspected of being rabid should be reported to authorities.

In other business, Jackson told the commission several cars have been entered recently and coins, cash and other items taken.

Many of the thefts occurred in the Eldersville Road area.

Jackson advised, “People need to lock their doors. Only one vehicle was forcibly entered and that was due to a wallet being left in plain sight.”

But Jackson said through an investigation by Deputy Gary Conley, some global positioning systems, satellite radio players and cell phones taken from the vehicles have been recovered and charges will be filed against multiple individuals.

The sheriff also thanked area residents for their cooperation in reporting suspicious vehicles and license plate numbers and asked all citizens to be watchful of questionable activity.

Jackson also told the commission officials with the state Division of Environmental Protection are investigating a problem crews with Pipeline Precision have had with burning 12 inch by 12 inch wood beams known as well mats.

Jackson said the crews have been unsuccessful in disposing of the wood, which has produced excessive smoke in the area.

“They need to come up with a better way of handling that because the smoke is horrendous,” he said.

The sheriff said he would update the commission on the matter.

The commission also:

Announced the county courthouse will be closed Saturday and Monday for the Labor Day weekend. Because of that, the deadline to receive a discount for early property tax payments has been extended from Sept. 2 to Sept. 3.

Appointed David McGowan and Lloyd “Peanut” Van Horn to the Hammond Public Service District board. Commission President Tim Ennis noted the board still has one vacant seat.

Residents of the public service district interested in serving should submit a letter to County Clerk Sylvia Benzo or contact commissioners Ennis, Andreozzi or Norma Tarr.

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