Huntington barber threatens using deer urine to repel loitering vagrants

Barbershop owner frustrated with loitering vagrants
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 4:27 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A Huntington barbershop owner says he’s been losing business due to loitering vagrants he says have been damaging his property.

After months of asking them to leave with no success, the owner says he’s ready to take some drastic measures to keep them away.

His controversial solution got attention online, involving deer urine.

“It’s been going on for years, and years, and years,” said Mark Smith, owner of Daniel’s Den Barber Shop.

The shop has been around since 1974, but in the last few years, owner Mark Smith says vagrants loitering around his shop are hurting his business.

“Lately, it’s been a lot worse,” Smith said.

To try to keep them out, Smith says he had a wooden fence built to block off the space between his building and the one next door. He also added a gate and fencing to the entryway.

However, Smith says the vagrants keep coming around, damaging his property, and leaving trash behind.

“I’m not a place for you to come store your stuff, store your drugs, and store your paraphernalia,” Smith said.

Just steps away from Mark Smith’s barber shop, there’s a bus stop on 8th Street that a lot of people in the area like to use. The problem Smith is finding, is instead of using the bus stop area, people have been congregating on the front steps of his business and damaging his property.

“I’ve lost clients,” Smith said. “I have clients coming through the door clutching their purse, and automatically locking the door behind them. That’s no way to live, and that’s no way to run a business. So, I devised a plan, to make a sprinkler system,” Smith said.

Smith posted about this sprinkler system on Facebook, and a unique ingredient he included garnered a lot of attention — deer urine, to be used as a repellant.

“I haven’t used it yet, but I’m receiving death threats.” Smith said. “I’m receiving pictures of mutilated corpses.”

Smith says he never intended to cause harm, saying he he just wanted to show how frustrated he is with the situation.

“It’s shameful for me to actually have to go to these lengths, and it’s shameful it’s gotten here,” Smith said. “That’s the last thing I want to do is actually hurt people, but I have to help myself.”

Smith says he’s gone to local law enforcement and city officials about the problem. He says they’ve heard the problem, but don’t have a solution.