PARKERSBURG - A representative from the Humane Society of the United States discussed laws governing vicious animals Wednesday night at the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library.
Many people do not realize how important it can be for just one voice to be heard, said Summer Wyatt, West Virginia state director of the Humane Society of the United States
"You have to have an idea before your voice can be heard," she said in her presentation to animal advocates. "It's important to know your legislatures; know who's running."
Photo by Mandi Cardosi
Milly Dellavecchia of Parkersburg expressed her concerns with the laws protecting animals against vicious animals in the city of Parkersburg and Wood County.
Wyatt travels across the state to give presentations to animal activists and help spread the message of laws being passed.
Animal activist Milly Dellavecchia, of 1407 24th St., Parkersburg, spoke about a petition she started in response to a dog in her neighborhood "mauling" a cat.
"Part of the problem is the law says that they have to be returned to the owner," she said. "I was told because it didn't attack a human or a livestock, the police couldn't do anything."
At A Glance
Victories in West Virginia as seen by the Humane Society of the United States:
* Mandatory spaying and neutering of adopted animals
* Animal gas chambers banned
* Bittering agent added to anti-freeze
* Cross reporting of animal abuse
* Registration of horse rescues
* Exotic pet law still pending
Wednesday's meeting was "Lobby 101" where Wyatt explained the legal process dealing with animals to area residents.
"It could just be about educating people to adopt," said Wyatt, "or knowing the issues."
Parkersburg residents said they are concerned that local and state laws about pets and animals are not up-to-date. The need for a leash law was discussed.
Some local animal activists said they believe police officers don't have the knowledge or means to enforce the animal laws.
Dellavecchia is concerned the issue involves not only the writing of the law but the enforcement as well. She said the owners of dogs that are able to roam in her neighborhood were given a slap on the wrist and told to erect a fence.
Dellavecchia maintains the owners have not obeyed the animal orders. She said she understands that police officers have a lot of concerns to deal with.
Wyatt expressed the importance of making a voice heard.
"If you don't like your local legislators, vote them out," she said. "One of the wonderful things about America is we have so much power to change (the laws), especially for our animals."
Dellavecchia and the community animal activists said they will make their voices heard on the subject, and will continue to educate themselves on how to enact laws governing animals.