No charges expected against former officer
No charges are expected as a result of the State Police investigation into allegations made against former Animal Control Officer Laura Klein in January.
“The investigation is complete and Corporal Peer is putting together a report to turn over to the Prosecuting Attorney for her assessment,” said Sgt. Scott Davis, head of the Berkeley Springs detachment of West Virginia State Police.
“At this time, it doesn’t appear there are going to be any charges pursued by the State Police. Through the investigation, it appears the main problem was poor documentation,” Davis said on Monday afternoon.
State police were asked to investigate allegations that Klein sold dogs that she had taken in while she was animal control officer.
Klein resigned as animal control officer in January, after she was questioned by Morgan County Commission president Brenda Hutchinson about how she handled the report of a missing border collie. Klein had served as the sheriff’s animal control officer for about two years.
Following the incident, Sheriff Vince Shambaugh told the commissioners they would have to oversee animal control themselves. Previous sheriff Ron McIntire had agreed to take on the duties as a favor to the commissioners.
The situation was discussed by the county commissioners at their January 21 meeting. During the meeting, allegations that Klein sold dogs were made by Dawn White and Barbara Andreadis.
Andreadis and White cited internet websites where it appeared that Klein was selling dogs.
Some of the same websites were used by the Morgan County Humane Society in trying to adopt out dogs.
Later, the director of one of the sites – Safe Haven Dog Rescue — said Klein was offering dogs that would otherwise have been euthanized after five days at the kennel. At that point, Klein cared for them herself and tried to find homes for them.
White insisted that the claims be investigated by an independent agency rather than by the Sheriff’s Department.
The commissioners turned things over to the Morgan County Prosecutor’s Office, which asked West Virginia State Police to investigate, resulting in Sgt. Davis’ remarks on Monday.
As for his comments about “poor documentation” by Klein, the commissioners were given a pile of loose notes and papers, but Klein’s computer records could not be accessed because of a computer virus, it was said.
Klein had apparently asked for a laptop computer to use in the field, but her request was never granted.