FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A family is furious that their dogs were euthanized. Now, they're suing the organization that operates some local animal shelters.
This all started with accusations the family's dogs attacked a woman. The family told Channel 2’s Alyssa Hyman that is just not true.
In fact, their attorney said all charges were ultimately dismissed, but it was too late, because the dogs were already dead.
"I said, 'Listen, these are my babies. These are not just dogs,'" owner John Ahmadinia said.
He told Hyman he will never forgive himself for letting Fulton County Animal Services take his dogs away.
"I put them in the truck with my hands," Ahmadinia said.
He said that was the last time he would ever see Lucy, Mac and Princess again.
“I told them to take them, and then they killed them," Ahmadinia said.
Now, he's suing Lifeline Animal Project -- the organization that oversees animal services in Fulton County -- for wrongfully euthanizing his dogs.
"The only way that they have the authorization and can legally or lawfully put the dogs down is by court order," attorney Scott Zahler said.
Zahler said that was something Lifeline didn’t have.
The dogs were impounded after an alleged bite incident outside Ahmadinia's business in 2016, where the dogs also acted as guard dogs, Zahler told Hyman.
They learned before the case ever went to trial that the dogs had already been put to death, even though Zahler said the judge ultimately dismissed the charges.
“The dogs had no bite histories. They did not bite this woman. They were not dangerous, they were not vicious and there were no grounds to euthanize them whatsoever," Zahler said.
Even if the dogs were scheduled to be euthanized, he said Lifeline would have been legally required to notify the owner.
Hyman reached out to Lifeline about the allegations. The organization told her they couldn’t comment on a pending case.
Meanwhile, the family said this was no mistake.
"We feel that the dogs were put down intentionally. It was deliberate. We believe Lifeline, the defendant, rushed to judgment," Zahler said
Zahler said one of their goals is to change the current law. Right now, you can only sue for the fair market value of the dogs.
The family said they think that's wrong and that dogs are considered family, not property, and are worth much more.
Ahmadinia admitted he's had other complaints in the past, but said none related to his the dogs.
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