GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — A Saucier woman has filed a lawsuit alleging an animal control officer seized her dogs without a court order and impounded them at the Humane Society of South Mississippi.

Deborah K. Alverson argues she was not allowed to retrieve them and tried to request an emergency hearing in Harrison County Justice Court, but allegedly was unable to have a hearing because the officer failed to turn in the paperwork on the seizure.

The Sun Herald reports ( ) that the lawsuit says one of the dogs died before the charges were dismissed more than seven months later.

Alverson filed the civil-rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Gulfport on Dec. 17. She seeks unspecified damages.

Defendants include the Harrison County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff Melvin Brisolara and the animal control officer who, according to the lawsuit, has since left the sheriff's office. The defendants have not yet filed a response to Alverson's lawsuit.

Alverson's dogs were taken from her property March 26. China, the one who died, was an 8-year-old Chinese pug who was partially blind and had some hearing loss and related medical problems, the lawsuit said. Black Betty, 4 years old, is a pug and beagle mix who has severe hip dysplasia that restricts the use of her back legs.

Both were receiving regular medical treatment and were sunbathing in the yard when the officer took them, said Alverson's attorney, James Halliday.

China later died at the HSSM. Alverson argues she was not informed in a timely manner and was not allowed to retrieve the remains.

The animal cruelty charges were dismissed for lack of evidence, the lawsuit said.