Commission: Animal Control Facility now ready to bid out veterinarian services for its new surgical suite

BUCKHANNON – The Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility is one more step – or pawprint – closer to its longtime goal of establishing an in-house veterinary clinic where animals up for adoption can be assessed first.

At its Feb. 14 meeting, the Upshur County Commission unanimously approved authorizing advertising for Requests for Proposals seeking in-house veterinarian services that would be regularly provided at the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility.

“It’s exciting to get to this point, and I know that Jan (Cochran, director of LUAC) will be thrilled to get this going,” Nolte said. “It’s been a vision of hers for a long time.”

Cochran is the director of LUAC and headed up a December 2022 fundraiser at The Outpost & Event Center, dubbed a Winter Whisker Event, to raise money to construct an in-house veterinary surgical suite. Cochran said having the clinic on LUAC’s ground would ensure every animal adopted out is seen by a veterinarian first.

(Read more about the surgical suite here.)

Proposals for in-house veterinarian services must be received by the Upshur County Commission’s Office no later than 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. All Proposals will be opened, reviewed and evaluated by the Upshur County Commission at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

In other news, commissioners also approved entering into a memorandum of understanding with a host of other regional first responders that are partnering to establish a Regional Crisis Response Organization Team.

At the commission’s Nov. 2, 2023 meeting, Buckhannon Fire Chief JB Kimble approached the commission about establishing a peer-based mental health crisis response network. Kimble cited the rising cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation and other mental/behavioral health struggles that firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMS workers, paramedics and telecommunicators increasingly face.

During the November 2023 meeting, Kimble asked the county to use funds they had recently been awarded to them from the West Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services’ EMS Salary and Crisis Response Grant Award to assist in establishing a peer-based mental health crisis response network.

The commission approved the idea in theory. According to the MOU presented Feb. 14, the partnering entities included in the MOU will include Randolph County, Lewis County, Upshur County, the City of Weston, the City of Buckhannon and the City of Elkins.

“The goal is to optimize the crisis response funds designated through the Emergency Medical Services Salary Enhancement Fund and distributed to counties for the sole purpose of providing care to emergency medical services personnel during a mental health crisis,” Nolte explained.

Upshur County Commissioner Tabatha elaborated.

“This pertains to when Chief Kimble came, and this is just an agreement that’s formalizing it — putting it into writing,” Perry confirmed.

Based on several factors, Upshur County qualifies for approximately $18,000 — $18,181.81 exactly – in grant funds to establish crisis response services that support first responders, Perry said in a previous story.

The commission approved the MOU unanimously.

Before adjourning, the commission also took the following additional actions:

  • Approved a request from Rickie Dunlap, wildlife specialist with USDA – Wildlife Services, requesting a Work Initiation Document for Wildlife Damage Management that will grant permission to access Upshur County Property located in Selbyville for the purpose of a River Otter research project. USDA Wildlife Services and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources are working on a project that involves capturing river otters, implanting them with a tracking device and releasing them back at the original location where they were captured.
  • Signed and approved a sub-grant adjustment notice from the W.Va. Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division reflecting a grant adjustment. This grant adjustment will allow the counting commission to purchase motor vehicle license plate readers for the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office using grant funds from the fiscal year 2022 Homeland Security Grant Program award.
  • Approved entering a contractual agreement with Upshur Monument Works to add two U.S. military emblems representing the U.S. Coast Guard and Space Force to the already-existing monument located in front of the courthouse. The addition will cost $125, and work will begin in late Spring 2024.
  • Approval and signed a Land Use Agreement for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s property — a parcel on Norvell drive (parcel number 7-3-42.1). This property will be utilized by Stanley G. White for the purpose of maintaining a garden.
  • Approved a request from Cheyenne Troxell, director of the 26th Judicial Circuit Community Corrections Program, to hire Suzanne Herron, as a full-time secretary, effective Feb. 20, 2024.

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