BECKLEY — The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled Friday that Jasper, the Raleigh County dog at the center of a three-year legal battle, is to be euthanized.
In the decision, the court agreed with Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick that Jasper’s former owner, petitioner Brenda Jeffrey, had no standing to proceed with an appeal in Jasper’s ordered euthanization. The Court relied heavily on a statement of voluntary surrender which Jeffrey made on Aug. 20, 2014, in which she stated that she had surrendered Jasper to Raleigh County Humane Society and relinquished her rights as an owner.
Kirkpatrick declined to comment on the case Friday.
Jasper, a Whippet mix, reportedly bit two children in Prosperity without provocation on May 23, Aug. 15 and 17, 2014. In the Aug. 17, 2014, incident, the child underwent a serious surgery that required over 100 stitches to her arm, her mother reported. A second restorative surgery was recommended by surgeons, for when the child was older.
Jeffrey and the second owner, Randall Smith, were criminally charged with harboring a vicious animal. In January 2015, the state filed a petition to destroy Jasper. During an evidentiary hearing later in January 2015 before Kirkpatrick, the judge ruled that Jeffrey had “no standing” to contest the state’s petition to have Jasper destroyed.
In February 2015, Kirkpatrick ordered Jasper to be euthanized. In March 2015, Jasper’s owners both entered pleas of guilty to harboring a vicious dog at that time.
In May, a Raleigh Magistrate Court judge found that Jasper was a vicious animal, in accordance with state code . With Jeffrey present at the hearing, the magistrate ordered that Jasper be euthanized.
Neither Jeffrey nor Smith filed an appeal.
In February 2016, the Humane Society appealed the decision before Kirkpatrick who ruled that the Humane Society did not have legal standing to file an appeal of the magistrate court decision and ordered the euthanization to proceed.
The Humane Society appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court. The higher court refused to hear the appeal, due to an inadequate brief.
In January 2017, Kirkpatrick set a schedule for the euthanization and how it should be performed. Attorneys for the Humane Society filed before Kirkpatrick an injunction to stop the euthanization order and to set aside the magistrate’s decision. Kirkpatrick denied the requests in March 2017.
The Humane Society appealed the matter to the State Supreme Court, which affirmed Kirkpatrick’s decision on Friday.
Story from The Register-Herald