Attorneys Randy Saunders, left, and Taylor Hood helped save Sophia and Rose from euthanization. (Courtesy photos)

Shelter volunteers Connie Kirk, left, and Janet Howard helped save Sophia, left, and Rose (right). Kirk adopted the dogs.

HUNTINGTON – Two Nelson Mullins attorneys worked to get two golden retrievers released from the Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter after a volunteer sought their legal help.

The two golden retrievers were brought to the animal shelter by their previous owner, who claimed the dogs had health problems and were suffering, to be euthanized.

A volunteer at the shelter, Connie Kirk, contacted Nelson Mullins to prevent the euthanization and allow the dogs to be adopted.

Taylor Hood and Randy Saunders, two attorneys at Nelson Mullins, led the effort to prevent the euthanization and allow the adoption.

The previous owner of the dogs surrendered the dogs to the animal shelter and paid for them to be euthanized, but Kirk felt that the dogs were not sick, injured or dangerous, and therefore should be allowed to be adopted.

"There was no sign of the animals being sick, injured or dangerous," Saunders said. "So we were able to obtain a vet examination from an independent veterinarian to check the dogs out to make sure."

The veterinarian found that the dogs did not need to be euthanized and should be allowed to be adopted.

"We chose an independent veterinarian because we wanted to make sure we got a completely unbiased opinion," Saunders said.

Hood said the shelter felt like its hands were tied because the previous owner had paid for the dogs to be euthanized.

"It's up to the shelter's discretion whether or not to have the dogs adopted or euthanized after the previous owner surrendered the dogs to the shelter," Hood said. "Since the dogs weren't sick, injured, abandoned or dangerous, the shelter could allow them to be adopted."

After an order was granted by Cabell Circuit Judge Paul Farrell, the dogs were able to be adopted by Kirk.

Hood and Saunders did the work as part of Nelson Mullins' pro bono program, which Saunders said gives them the ability to take on a number of pro bono clients each year.

Marc Williams, Ryan Ashworth, Lauren Savory and Brandy Hayton also helped in the effort to save the dogs.

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