Thursday, May 23, 2013

Haines v. Hampshire County Commission case brief

Haines v. Hampshire County Commission case brief
607 S.E.2d 828

CASE SYNOPSIS: Appellant dog owners sought review of an appeal of the Circuit Court of Hampshire County, (West Virginia), which dismissed the owners' amended complaint filed against appellees, a county commission and the county animal control officer. The owners alleged that their dog had been wrongfully detained and sold by appellees without notice to them.

FACTS: The owners filed an action that sought repossession of their dog, monetary damages and removal of the officer from his position. The action arose after the animal control officer received complaints about the owners' stray dog, and not being able to identify the dog, impounded it. After the mandatory period for keeping the dog had passed, and the dog remained unclaimed, the officer placed the dog in an adoption program where it was adopted by another family in Virginia. The court held that dismissal of the owners' amended complaint was appropriate, because the owners' allegations did not state a legal basis upon which any of their requested relief could be granted. Appellees followed the proper procedures in enforcing the state statutory provisions for impoundment and notice of impoundment, as set forth in part in W. Va. Code §§ 19-20-22 (1981), 19-20-6 (1982), and 19-20-8(1991). The facts of the case did not warrant intervention or relief by the trial court, and in fact a finding in the owners' favor would virtually nullify the animal control laws.

CONCLUSION: The court affirmed the decision of the trial court.

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