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Theresa Servetas and her husband, Chuck Servetas, address the Upshur County Commission at Thursday's Aug. 13 meeting regarding a potential barking dog ordinance.

Commission requests animal control investigate following request for barking dog ordinance

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission on Thursday heard from a request from two French Creek residents to enact a nuisance/barking-dog ordinance throughout the county.

The commission ultimately decided to ask Upshur County Animal Control/Humane Officer Jason Knicely to meet with the couple and their neighbors in French Creek in an effort to come up with a solution as opposed to drafting a new ordinance.

Upshur County resident Theresa Servetas said there is a dog barking problem around their home in French Creek and there is no way for her to resolve the problem.

“These dogs bark 24/7 – there’s three different people around our area that have these dogs and they don’t stop them from barking,” she said. “If we lived in city limits, there is an ordinance and you’d be able to do something about it but being outside of city limits, we are told nothing can be done.”

She said it’s hard for the family to sleep at night because the barking is so persistent.

“No one should have to be bothered day and night by constantly barking dogs. There must be something that can be done to stop this,” Theresa Servetas said. “My husband has a lot of health issues, and this affects his health greatly. The only way he can even sleep at night is with a fan right beside his head.”

Theresa Servetas said she wants her neighbors to be held accountable for stopping the barking.

“If there was an ordinance for nuisance barking dogs, the owners could be fined, or if they continued to let these dogs bark continuously, maybe [the dogs] could be taken away from them,” Theresa Servetas said. “I don’t know if these dogs have been abused, and that’s why they’re barking all the time, but they do – they bark 24/7.”

Upshur County Commission President Terry Cutright asked if the humane officer had been up to French Creek to talk to them, and Chuck Servetas said someone did come out to their home about six months ago and talked to one of their neighbors. However, the incessant barking has been problematic for about a year.

“We don’t want them to lose their dogs or anything because we have had dogs all our lives, and we’re dog lovers, but these dogs are barking all the time,” Chuck Servetas said. “I left a note for [one of the individuals] asking her to please quiet her dogs down, and she came out before I could get back in my truck. She said, ‘the only time my dogs bark is when they see a coyote,’ and there aren’t that many coyotes.”

Cutright suggested sending Upshur County Humane/Animal Control Officer Jason Knicely to talk to the Servetas family and their neighbors in an effort to resolve the conflict.

“If all he can do is talk to them and there are no consequences, then they probably aren’t going to do anything,” Theresa Servetas said.

Upshur County Commissioner Sam Nolte told the couple that sending Knicely out to assess the situation would be a good start and would enable him to gather some information that could be brought back to commission.

Earlier this year in June, Upshur County resident Katie Loudin requested the commission consider enacting a vicious dog ordinance after her family’s smaller terrier was killed by a dog belonging to her neighbors. Cutright said the commission would consider Loudin’s request. No official action has since been taken.

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