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. Blatt The Circuit Court of Wayne County ordered that Tinkerbell, a female pit bull terrier, be destroyed pursuant to West Virginia's vicious dog statute, after she injured a neighbor child who was playing in the dog’s yard. The circuit court's decision ordering that Tinkerbell be destroyed relied on a presumption that pit bull dog breeds are inherently vicious. Because extensive debate exists over whether scientific evidence and social concerns justify breed-specific presumptions, the court concluded that courts may not, upon judicial notice, rely solely upon a breed-specific presumption in ordering the destruction of a dog pursuant to West Virginia's vicious dog statute. The adoption of breed-specific presumptions with regard to this statute is the prerogative of the Legislature, not the judiciary, the court stated. In the absence of a breed-specific presumption, the court determined that neither the remaining findings of fact in the circuit court's destruction order nor the facts presented in the record provided satisfactory proof that Tinkerbell must be euthanized. Consequently, the court reversed the circuit court's destruction order.
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.

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