The Healing Place of Huntington was modeled after the original Healing Place in Louisville, Ky., and is a six- to nine-month treatment center, based on the 12 steps of recovery. According to Adkins, the young facility so far has seen a success rate at five times the national average.
Matt Boggs, coordinator for the Healing Place of Huntington, said he can attest to the effectiveness of the program first hand. Boggs is one of its first graduates and has been sober for two years.
"It's amazing what I get to do today; I get to go out and promote the place that helped save my life," Boggs said. "I think that Putnam County, moving forward with this, is really going to set a precedent for other counties, because if we can't get something on the state level, we must take care of it on a county level."
According to Boggs, there 350 long-term beds in drug treatment facilities across the state -- a number he said is startling in light of the rate of addiction and drug overdose in West Virginia. He said roughly 20 percent of those treated by the agency are already Putnam County residents.
The commission was also approached by members of the West Virginia Farm Bureau and the state's Humane Society Tuesday morning, and has agreed to address the possibility of creating livestock standards for the community to avoid cases of long-term neglect.
Summer Wyatt, state director of the Humane Society, said she would like to see the county create a set of guidelines for employees dealing with animals that will help them better evaluate the condition of cows, horses, sheep and other livestock animals.
"We wanted to just bring up this idea to create a protocol for livestock standards, because in Putnam County, you're lucky enough to have a livestock standards board to help animal control and law enforcement, or even individuals who may have livestock but aren't caring for them properly," Wyatt said.
Last month, four horses were seized from a farm in Buffalo after Putnam sheriff's deputies and animal control responded to calls from concerned neighbors. A veterinarian called the four animals "severely malnourished," and Jon and Gail Cobb of Custer Ridge Road were charged with one count each of animal cruelty.
Terry Dunn, a board member for the Farm Bureau and now the caretaker of one of the rescued horses, said there needs to be greater understanding for the general public in order to avoid more situations like the Buffalo neglect case.
"There are a lot of people who, for lack of a better word, don't understand. Some of these folks, they don't intentionally starve their horses or their cattle -- in their mind, they love these animals," she said. "You and I can look at a horse, and its backbone is sticking up and its tips are sticking out, and think, 'that horse is starved,' but for some reason, these folks can't grasp that."
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.