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Leadwood board addresses strays, pound


Leadwood’s Board of Aldermen held a meeting at City Hall on Monday, discussing continued ordinance violations and the status of the local dog pound.

Nancy Austin, the former wife of Leadwood’s previous mayor, Ed Austin, raised concerns about the privately-operated dog pound and questioned Alderman Aaron Penberthy about the rescue of a dog from a dilapidated house.

During her time at the podium, Austin began by praising Penberthy for his rumored act of rescuing a dog from a dilapidated house in Leadwood the previous month. She commended him as an advocate for those who cannot protect themselves.

The dog, described as an “emaciated, half-dead beagle,” was discovered on the balcony of a residence on 9th Street, a property owned by another local resident named Robert McClain. Penberthy described the condition of the house as something out of a horror movie, with a mummified possum nailed to the door.

Penberthy told those in the council chambers that, after the rescue, the dog was taken to the privately-operated pound, where both he and Mayor Robert Crump personally tended to the animals and provided them with food.

During the meeting on Monday, the Leadwood Board of Aldermen discussed the local dog pound, which was shut down months previously, but is still in operation privately as an alderman and the mayor look after the animals. 

The rescued dog had been at the pound since the previous month. When asked about the dog’s access to food and water while on the balcony, Penberthy responded that there was no access while he was there, but they provided the dog with water after the rescue.

Austin asked Penberthy whether the homeowner was aware that his dog had been taken from the balcony, to which Penberthy stated that he informed the homeowner’s daughter, since he is friends with her husband.

The discussion then shifted to the issue of the dog pound itself.

Austin expressed concerns about the use of city property for personal gain and questioned the board about a previous meeting where the decision to shut down the dog pound was made. She mentioned that she made the decision to place the dogs in an enclosure after two board members stepped down before discussing the matter. Austin clarified that taxpayers did not fund the pound’s operations.

Austin alleged that Penberthy committed felony burglary by taking the dog from the homeowner’s home without his knowledge or consent. She claimed that the dog was considered a farm animal and keeping the stolen dog was illegal since the homeowner, Robert McClain, was mentally unstable and in a cell.

In response to Austin’s statements, Crump reminded her that her speaking time was limited to five minutes, leading to a discussion about the time allotted for public statements. Eventually, Austin stepped down from the stand after being asked by Leadwood Police Chief Chris Heatherly.

Patty Heatherly, the chief’s wife, clarified that the chief was present during the rescue. She stated that rescuing the dog was not considered a felony.

During the meeting, the Board of Aldermen found the rule in the books stating that speakers have a base of five minutes to speak, or longer if the board allows it.



  1. Wendy Brooks on July 28, 2023 at 11:54 pm

    In order for the rule in the book to count they have to inform the public before the board meeting of the five minute rule. The dog could have walked down the balcony to the food and water in the backyard since the dog was not tied up. Also why did the Aaron take the 2 dogs of dog food previously bought from the food store down the road…you can verify with the owner as he opened the store that day specifically to get the man the dog food and also I he was honestly rescuing the dog why did it not see a vet immediately after and still has not…Nancy Austin does has and always will speak for those who can’t speak for themselves dogs including people and crime is crime is doesn’t matter which way you flip it. Climbing on a man’s balcony to steal his dog that you honestly know nothing about to store on city property with dog food you claimed to buy but in reality took that as well…little did you know he previously got the dog an was slowly putting wait on it.. this is nothing more than a personal issue between Aaron an the dog owner an Aaron is abusing his position in power by using it as a weapon.

    • Wendy Brooks on July 28, 2023 at 11:59 pm

      Sorry alot of misspellings there but its late…but just because your a board member or a police officer does not make it okay for you to steal pets no its not a farm animal she got that wrong the dog is a companion which is so much worse…shame on you for what your doing Aron.

      • anonymous on July 31, 2023 at 12:20 am

        The city is down right corrupt don’t believe it all you need to do is pull a budget report and see all the wasteful spending and no prosecution to the ones responsible for such. And the New Cheif is just as corrupt writing false tickets making it where he can pull people over under false pretenses. The city is going to face lawsuits real soon either by myself or someone else.

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