Liz McCormick Published

W.Va. Supreme Court Refuses A Petition That Alleged Abuse At Berkeley County Animal Control

Little kittens in a cage of a shelter

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals voted unanimously Monday to refuse a petition filed by a national nonprofit animal welfare group against Berkeley County Animal Control.

“The Court unanimously and unequivocally found the petition to be baseless,” Berkeley County Council Legal Director Anthony Delligatti said in a press release.

The state’s supreme court voted 5-0 refusing a writ of mandamus filed late last year by Bethesda, Maryland-based Alley Cat Allies. The petition claimed Berkeley County Animal Control mistreated several of its animals since 2020.

Alley Cat Allies said they led an undercover investigation to expose abuse, including refusals to administer emergency medical treatment.

In a statement following the ruling, Alley Cat Allies President Becky Robinson said they’re determined to press forward with the case and will try other legal pathways.

“We have multiple legal remedies available, and we intend to use all of them,” Robinson said. “We know from the facts of our investigation that animal cruelty has taken place at the Berkeley County Animal Control Shelter. We will continue to take legal action in defense of these animals who cannot defend themselves.”

Berkeley County Sheriff Nathan Harmon said the moves made by Alley Cat Allies are a “cloak and dagger attempt.” He argued the nonprofit’s accusations are embellished fiction to try and gain a profit in the area.

“I’m glad the state Supreme Court saw through the self-serving attempts of the nonprofit becoming the profiteer,” Harmon said.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s office houses the county’s animal control unit.

The week Alley Cat Allies filed the petition, the group also purchased 17 acres of land in Berkeley County for more than $300,000, saying they did so to “further their work” in the county.

Alley Cat Allies has more than 800,000 supporters worldwide, according to its website.