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Chesapeake focuses on stray animals

Council moves on police needs, fire department roof

CHESAPEAKE — The issue of stray animals in the village was a major topic of discussion at the meeting of Chesapeake’s village council on Monday.

Mayor Tommy Templeton proposed hiring Melissa Nicely as dog warden for the village.

Nicely, who works as poundkeeper for the Lawrence County Dog Pound and dog warden for the City of Ironton, would be a contract employee, working on a three-hour callout at $13 per hour.

“If you’re interested, I’ll continue,”  Templeton said of pursuing the option of hiring Nicely, to which council agreed. “I think we need it.”

Templeton also gave an update on the issue of stray and feral cats, which had been raised by a village resident at last month’s meeting.

The mayor said he had spoken to Angela McCone, of the Lawrence County Humane Society, who had volunteered to trap, neuter and release the animals, at a cost of $35 per cat.

“We’re trying to find ways to get the money,” Templeton said. “There are grants, but you have to be a 501 (c)(3) organization.”

Lawrence County’s shelter only picks up dogs and cats can be dropped off for a fee. Space, however, is limited at the pound.

Interim police chief Randy Thompson, who also serves as the county’s humane officer said neutering is the only way to keep the population down.

“There’s not much you can do – except fix them or get rid of them,” he said.

He mentioned the village of Proctorville had an ordinance on the books against feeding strays, which he said was enacted due to people dumping bags of food on a grocery store lot to feed large herds of cats.

The council’s meeting opened with a guest speaker, Kathy Gue, of Schneider of Schneider- Hall Funeral Home.

“Do you realize you’re sitting in the oldest funeral home in Lawrence County,” she asked the room, pointing out that the prior use of the village hall building.

Gue spoke of her family’s ties to the area and said she was there with a mission.

She said the funeral home was going to adopt a street corner near Big Branch Road to clean up and plant flowers and was hoping to get others to do the same.

She gave the council members a “homework” assignment, asking them to brainstorm for ideas and to propose a meeting date when business and civic leaders could meet to discuss the beautification efforts.

In other business, the council:

• Voted to switch from Frontier to Armstrong Cable for the fire department’s phone provider, which did not have long distance service. Templeton said long distance was needed for the purpose of sending and receiving faxes. Under the new plan, at $49.95 per month, 1,500 long distance minutes would be provided.

• Voted to replace the fire department roof for $26,607, with the contractor using roll-on roofing.

The cost would be split with Union Township.

“They’re on board to do it,” Temple said of the township trustees.

• Voted to approve up to $1,000 in new road signs, which Templeton said would include stop signs, speed limit signs and handicapped parking, among others.

• Discussed purchasing equipment for the police department using money from the law enforcement trust fund, which was established with money from a drug bust in the village last March.

Templeton asked the council to be thinking of possibilities and said the village was looking into purchasing bulletproof vests, a TASER, radio and other basic items.

Vests would cost $400 each and Thompson said none of the ones owned by the department are usable. He said they were handed down from other departments and have expired.

He advised to the mayor and council to be sure the vest were at the level to withstand rifle fire, rather than just handguns.

Thompson said investing in a radio was as important as the vests.

“When you get in a situation, you have to have that communication,” he said.

He also said the department was in need of drug testing kits as well, recommending a purchase of 20 of each kind needed.

Following the discussion, the council agreed to buy vests for the department as a first purchase from the fund.