LOGAN – An employee of Acculab, a water quality monitoring company in Logan County, unlawfully shot a Mingo County family’s pet turkey, a recently filed lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 15 in Logan Circuit Court, accuses Ian M. Elia of entering the Branham family’s property without consent and shooting a pet turkey with a Glock 33. According to the suit, Elia said he was attempting to protect the family’s German Shepherd.

Acculab is also named as a defendant in the suit because the actions were the foreseeable result of negligent hiring, supervision and retention, the suit says.

“Elia’s killing of the presence of the 16-year-old grandson of Charles and Donna Branham, Plaintiff Charles Eugene Lackey, who lived with his mother, Plaintiff Kelly Branham Smith, in a second residence located on the 113-acre farm in Lenore and owned by Plaintiffs Charles and Donna Branham,” the suit says.

“The young man heard three shots, opened the door, saw Defendant Ian M. Elia with the turkey in his hands, and asked what (Elia) was doing.

“Lackey observed (Elia) take a long antenna from his vehicle and attempt to whip a second turkey off of the Branham’s porch.

“Elia stated that the turkey was trying to eat the siding off the house and he had killed it as a ‘Good Samaritan’ and to keep it from attacking the Branham’s German Shepherd, and that as a favor to the family he would take the turkey away.”

The family called 911, and Elia attempted to flee the property, but Branham overtook him in his own vehicle and blocked his escape, the lawsuit says.

Elia falsely accused Branham of drawing a gun on him, and Branham, who has a heart condition, eventually spent the night in the hospital, the lawsuit says.

A sign stating “NO SALESMAN, NO WATER SAMPLERS, PRIVATE PROPERTY, KEEP OUT” was posted on the property when Elia trespassed, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit makes claims of trespass, willful destruction of property, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring, supervision and retention.

The plaintiffs are represented by William V. DePaulo of Charleston.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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