CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Putnam County Board of Health will vote Monday on whether or not to change its controversial animal bite policy.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, which has taken over clinical services for Putnam in the wake of the Putnam agency's financial woes, will recommend that the board change the policy at its regular meeting Monday, he said.
"Over the last several weeks after exhausting research of the Putnam animal bite policy and other policies that exist, what we were able to learn and find is that the majority of the health departments [in the state] follow the state policy which is different than the Putnam policy," Gupta said.
The Putnam agency currently requires the owners of animals that have bitten people to quarantine the animal with a veterinarian or animal shelter for 10 days at the owner's expense.
The state policy, which the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department adheres to, allows pet owners to quarantine their pets in their homes after a bite. Only under special circumstances does the state policy require a quarantine away from home.
The Putnam policy has sometimes led to people hiding their animals or taking them outside the county in order to avoid boarding them, said Anita Ray, environmental director for Kanawha-Charleston.
In one instance, a pet owner took their pet to the shelter and it was put to sleep by mistake.