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Katie Loudin asks the Upshur County Commission to consider a vicious/dangerous dog ordinance akin to one in Lewis County.

Upshur County Commission will consider vicious dog ordinance

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur county resident asked the Upshur County Commission to consider enacting a vicious/dangerous dog ordinance.

During the June 18 Upshur County Commission meeting, Katie Loudin asked the commission to create the ordinance after her family dog, Gingersnap, was killed by another dog.

“I’m speaking to you today on behalf of my family, and I pray no one will feel the grief I’ve recently gone through with the loss of my dog Gingersnap, who was a beloved member of the Loudin family,” Loudin said. “Ginger was a Yorkie … her worst quality was that she licked everyone in the face too much and I used to joke that my dog couldn’t hold her ‘licker.’ Ginger turned 12 years old on May 7 this year, and she was in excellent health. Adam actually just commented a few weeks ago that he wouldn’t be surprised if she lived until the age of 20.”

She said on May 29, at around 11:40 p.m., her husband, Adam, let their dog outside on their front porch before going to bed.

“We yelled her name and opened the door to watch her being violently shaken to her death by our neighbor’s dog, less than one foot off our front porch,” Loudin said. “I followed Adam out the door, calling her name, and Adam rounded the side of our house where she was lying next to our garden. We are thankful for the small mercy that she had been dropped there by the dog on the way back to his house, when it became entangled with my garden fencing – otherwise we do not know if we would have ever found her.”

She said her dog was bleeding and unable to close her mouth when she ran inside to grab a towel.

“Adam scooped her up and raced in the car toward Fairmont but came home when he realized she wasn’t alive any longer,” Loudin said.

She said they called 911 to file a report and her father-in-law went to the neighbor’s house to make sure the dog was secure for the evening.

“Jason Knicely, the animal control officer called early on Saturday, May 30, and my husband told him that the dog had been aggressive toward him and our two boys, ages five and two, multiple times in the past,” Loudin said. “We are West Virginians. With a handful of rocks and a shovel in hand, the dog had been chased from our property without calling the authorities – we can handle it and we didn’t want to be unfriendly toward her neighbors.”

Loudin said Knicely told her since she had been neighborly and this was the dog’s first offense, he could not take the dog away.

“I felt sick all morning, knowing the dog was quarantined in home directly behind our house,” Loudin said. “Jason indicated that if we lived in Lewis County, he would have been able to take the dog to be impounded that morning.”

She said the family of the dog that killed Ginger dog has been gracious to their family.

“They surrendered their dog on Saturday afternoon on May 30 to be put down,” Loudin said. “I’m heartbroken for them as they, too, have lost part of their family. I have no ill will toward them; what happened was a tragic accident for two families.”

Loudin said she is not looking to impound every dog that may be running lose, but if a dog bites or seriously injures another animal or person, she wants the county to be able to impound the dog for 10 days with a financial penalty.

“I’m asking that you pass a county ordinance that is at least as strong as Lewis County’s to protect the next family who’s grieving without neighbors who are not as gracious and kind as mine,” Loudin said. “I have no interest in taking anyone to court. I just don’t want offending animals to sit in their homes protected, while families next door can’t stop crying due to their loss.”

Loudin said in Lewis County, the first offense for a dangerous dog that bites or is aggressive is the dog catcher having the power to take the animal away for 10 days for quarantine, and the owner pays $50 and after the 10 days, the owner can claim the animal.

Upshur County Commission President Terry Cutright said the commission would definitely look into her request.

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