Private landowners lose dog lawsuit against MDWF&P
September 7, 2016 Leave a comment
Back in February of last year, I mentioned that a group of landowners filed a lawsuit in Hinds County Chancery Court against the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and Sam Polles, in his official capacity as Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks.
The plaintiffs claimed that dog hunters caused free ranging hunting dogs to cross their land and the MDWFP failed to take any action to prevent these dogs from intruding on the property of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also alleged that the MDWFP has failed to implement a system of permitting and fines. The plaintiffs’ legal theories were based on public nuisance, an unconstitutional taking of their property, civil trespass, and private nuisance.
On September 1, the Court entered an opinion denying plaintiffs’ claims. The Court held:
- “the inaction of creating a permitting system for the particular use of free-running dogs has not injured a public right of the Plaintiffs, as the power to regulate hunters is within the discretion of MDWFP”
- “property has not been taken by government action, as the individuals who have allegedly harassed and injured the Plaintiffs’ property are not acting on behalf of the state nor in an official capacity for the state”
- “a per se taking has not occurred”
- “no private nuisance has occurred”
- “the inaction of regulation does not result in a civil trespass on Plaintiffs’ land.”
As I originally wrote back in August of last year, this case is a dog that won’t hunt. If these landowners want to change the laws on hunting with dogs in Mississippi, the legislature is the place to do it rather than the courts.