By DEANNE JOHNSON
LISBON - Columbiana County Humane Officer Jan Palmer was ordered in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court to pay $7,500 to a man whose dogs were seized in 2009. The verdict was issued by a jury last week, following three days of hearings.
According to court documents, the jury determined Palmer entered the home with the consent of William Logsdon, but then acted willfully, recklessly or in bad faith once on the property.
Logsdon had accused Palmer and Salem Township Constable Dan Valentine of violating his rights by illegally taking his 14 dogs without returning them, wrongfully prosecuting him for cruelty of animals, inflicting emotional distress and slandering his name through their actions. Palmer and Valentine had gone to the house on Dec. 29, 2009 and told Logsdon they were there to rescue the dogs.
Logsdon had contended Palmer and Valentine did not have a warrant and forced him to sign a blank piece of paper. He additionally claimed Palmer went outside and waved to volunteers and a television crew, who all entered his property.
The jury also determined that Valentine did not act in bad faith while there and had the right to be on the property.
Testimony and statements went on for two days last week with the jury reaching a verdict on the second night. However, Judge Scott Washam gave the jury additional instructions on the third day and the jury ruled again on the verdict. The jury also then decided how much compensation was due.
Logsdon had been seeking in excess of $25,000.
Criminal animal cruelty charges related to the case initially filed in Columbiana County Municipal Court were later dropped after Judge Mark Frost allowed the evidence seized on the property to be suppressed.