West Virginia Record

Friday, December 13, 2019

Jasper, the whippet with a lengthy court battle, dies

State Supreme Court

By Kyla Asbury | May 30, 2019

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Jasper | Justice for Jasper Facebook page

BECKLEY — Jasper, the small whippet mix that was sentenced to be euthanized in 2015 for biting two children has been euthanized, "Justice for Jasper" announced on Facebook.

"We are absolutely heartbroken to announce that Jasper’s fight ended this morning," the May 29 statement read. "His life was so precious to so many & his love, smile & tail wag will never be forgotten."

Jasper had many wonderful supporters and received more love than most dogs will ever receive, according to the statement.

"Thank you for all of your support. Rest In Peace sweet Jasper. Play, jump, run & have fun with the pups on the other side boy. We will never forget you."

Jasper's case has spent years going through West Virginia's court system and even to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals for consideration.

Jasper was held at the Raleigh County animal shelter in isolation while decisions were made.

Jasper had his case considered by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and investigated by Gov. Jim Justice. A magistrate ruled he should be euthanized after he bit a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old several times.

In 2017, Justice issued a statement about Jasper, saying his office had tried everything to get Jasper off of a death sentence.

"The Governor’s office has exhaustively looked into the legal proceedings related to Jasper the dog in Raleigh County, and the law of West Virginia is clear: it is not possible for Governor Justice to intervene," it read. "The Governor recognizes that it is a painful situation for the families, the children, the dog, and the judges involved. No one loves animals more than Governor Justice."

Jasper’s case began in 2014, when a criminal complaint was filed against his owner, Brenda Jeffrey, in Raleigh Magistrate Court.

Jeffrey signed a statement of surrender, voluntarily giving up Jasper to the Humane Society of Raleigh County. She claimed she thought the document was for a 10-day hold.

On Jan. 28, 2015, a hearing in Raleigh Circuit Court was held to determine Jasper’s fate.

On Feb. 11, 2015, the circuit court entered an order granting the state’s motion to have Jasper put down. That May, the magistrate court also agreed that Jasper should be euthanized.

After that, the humane society filed a writ of prohibition. On Feb. 23, 2016, a circuit court judge in Raleigh determined that the humane society lacked standing to bring an appeal. The humane society then appealed to the Supreme Court — claiming the circuit court’s ruling lacked standing.

In January 2017, the Supreme Court issued a memorandum decision affirming the circuit court’s ruling. However, on Feb. 3, 2017, the shelter received a fax staying the case — just minutes before Jasper was to be euthanized.

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Organizations in this Story

West Virginia Supreme Court of AppealsRaleigh Circuit Court

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