Lawyers representing Shalanda Augillard, the New Orleans-area woman who lost her fight to have her dog returned to her in a Hays County court earlier this summer, have announced they are appealing the District Courtâ€™s ruling. This is the first case that has gone to trial in which an owner of a dog lost in Katrina was denied the return of her pet.
Augillard said, â€œI put my faith in the justice system, and it failed me. I know without a doubt that the dog in Texas is Jazz. I love my dog, and all I want is to bring Jazz home.â€
According to attorney Susan Philips, who represented Augillard in the case, the outcome was incomprehensible, given the uncontroverted and overwhelming evidence that Jazz is indeed Augillardâ€™s dog.
â€œA noted DNA expert, Dr. Joy Halverson, testified that, â€™with scientific certainty, I can unequivocally say the DNA samples came from the same dog,â€™â€ Philips said. â€œAt the outset of the case, we were confident that the court would return Jazz to Augillard. We thought that the quickest way to get Jazz home was to file suit in Texas, in Hays County, which is where the dog was being held. Because the judge limited the trial to four hours, we didnâ€™t have the opportunity to present our case. We were stunned by the judgeâ€™s decision.â€
She added, â€œSince Jazz is now ten years old, it is imperative that we continue to pursue this case at all levels and hopefully reunite her with Augillard before itâ€™s too late.â€