West Virginia

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Titlesort descending Summary
Carbasho v. Musulin


Owner's dog was killed by a negligently driven car.  The owner sued to recover damages for loss of companionship.  The court held that dogs are personal property and damages for sentimental value, mental suffering, and emotional distress are not recoverable.

Detailed Discussion of West Virginia Great Ape Laws The following article discusses West Virginia Great Ape law. West Virginia has no law that restricts or otherwise mentions great apes. In fact, West Virginia does not even have a state endangered species provision providing additional state protection for endangered or threatened species. The only law to address great apes because it covers all animals is the state’s anti-cruelty provision. The law does except the humane use of animals or activities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act, and the law’s accompanying regulations. This would include scientific research and animal exhibitors licensed under the Animal Welfare Act.
Haines v. Hampshire County Commission


A dog was impounded and adopted after being picked up by animal control officers.  The owners of the dog brought suit over the adoption of their dog.  The trial court dismissed the suit and the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding the dog's owners failed to state a claim.

In re Kenna Homes Cooperative Corporation


The owners of a cooperative unit kept a dog in their dwelling despite a no pets policy. There was, however, an exception in the policy for service animals, and the Jessups argued that the small dog they kept was necessary due to various medical problems they had, including arthritis and depression. The housing authority denied the request, stating that only animals certified for the particular disability qualify as a "service animal." The West Virginia Court of Appeals held that a housing authority may require that a service animal be properly trained without violating federal law.

Maupin v. Sidiropolis


Dog owner appealed the decision of the State Racing Commission which found that the owner was not eligible for payments under the State Greyhound Breeding Development Fund.  The Circuit Court reversed, and the Commission appealed.  The Court of Appeals found that (1) any owner of a greyhound may participate in the fund as long as eligibility requirements are met; (2) that the inclusion of a nonresident joint tenant did not prevent the joint tenant from receiving money from the Fund; and (3) that a joint ownership interest in the dogs was created by the styling of the registration documents. 

Robinson v. City of Bluefield An Animal Control Officer responded to a complaint about two dogs at defendant's residence. While investigating the complaint at defendant's residence, the animal control officer was attacked by one of defendant's dogs. The officer sought medical treatment following the incident. The City of Bluefield subsequently brought charges against defendant in its municipal court, charging her with having a dangerous animal in violation of city ordinances. The municipal court ordered the dog killed. On appeal, the Circuit Court of Mercer County affirmed the municipal court's decision. Defendant then appealed the Circuit Court's decision arguing that that Circuit Court erred in concluding that the municipal court had the authority to order the destruction of her dog. After review, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia agreed with defendant and found that under the plain language of W.Va.Code § 19–20–20, the City of Bluefield was required to set forth satisfactory proof that defendant’s dog was “vicious, dangerous, or in the habit of biting or attacking other persons” before a circuit court or a magistrate, not a municipal court. The court therefore found that ordinance was void to the extent that it allowed a municipal court to order the destruction of the dog. The circuit court's order affirming the municipal court's order to kill Ms. Robinson's dog was therefore reversed. Justice Loughry dissents.
State v. Spade


In 2006, appellant was charged with one count of animal cruelty after 149 dogs were seized from her rescue shelter. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that, since the appellant (1) entered into a valid plea agreement which "specifically and unequivocally reserved a restitution hearing" and (2) "attempted on numerous occasions to challenge the amounts she was required by the magistrate court to post in separate bonds," that the final order of the Circuit Court of Berkeley County should be reversed. Accordingly, the court found that the plaintiff was entitled to a restitution hearing to determine the actual reasonable costs incurred in providing care, medical treatment, and provisions to the animals seized.

WV - Assistance Animal - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws


The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

WV - Charleston - Chapter 10: Animals (Article IV. Urban Deer Management)


This Charleston, West Virginia ordinance allows a person to hunt deer within city limits, but only upon certain conditions. For instance, a person must obtain a permit from the city, must hunt only with a bow and arrow, and must hunt only on certain tracts of land—amongst other things—in order to be compliant with these provisions. A violation of this ordinance is a misdemeanor and may result in fines ranging from $10 to $500, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both. Additionally, a violation may suspend or revoke a person's hunting permit.

WV - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes


These West Virginia statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions.  If any person cruelly mistreats, abandons or withholds proper sustenance, including food, water, shelter or medical treatment, necessary to sustain normal health and fitness or to end suffering or abandons any animal to die, or uses, trains or possesses any domesticated animal for the purpose of seizing, detaining or maltreating any other domesticated animal, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor.  If any person intentionally tortures or maliciously kills an animal, or causes, procures or authorizes any other person to torture or maliciously kill an animal, he or she is guilty of a felony.  The provisions of this section do not apply to lawful acts of hunting, fishing, trapping or animal training or farm livestock, poultry, gaming fowl or wildlife kept in private or licensed game farms if kept and maintained according to usual and accepted standards of livestock, poultry, gaming fowl or wildlife or game farm production and management.  The section also prohibits animal fighting as a misdemeanor unless the animals involved were wild game or fur-bearing animals, in which case it becomes a felony.

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