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The court will not set aside a trial court's findings unless clearly erroneous, nor disturb its conclusions if the trial court's findings support them.
Plaintiff finder found the defendant owner’s lost dog and took it home. She posted notices and contacted the humane society but was unsuccessful in locating the owner. When the owner found the dog, the finder did not want to return it. Nonetheless, when the owner prepared to leave, the dog jumped into the owner's truck, and he left with the dog. The finder filed an action in replevin to recover the dog. The trial court entered judgment for the finder and returned the dog to her. The court ruled that the finder had substantially complied with the lost property statute Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 27, §§ 1101-1110, and therefore she was entitled to the dog. Defendant owner sought review of the decision.
Was the plaintiff finder entitled to the possession of the dog?
On appeal, the court affirmed. The court held that the trial court properly awarded possession to the finder, because she diligently attempted to locate the owner and responsibly sheltered and cared for the dog over a year. According to the court, the trial court was clearly within its discretion in awarding possession to the plaintiff. The court will not set aside a trial court's findings unless clearly erroneous, nor disturb its conclusions if the trial court's findings support them.