Municipal Ordinances: Related Cases
|Warren v. Delvista Towers Condominium Ass'n, Inc.||49 F.Supp.3d 1082 (S.D. Fla. 2014)||In its motion for summary judgment, Defendant argues Plaintiff’s accommodation request under the Federal Fair Housing Act (the “FHA”) to modify Defendant's “no pet” policy was unreasonable because Plaintiff's emotional support animal was a pit bull and pit bulls were banned by county ordinance. In denying the Defendant’s motion, the District Court found that changing a no pets policy for an emotional support animal was a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. The court also found that enforcing the county ordinance would violate the FHA by permitting a discriminatory housing practice. However, in line with US Department of Housing and Urban Development notices, the court found genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether the dog posed a direct threat to members of the condominium association, and whether that threat could be reduced by other reasonable accommodations.|
|Perez v. County of Monterey||--- Cal.Rptr.3d ---- 2019 WL 621483 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 14, 2019)||In this California case, the plaintiffs sued to challenge the validity of the County of Monterey rooster-keeping ordinance, seeking a declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional. The ordinance limits residents to no more than four roosters on a single property without a rooster keeping permit and also describes care and keeping requirements. The trial court found that the ordinance did not violate the constitution and entered judgment for the City. Plaintiffs here appeal that decision, arguing that the ordinance: (1) takes property without compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) infringes on Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce; (3) violates the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (4) is a prohibited bill of attainder; and (5) violates the rights to privacy and to possess property guaranteed by the California Constitution. With respect to the Fifth Amendment taking challenge, the court found that the regulatory takings argument failed because there is no evidence that the ordinance affected plaintiffs or that they even applied for or were eligible for a permit. As to the interstate commerce challenge, plaintiffs provided no evidence that the ordinance would cause excess roosters to be divested from owners and sold in commerce to support this claim. As to Equal Protection, the plaintiffs correctly assert that the ordinance treats people differently based on age (i.e., students engaged in 4-H or FFA activities are exempted from the four-rooster limitation). However, the court found that the county stated a legitimate objective of public health and safety and this differential treatment of a non-suspect class advances that interest. Finally, the court found the ordinance was not a bill of attainder since it prospectively regulates roosters and also that it does not violate California's right to privacy and property possession. Indeed, the court found that plaintiff did not identify a specific privacy interest implicated by the ordinance. Thus, the judgment was affirmed.|
|Wallen v. City of Mobile||--- So.3d ----, 2018 WL 3803749 (Ala. Crim. App. Aug. 10, 2018)||Wallen appeals her convictions for six counts of violating Mobile, Alabama's public nuisance ordinances. The nuisance convictions stem from an anonymous complaint about multiple barking dogs at Wallen's property. After receiving the tip in March of 2016, an animal control officer drove to the residence, parked across the street, and, as he sat in his car, heard dogs bark continuously for approximately ten minutes. That same day, a local realtor went to house that was for sale behind Wallen's property and heard an "overwhelming" noise of dogs barking continuously for 30-45 minutes. For almost a year, officers received complaints about noise coming from Wallen's house. In May of 2017, Wallen entered a plea of not guilty for multiple charges of violating the public nuisance ordinance in Mobile Circuit Court. She also filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Mobile City Code was unconstitutionally vague. Her motion was later denied, and a jury trial was held where Wallen was found guilty of six counts of violating Mobile's public-nuisance ordinance. On appeal, Wallen first argues that the public nuisance ordinance is unconstitutionally overbroad because it regulates without reference to time, place, and manner. However, the court found that Wallen did not establish how the overbreadth doctrine applied to her case and how the ordinance was unconstitutional. As to her next vagueness challenge, Wallen contended that the ordinance had no objective standards to determine whether a dog's barking is disturbing or unreasonable. This court disagreed, finding the statute defines what are "disturbing noises" (which specifically states barking), and other courts previously established that the term "habit" in a dog-barking statute is not vague. Finally, the found that Wallen's last general argument, that the code is unconstitutional as applied to her, did not satisfy court rules with respect to issues presented and support with authority on appeal. The judgment of the lower court was affirmed.|
|Strickland v. Pinellas Cty.||--- So.3d ----, 2018 WL 6518761 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Dec. 12, 2018)||Andy G. Strickland appealed an order dismissing with prejudice his complaint for declaratory relief against Pinellas County. The request stems from letters he received from Animal Services of Pinellas County about his dog. Strickland and a neighbor were involved in a dispute after their dogs attacked each other. The neighbor filed a complaint with Animal Services claiming that Strickland's dog was the "aggressor dog" and then sent a letter to the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners. The County then sent two letters to Strickland, the first informing him that his dog had exhibited dangerous propensities, and the second, from an assistant county attorney, informing him of the possible criminal ramifications for keeping a dangerous dog or being an "Irresponsible Pet Owner" under the county code. As a result of these letters, Strickland filed a complaint in circuit court saying that he was not afforded any opportunity to dispute those claims and that he is entitled to have the threat of criminal prosecution removed. The County moved to dismiss Strickland's complaint arguing that he failed to allege a justiciable controversy and a bona fide dispute between the County and him. The County claimed that there were no legal findings made with respect to Strickland's dog and that the letters were possible ramifications and explanations of law. The trial court agreed and granted the County's motion, finding the letters were not accusatory and the case presented no justiciable issue. On appeal here, this court upheld the lower court's order because Strickland's allegations did not present a bona fide dispute. Both letters emphasized that his dog had not been classified as dangerous and that no action was being taken by the county. A speculative fear by Strickland that he may be subject to future consequences does not warrant declaratory relief and does not show imminent danger of prosecution. Thus, the trial court correctly dismissed Strickland's complaint. Affirmed.|
|Missouri Pet Breeders Association v. County of Cook||106 F. Supp. 3d 908 (N.D. Ill. 2015)||Cook County passed an ordinance that required a “pet shop operator” to only sell animals obtained from a breeder that (among other requirements) held a USDA class “A” license and owned or possessed no more than 5 female dogs, cats, or rabbits capable of reproduction in any 12-month period. Plaintiffs, a professional pet organization and three Cook County pet shops and their owners, sued Cook County government officials, alleging that the ordinance violated the United States and Illinois Constitutions. Defendants moved to dismiss the action. After concluding that plaintiffs had standing to pursue all of their claims, with the exception of the Foreign Commerce Claim, the Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss all claims, but gave Plaintiffs a chance to cure their complaint's defects by amendment.|
|Puppies 'N Love, v. City of Phoenix||116 F. Supp. 3d 971 (D. Ariz. 2015)||Defendant City of Phoenix passed an ordinance that prohibited pet stores from selling dogs or cats obtained from persons or companies that bred animals; pet stores could only sell animals obtained from animal shelters or rescue organizations. Puppies 'N Love operated a pet store in Phoenix that sold purebred dogs obtained from out-of-state breeders. Puppies 'N Love and its owners sued the City, claiming primarily that the Ordinance violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution by closing the Phoenix market to out-of-state breeders and giving an economic advantage to local breeders. All parties, including Intervenor Humane Society of the United States (“HSUS”), filed motions for summary judgment. The District Court granted the Intervenor’s and the city’s motions, but denied Puppies ‘N Love’s motion, thereby upholding the ordinance.|
|Concerned Dog Owners of California v. City of Los Angeles||123 Cal.Rptr.3d 774 (Cal.App.2 Dist., 2011)||
Dog owners mounted a constitutional challenge to a Los Angeles municipal ordinance that required all dogs and cats within the city to be sterilized. The Court of Appeal held that the ordinance did not violate the owners’ freedom of association rights, free speech rights. or equal protection rights. The court held that it was not unconstitutionally vague, was not outside of the city's police powers, did not vest unfettered discretion in city officials, did not constitute an unconstitutional prior restraint or an unconstitutional taking. Finally, the law did not violate individual liberties under the California Constitution.
|Youngstown v. Traylor||123 Ohio St.3d 132, 914 N.E.2d 1026 (Ohio,2009)||Defendant was charged with two misdemeanors after his unrestrained Italian Mastiff/Cane Corso dogs attacked a wire fox terrier and its owner. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him, arguing that YCO 505.19(b) is unconstitutional and a violation of his procedural due process rights. The Supreme Court of Ohio held that the Youngstown municipal ordinance was constitutional because it was “rationally related to the city's legitimate interest in protecting citizens from vicious dogs,” provided “the dog owner with a meaningful opportunity to be heard on the dog's classification,” and did not “label dogs as dangerous or vicious” solely based on their breed type.|
|New York Pet Welfare Ass'n, Inc. v. City of New York||143 F.Supp.3d 50 (E.D. New York,2015)||
(Aff'd on appeal to 2nd Circuit: New York Pet Welfare Association, Inc. v. City of New York, 850 F.3d 79 (2d Cir. 2017). Plaintiffs, a non-profit group trade association of pet stores ("NYPWA"), dog and cat breeders and dealers, veterinarians, and pet owners, brought this action against New York City, the city council, and council members, alleging that defendants have adopted laws that violate the Supremacy Clause, the Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as New York law that governs veterinary medicine, the treatment of animals, and equal protection. The challenged law relate to the sale of dogs and cats in the city that require pet stores to obtain pets from Class A USDA licensees in good standing and that the pet stores spay and neuter the pets before selling them. In rejecting NYPWA's federal preemption claim, the court found that the AWA specifically contemplates local regulation in § 2143(a)(8) and previous cases have found no conflict even where the local legislation bans what is otherwise allowed under the AWA. The court also found no conflict with state law (N.Y. Gen. Bus. § 753–d) or other laws concerning veterinary licensing, pet shops, and animal cruelty. In dismissing plaintiff's Equal Protection argument, the court was not persuaded that pet stores and shelters/rescues are "similarly situated" to support the claim. Additionally, the court found a rational basis to support any differential treatment. NYPWA also alleged that the Pet Shop Laws violate the dormant Commerce Clause, arguing that the laws impermissibly regulate extraterritorially and favor local interests. The court found that even if plaintiff's factual allegations were true, the law was not economic protectionism, but an attempt to curb problems with homeless animals and euthanasia. Finally, the court found not due process violations (substantive or procedural) where there is no interference with a constitutionally protected right. NYPWA's motion to dismiss the claims is granted and the motion for preliminary injunction was denied.
|McCall v. Par. of Jefferson||178 So. 3d 174 (La.App. 5 Cir. 2015)||Defendant appeals a judgment from the 24th Judicial District Court (JDC) for violations of the Jefferson Parish Code. In 2014, a parish humane officer visited defendant's residence and found over 15 dogs in the yard, some of which were chained up and others who displayed injuries. Initially, defendant received a warning on the failure to vaccinate charges as long as he agreed to spay/neuter the animals. Defendant failed to do so and was again found to have numerous chained dogs that did not have adequate food, water, shelter, or veterinary care. He was ordered to surrender all dogs in his possession and was assessed a suspended $1,500 fine. On appeal, defendant claims he was denied a fair hearing because he was denied the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. This court disagreed, finding that the JDC functioned as a court of appeal on the ordinance violations and could not receive new evidence. Before the JDC hearing, this court found defendant was afforded a hearing that met state and local laws. The JDC judgment was affirmed.|
|Dog Federation of Wisconsin, Inc. v. City of South Milwaukee||178 Wis.2d 353, 504 N.W.2d 375 (Wis.App.,1993)||
This appeal is by the Dog Federation of Wisconsin and others who contest a City of South Milwaukee ordinance that imposes restrictions on the ownership and keeping of “pit bulls.” The Federation claims that the “pit bull” aspects of the ordinance are facially invalid because: the definition of “pit bull” is impermissibly vague; the ordinance is overbroad; and the ordinance violates their right to equal protection. The court found that reference to recognized breeds provides sufficient specifics to withstand a vagueness challenge. With regard to equal protection, the court held that the ordinance is founded on “substantial distinctions” between the breeds of dog covered by the ordinance and other breeds of dog. Moreover, the ordinance is “germane” to the underlying purpose of the ordinance to protect persons and animals from dangerous dogs. Finally, the ordinance applies equally to the affected class of persons owning or keeping pit bulls.
|Morawek v. City of Bonney Lake||184 Wash. App. 487, 337 P.3d 1097 (2014)||A woman filed a complaint with the Bonney Lake animal control authority after her neighbor’s dog killed her cat. The animal control officer served plaintiff with paperwork stating that his dog satisfied the definition of a dangerous dog under the Bonney Lake Municipal Code because the dog had killed a domestic animal without provocation while off his owner's property. Plaintiff appealed the designation to the police chief, the city hearing examiner, and the superior court; all of which affirmed the designation. The Washington Court of Appeals, however, held that the hearing examiner's finding that the owner's dog killed the neighbor's cat without provocation was not supported by substantial evidence, as required to uphold a dangerous dog designation, even though the “location” element of the dangerous dog designation was satisfied. The dangerous dog designation was therefore reversed.|
|State v. Mortensen||191 P.3d 1097 (Hawai'i App., 2008)||
Defendant found guilty of Cruelty to Animals under a State statute after firing a pellet gun at/toward a cat which was later found with and died from a fatal wound. On Defendant’s appeal, the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai’i affirmed the lower court’s decision, finding that evidence that Defendant knowingly fired the pellet gun at a group of cats within the range of such a gun was sufficient to find that Defendant recklessly shot and killed the cat. In making its decision, the Court of Appeals further found that the legislature clearly did not intend for a cat to be considered vermin or a pest for purposes of the relevant State anti-cruelty statute’s exception, and instead clearly intended for a cat to be considered a “pet animal.”
|Kanab City v. Popowich||194 P.3d 198, (Utah App.,2008)||
In this Utah case, the defendant appeals the decision of the district court finding him guilty on four counts of failing to maintain a city dog license and one count of running an illegal kennel. In December 2005, a Kanab City animal control officer responded to numerous complaints of barking dogs at Defendant's residence. This officer observed four dogs over the age of three months on the premises during two separate visits to Defendant's home that month and on subsequent random visits in the following months. On appeal, defendant argued that the city ordinance on which his conviction for operating an illegal kennel is based is unconstitutionally vague. This court disagreed, finding that an ordinary person reading the ordinance would understand that, in order to keep more than two dogs over the age of three months in the same residence, a citizen must register for a kennel permit.
|Garza v. State||2007 Tex. App. LEXIS 8953||Carrollton, Texas municipal code prohibited the keeping of more than three pets on property within the city limits. Yvette Garza, a member of an animal rescue organization, challenged the determination that she had violated the city code by keeping more than three dogs. She argued that the code was unconstitutionally vague and that her actions were necessary. The court held that although the term "keep" was not defined in the statute, a person of ordinary intelligence would understand the law because "keep" has a common sense meaning. Garza also failed to produce evidence proving when the scheduled euthanasia of the dogs was going to occur, she therefore failed to establish the elements of her necessity defense.|
|Humane Society-Western Region v. Snohomish County||2007 WL 2404619 (W.D. Wash)||
Plaintiff Humane Society Western Region (d/b/a "Happy Paws Farm") filed this lawsuit against Snohomish County alleging provisions of the county code regulating barking are unconstitutionally vague in violation of the state and federal constitutions, and that the SCC provision governing the temporary housing of animals in shelters violates its federal constitutional right to substantive due process. Plaintiff argued that the noise ordinances invite subjective evaluation resulting in arbitrary enforcement because the code contains no reference to identifiable levels of noise, only to noises that are repetitive. The absence of identifiable levels of noise, or decibel levels, does not render the noise ordinances unconstitutionally vague. Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that this method is not easily understood by individuals of ordinary intelligence or that it fails to protect against arbitrary enforcement. This opinion was Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part by Humane Society Western Region v. Snohomish County, 357 Fed.Appx. 144 (9th Cir., 2009).
|Webb v. Amtower||2008 WL 713728 (KS,2008 (not reported))||
The court applied the forum's traditional lex loci conflict-of-laws rule to determine what jurisdiction's law governed for both damages and recovery of possession. The "place of injury" for the tort/damages issue was Kansas since that's where the contract was signed. The court remanded the case to determine the law of the place where the dog was found to determine the right-to-possession since that was a personal property issue.
|Cottongame v. State||2014 WL 3536801 (Tex. App. 2014), unpublished||Despite an ordinance restricting the number of cats a person can own to three unless a permit was obtained, an officer decided not to enforce the ordinance against the appellant because she was helping with the feral-cat problem in the city and because “she was ... attempting to bring into compliance [her] animal rescue.” When the officer left his job, however, a neighbor complained and an investigation took place. The investigating officer noted everything in the house was covered in cat litter, there was no carpet in the home, and cat urine was on the living-room floor. The smell of cat urine and feces also sickened the officer to the point that he had to leave the house to get fresh air. The State filed a complaint alleging Appellant's violation of the ordinance. A jury found Appellant guilty of the offense as alleged in the complaint and assessed her punishment at $75 plus court costs. Appellant appealed from her conviction for violating a city ordinance regarding the number of animals that may be kept without a permit. In her first issue, the appellant asserted that her conviction violated the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because the city “selectively enforced its purported ordinance that prohibits any person from having possession of more than three cats without a permit.” The court, however, found that there was no evidence before the trial court indicating that appellant was singled out for enforcement or that her selection for enforcement was based on anything other than a valid citizen complaint. In her second issue, the appellant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction. The court, however, found that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's finding that the appellant was in violation of the ordinance. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.|
|MONICA NEWMAN, individually and on behalf of all similarly situated; MATTHEW KEITH DOUGLAS, individually and on behalf of all similarly situated; and RUBY JUDINE MALMAN, individually and on behalf of all similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF PAYETTE,||2015 WL 6159471 (D. Idaho, 2015)||District Court ruled City of Payette's pit bull ordinance's procedural aspects were unconstitutional, finding that the lack of hearing provisions for a dog that was impounded due to an attack or bite violated procedural due process. The court also found that forcing the dog owner to bear the burden of proving his or her dog's innocence violated due process. The court, however, found no constitutional infirmity with the notice procedure employed by Payette's pit bull ordinance, provided Payette adhered to Idaho Code § 25-2804. The court ordered Plaintiff Douglas’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment to be granted in part and denied in part; the claims asserted against the city of Payette by Plaintiffs Monica Newman and Ruby Judine Malman to be dismissed without prejudice; and all claims asserted by Plaintiffs against the city of Fruitland to be dismissed without prejudice.|
|Luper v. City of Wasilla||215 P.3d 342 (Alaska,2009)||
Plaintiff appealed a grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of Wasilla, Alaska's enforcement action over zoning ordinances. The facts stem from the City's denial of plaintiff's application for a use permit in 2005 to run an eighteen-dog kennel. Plaintiff argued on appeal that Wasilla's former three-dog limit infringed on her property rights in both her land and her dog. This court agreed with the lower court that the provision here bore a "fair and substantial relationship" the government purposes of controlling dog noise, reducing dog odor and pollution, and preventing loose dogs. Further, the court found that it was not reasonable for the plaintiff to rely on the city clerk's statement that she only needed a kennel license to operate a hobby kennel.
|City of La Marque v. Braskey||216 S.W.3d 861 (Tex. Ct. App. 2007)||
A city's ordinance did not allow a kennel, defined as a place containing more than four dogs and cats, to be operated within 100 feet of a residence, school, or church. A woman kept as many as 100 cats at a time in a shelter within 100 feet of three homes, and she was criminally charged under the ordinance. The court found that the ordinance did not violate the plaintiff's constitutional rights because there was no right to use her property in any manner that she chose.
|Idaho Dairymen's Ass'n, Inc. v. Gooding County||227 P.3d 907 (Idaho 2010)||
After Gooding County adopted an ordinance regulating confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), cattle ranching and dairy associations brought suit challenging the constitutionality and validity of provisions within the ordinance and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of the county, and the associations appealed. The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court's findings.
|Hauser v. Ventura County Board of Supervisors||229 Cal.Rptr.3d 159 (Cal. Ct. App., 2018)||The plaintiff in this case applied for a conditional use permit (CUP) to keep up to five tigers on her property, but the county planning commission and board of supervisors denied her application. In her application, plaintiff indicates that the project would include three tiger enclosures, a 13,500-square-foot arena with a roof over 14 feet in height at its highest point, with the area surrounded by an eight-foot-high chain link fence encompassing over seven acres. The captive tigers would be used in the entertainment industry: movie sets, television commercials, and still photography. In denying the application, the Board found that the plaintiff failed to prove two elements necessary for a CUP: the project is compatible with the planned uses in the general area, and the project is not detrimental to the public interest, health, safety or welfare. The court noted that plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating her entitlement to the permit. In fact, the court noted that while plaintiff claims "an unblemished safety record," she submitted videos showing tigers "roaming freely in the backyard of her Beverly Hills home" and tigers posing with plaintiff and her sister on the beach. The court observed that, "[h]er well-intentioned desire to own [the tigers] does not trump her neighbors' right to safety and peace of mind." The judgment of the lower court was affirmed.|
|Hatfield v. Bd. of Supervisors of Madison Cty.||235 So.3d 18 (Miss. Aug. 10, 2017)||This Mississippi Supreme Court decision considers the construction of a zoning ordinance that prohibits the "keeping or raising poultry" in the "R-1 Residential District" of Madison County. The property owner, Hatfield, was found to be violating R-1 by the Madison County Board of Supervisors after county officials found around 60 "ducks, geese and other fowl" on this property. Hatfield appealed this decision to the Circuit Court as arbitrary and capricious based on an unconstitutionally vague ordinance section. The Circuit Court, as the reviewing appellate body for the ordinance violation, found the Board's decision was supported by evidence and not arbitrary or capricious. On appeal by Hatfield, the Supreme Court first observed that there are two districts in appellant's subdivision: Agricultural and Residential. In the Agricultural Districts, breeding, raising, and feeding fowl is an expressly permitted use. Appellant lives the zoned Residential Estate District. While the R-1 zoning allows "livestock" and "grazing livestock" on tracts of land one acre or greater, it does not allow the breeding, raising, and feeding chickens, ducks, or other fowl as a permitted use. Hatfield suggested that grazing/livestock section (Section 601) could be interpreted to include poultry, fowl, and/or birds. However, the Supreme Court found that position unreasonable since the examples listed in the code section are "obviously limited to large, four-legged, hoofed animals." This is further supported by the fact raising fowl is expressly permitted in one district, but not the other. Thus, the Ordinance was sufficiently clear and not manifestly unreasonable. The circuit court's decision was affirmed.|
|State v. Mita||245 P.3d 458 (Hawai', 2010)||
Defendant, an owner of two dogs, both boxers, was charged with animal nuisance in violation of Revised Ordinances of Honolulu section 7-2.3. Mita’s counsel objected to the oral charge at trial, arguing "that the arraignment is [not] specific enough to put the defendant specifically on notice of what part of the . . . ordinance she’s being charged with." The district court denied Mita’s motion for judgment of acquittal and sentenced her to pay a $50 fine. Mita appealed. The Intermediate Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of the district court. On certiorari, the Hawaii Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals and remanded the case, finding that the definition of animal nuisance in section 7-2.2 does not create an additional essential element of the offense; and, second, the definition of "animal nuisance" is consistent with its commonly understood meaning.
|Wilson v. City of Eagan||297 N.W.2d 146 (Minn., 1980)||
At issue is an Eagan, Minnesota ordinance that provides an impounded animal must be held for five days before being destroyed. In direct contravention of the ordinance and statute, Eagan animal warden Cary Larson and police officer Robert O'Brien, in performance of their duties, intentionally killed Timothy Wilson's pet cat on the same day it was properly impounded. By first finding that punitive damages were not precluded by statute against municipal employees, the court then examined whether punitive damages were appropriate in this case. While the court did not find that Larson acted with malice, it did find that his conduct in violating the statute showed a willful disregard for property rights.
|Com. v. Raban||31 A.3d 699 (Pa.Super., 2011)||
Defendant was convicted of violating the dog law for failing to properly confine his dog after it escaped from his property and attacked another dog. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed, holding that 1) scienter was not a necessary element of the violation because the statutory mandate to confine a dog was stated absolutely, and 2) a dog attack is not a de minimis infraction that would preclude a conviction.
|People v. Strobridge||339 N.W.2d 531 (Mich.App.,1983)||
In this Michigan case, the defendant appealed his conviction of keeping more than three dogs on his premises without a kennel license in violation of Grandville ordinances, § 21, No. 159-A. On appeal, defendant asserted that the trial court improperly denied his “nonconforming use” defense; that is, he claimed the ordinance at issue was a zoning ordinance rather than a regulatory ordinance. Relying on a case that held that prior nonconforming use (where a person has been using property in a nonconforming way prior to the adoption of the zoning ordinance), the court found that indeed defendant was entitled to present such a defense, as he owned the dogs on the property prior to adoption of the ordinance. Defendant next argued that the trial court erred in ruling that the ordinance was a constitutional exercise of the city's police power. While the court observed that criminal ordinances are to be more strictly construed than ordinances involving a civil penalty, it still found that the ordinance at issue was a valid exercise of police power, especially considering that a previous case had upheld a similar ordinance that limited ownership to only two dogs.
|City of Water Valley v. Trusty||343 So.2d 471 (Miss. 1977)||Appellants filed b ill of complaint seeking to enjoin enforcement of city's dog leash ordinance. The court summarily held that Mississippi Code Annotated s 21-19-9 (1972) authorizes municipalities to regulate the running at large of animals of all kinds. The ordinance here was enacted pursuant to that authority, it meets the constitutional requirements, and the demurrer should have been sustained on that question.|
|Roalstad v. City of Lafayette||363 P.3d 790 (Col. Ct. App. Div. III , 2015)||The origins of this matter began when the City of Lafayette (City) charged Defendant/Appellant with violating its municipal ordinance regarding vicious animals. Defendant/Appellant requested a jury trial pursuant to C.R.S.A. § 16-10-109. The municipal court denied the request. Defendant/Appellant appealed the district court's dismissal of her C.R.C.P. 106 and declaratory judgment action in which she challenged the municipal court's denial of her request for a jury trial. The sole issue on appeal was whether the offense for which Defendant was charged under the City's ordinances was a “petty offense” under C.R.S.A. § 16-10-109, which would entitle her to a jury trial under that statute. Since the municipal ordinance imposed fines that met that definition and because it was not a crime at common law, the court concluded the offense met the definition of “petty offense;” Defendant/Appellant was therefore entitled to a jury trial in municipal court pursuant to C.R.S.A. § 16-10-109. Further, because the ordinance and the state Dangerous Dog law were counterparts and because the ordinance was criminal in nature, the vicious animal offense was not exempt from the “petty offense” definition. Accordingly, the district court’s order was reversed.|
|Eldorado Community Improvement Association Inc. v. Billings||374 P.3d 737 (N.M. Ct. App., 2016)||In this case, Eldorado Subdivision sued some residents who kept hens as pets at their homes. The subdivision had a covenant (Section 11) that disallowed “animals, birds, or poultry” on residents' lots unless kept as “recognized household pets." The defendant-residents claimed that their hens were pets and thus met the household pet exception in the covenant. The lower court agreed with the subdivision and ordered the owners to remove the hens. On appeal, this court looked at the actual language of the covenant, which the court did find to be "unclear and ambiguous." However, the court found that if the residents did not want poultry as household pets, it is reasonable to assume the residents would have removed language that anticipates poultry as household pets. The court here found that the lower court applied the wrong precedent and should have applied a case that favored free use of the land because the covenant is ambiguous. The ruling should not be based on what the developer of the subdivision may have had in mind in writing Section 11 or how community members would interpret its meaning. Instead, the court found that the Section 11 does not disallow hens as pets and rebuffed plaintiffs' "Chicken Little-esque view" that "the sky will fall" if chickens were permitted as pets. In fact, the court observed that if the lot owners want a different result, they must change Section 11 through the election process set out in the covenants. The judgment of the lower court was reversed.|
|Dehart v. Town of Austin||39 F.3d 718 (7th Cir. 1994)||
The breeder was in the business of buying, breeding, raising, and selling of exotic and wild animals. The town passed an ordinance making it unlawful to keep certain wild animals, and the breeder filed suit challenging the constitutionality of a local ordinance. On appeal, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the town because: (1) the ordinance was not preempted by the Animal Welfare Act; (2) the ordinance was not an impermissible attempt to regulate interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause; and (3) the town did not deprive him of his property interest in his federal and state licenses without due process.
|Williams v. Lexington County Bd. of Zoning Appeals||413 S.C. 647, 776 S.E.2d 749 (S.C. Ct. App. 2015)||Appellant sought review of the circuit court's order upholding the Lexington County Board of Zoning Appeals' unanimous decision that the county zoning ordinance prohibits Appellant from operating a dog grooming business at her home. The appeals court found that the word kennel, as used in the Lexington County Zoning Ordinance for Resident Local 5 (RL5), included dog grooming. Since Appellant’s dwelling was zoned RL5 and the ordinance prohibited kennels in RL5, the appeals court upheld the circuit court’s decision.|
|Becker v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.||416 N.W.2d 906 (Wis.,1987)||
Motorist sued dog owner after he was injured in a car accident allegedly caused by dog. The Court of Appeals held that the “injury by dog” statute creates strict liability for any injury or damage caused by dog if owner was negligent (with public policy exceptions). Here, the dog owner was not strictly liable because he was not negligent when his dog escaped from its enclosure.
|Village of Carpentersville v. Fiala||425 N.E.2d 33 (Ill.App., 1981)||
In this Illinois case, the defendant, Joseph R. Fiala, appealed a violation of the Village Code of Carpentersville, which prohibited the ownership of more than two adult dogs at his single-family residence. In a hearing, one of defendant's neighbor's testified that the defendant was maintaining 15 large red dogs (Irish setters). The Illinois Appellate Court held that the village had statutory authority to enact any ordinance necessary for the promotion of health, safety and welfare of the community and that a municipality may also pass ordinances that "define, prevent, and abate nuisances." Further, the court also held that the village ordinance is not unconstitutional as violative of equal protection based on a classification between single-family residences and single-family units within multiple housing buildings, where such considerations of indoor and outdoor space, density, and proximity to others, noise levels, and structural differences, are rationally related to the object of the ordinance.
|Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue, Inc. v. Lira||447 S.W.3d 365 (Tex. App. 2014), reh'g overruled (Oct. 16, 2014)||A German Shepherd dog owned by the appellees escaped through an open garage door of the appellees' home. Animal control impounded the dog for violations of city ordinances. When the appellees did not redeem the dog, instead of being euthanized, animal control turned the dog over to a rescue society for adoption. The dog was then sterilized and micro chipped. After learning what happened, appellees made a request to transfer the dog to them. When they were refused, the appellees filed suit. The trial court ruled in favor of the appellees on their conversion cause of action and their requests for declaratory and injunctive relief, which ordered appellant to turn the dog over to the appellees. On appeal, the court held that since the appellees did not redeem the dog in compliance with city ordinances, they did not have an entitlement to the dog, which was required to establish a conversion claim. Further, since the rescue organization was a recognized city rescue partner, animal control could lawfully transfer the dog to the rescue organization. The court also held the ordinance setting forth an additional 30-day redemption period did not apply to owners. The appeals court therefore reversed the judgment of the trial court, rendered judgment that appellees take nothing, and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, including an appropriate order restoring possession of the dog to appellant.|
|Peoria County v. Capitelli||494 N.E.2d 155 (Ill.App. 3 Dist.,1986)||
This Illinois case concerns the appeal of a conviction for allowing a cat to run at large in violation of an ordinance enacted by the plaintiff, Peoria County. The defendant contends on appeal that the county as a non-home-rule unit of government lacked the authority to enact the ordinance. The court disagreed, finding the counties were given the express power to establish animal pounds and to dispose of stray animals pursuant to the provisions of the Impounding and Disposition of Stray Animals Act which concerns pet dogs and cats, and the Illinois Animal Control Act, which deals with stray animal control, rabies protection, liability for animal bites and related topics. More interesting is the dissent's position, which finds that the statute makes no mention of the power to regulate cats. Moreover, there can be no logical implication of authority to regulate cats running-at-large from the delegation of authority to regulate dogs running-at-large.
|City of Rolling Meadows v. Kyle||494 N.E.2d 766 (Ill.App. 1 Dist.,1986)||
In this Illinois case, the Plaintiff, City of Rolling Meadows, brought an action against defendant for keeping an undomesticated animal, a monkey, in her home in violation of a city ordinance. The lower court entered judgment in favor of plaintiff. At issue on appeal is the construction and application to be given the phrase “other than domesticated house pets” as set forth in the ordinance in question. The court was required to adopt the common and approved usage of the term 'domesticated.' The court concluded that the evidence presented established as a matter of law that Yondi is a domesticated animal. Thus, the trial court erred in finding defendant in violation of ordinance 4-28 because the monkey was a domesticated house pet.
|Panattieri v. City of New York||53 Misc. 3d 865, 37 N.Y.S.3d 431 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2016)||
Ceasar, a mixed breed dog, was seized by police after he killed another dog and injured the other dogs’ owner. Petitioners, Kristina & Douglas Panattieri, owned Ceasar and demanded his return to their custody. They also challenged the determination by Respondent, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), to execute Ceasar pursuant to the New York City Health Code (24 RCNY) § 161.07. The Petitioners argued that Ceasar’s execution would be unconstitutional under the City Code because it was preempted by the state statute, Agriculture & Markets Law § 123.The Supreme Court, New York County, denied their petition and held that the New York City Health Code was not preempted by the state statute. The Court reasoned that the Agriculture and Markets Law § 107(5), which governed licensing, identification, and control of dogs, expressly allowed municipalities to enact their own Codes governing dangerous dogs. However the City Codes were to incorporate standards that were as or more protective of public health and safety than those set forth in the state statute. The New York City Code met the requirement and was therefore not preempted by state law.
|Hoesch v. Broward County||53 So.3d 1177 (Fla.App. 4 Dist., 2011)||
A Broward County, Florida ordinance defines a dangerous dog as “any dog that . . . [h]as killed or caused the death of a domestic animal in one incident.” Plaintiff Brian Hoesch’s dog escaped from Hoesch’s backyard and attacked and killed a neighbor’s cat. Prior to this incident, the dog had never been declared “dangerous” by any governmental authority. Hoesch requested a hearing after Broward’s animal control division notified Hoesch of its intent to destroy his dog. After a judgment in favor of Broward County, Hoesch contends that both county ordinances conflict with state law, section 767.11(1)(b), which defines a “dangerous dog” as any dog that “[h]as more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal . . . .” The District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District, concluded “that Broward County ordinance sections 4-2(k)(2) and 4-12(j)(2) are null and void insofar as they conflict with state law.”
|State of Florida v. Peters||534 So.2d 760 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 1988).||This is an appeal from an order of the county court invalidating a City of North Miami ordinance regulating the ownership of pit bull dogs. The ordinance in question, City of North Miami Ordinance No. 422.5, regulates the ownership of pit bulls by requiring their owners to carry insurance or furnish other evidence of financial responsibility, register their pit bulls with the City, and confine the dogs indoors or in a locked pen. The court dismissed defendants claims that the ordinance violates equal protection and due process, and that the ordinance's definition of a pit bull is on its face unconstitutionally vague.|
|Settle v. Commonwealth||55 Va.App. 212, 685 S.E.2d 182 (Va.,2009)||
The defendant-appellant, Charles E. Settle, Jr., was convicted of two counts of inadequate care by owner of companion animals and one count of dog at large under a county ordinance, after Fauquier County Sherriff's officers were dispatched to his home on multiple occasions over the course of one calendar year in response to animal noise and health and safety complaints from his neighbors. Consequently, all of the affected dogs were seized from Settle and relocated to local animal shelters. The trial court also declared three of the animals to be dangerous dogs pursuant to another county ordinance. The Court of Appeals of Virginia held that: (1) because the forfeiture of dogs was a civil matter the Court of Appeals lacked subject matter jurisdiction and was not the proper forum to decide the case; (2) that Settle failed to join the County as an indispensible party in the notice of appeal from conviction for the county ordinance violation; and (3) that the evidence was sufficient to identify Settle as the owner of the neglected companion animals.
|Goodell v. Humboldt County||575 N.W.29 486 (Iowa 1998)||
The issue of county versus local control over livestock regulations came to a head when the Iowa Supreme Court invalidated a series of ordinances that had been enacted by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to add additional regulations to the livestock industry and to address problems created by confined animal feeding operations in the county. The court ruled that the ordinances were inconsistent with state law and invalid under the doctrine of implied preemption.
|Merced v. Kasson||577 F.3d 578 (C.A.5 (Tex.),2009)||
Plaintiff José Merced, a Santeria Oba Oriate, or priest, brought action against the City of Euless alleging that city ordinances prohibiting the keeping of animals for slaughter and the slaughtering of animals prevented him from performing animal sacrifices essential to Santeria religious practice. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled in favor of the city, but denied its request for attorney fees. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision in favor of the city and affirmed the denial of attorney fees. The court found that the city did not prove that the burden it placed on the plaintiff advanced a compelling interest and was the least restrictive means of doing so. In fact, the Court noted that prior to the ban, Merced had performed these sacrifices for sixteen years without creating health hazards or unduly harming any animals. The City's purported interest was further undermined by the fact that hunters are allowed to butcher dead animals at their homes. Thus, Euless failed to assert a compelling governmental interest in support of its ordinances that burden Merced's religious conduct.
|Zageris v. Whitehall||594 N.E.2d 129 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.,1991)||
The single-family residence property owner and owner of dogs kept on property filed suit for declaratory judgment, petition for habeas corpus, and civil rights claims against city based on city's enforcement of ordinance prohibiting number of dogs on property. He then appealed the ruling in favor for the city. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that the local ordinance limiting number of dogs on single family property was a nuisance and not zoning measure and consequently a valid exercise of city's police power.
|State v. Beckert||61 A.2d 213 (N.J. 1948)||
This New Jersey case involved an appeal of a borough ordinance that limited ownership to three licensed dogs. The prosecutrix was found to have been keeping 39 dogs. The court found that she presented no evidence that she was operating a kennel, nor was the ordinance unreasonable in its restriction.
|State v. Johnson||628 P.2d 789 (Or. 1981)||
A defendant was convicted in district court of violating a city ordinance by keeping a vicious dog. The Court of Appeals held that the word "trespasser" in the city ordinance was to be used in its ordinary context, that a child who rode his bicycle onto the defendant's driveway was a trespasser, that there were no issues of consent involved, and that the trespasser exception applied even to areas on the defendant's property where the dog was not under the owner's control.
|Rhoades v. City of Battle Ground||63 P.3d 142 (Wash. 2002)||
Exotic pet owners challenged on equal protection grounds an ordinance that banned exotic pets, yet allowed dangerous dogs under certain conditions. The court, in upholding the ordinance, found a rational relationship between the regulation and the public interest in preventing exotic pet attacks.
|City of Marion v. Schoenwald||631 N.W.2d 213 (S.D.,2001)||
To keep excessive numbers of large dogs from becoming a public nuisance, the City of Marion, South Dakota passed an ordinance that, among other things, limited households to four dogs, only two of which could weigh over 25 pounds. Schoenwald owned three dogs: one shepherd-collie mix weighing 75 pounds and two golden retrievers, weighing 30 pounds and 20 pounds. She was then notified that by housing three dogs weighing over 25 pounds she was in violation of the ordinance. She failed to comply with the City's order to remove one dog and was issued a citation. The Supreme Court reversed the lower court's ruling in Schoenwald's favor and found that South Dakota law permits municipalities broad power to regulate the keeping of dogs; thus the weight limitation included in the City's comprehensive pet ordinance was within its authority.
|Pless v. State||633 S.E.2d 340 (Ga. App., 2006)||In this Georgia case, the defendant was convicted by a jury in the trial court of two counts of failure to keep an animal under restraint and one count of allowing an animal to become a public nuisance. Defendant appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. The appellate court found that the evidence showed that in the months prior to the July 14 and August 1 incidents, Pless's dogs were repeatedly found loose in neighbors' yards and garages. Accordingly, evidence supported the conviction on the charge of allowing an animal to become a public nuisance under § 3-4-7(5). ("Public nuisance" is defined, among other things, as any animal which "[i]s found repeatedly at large."). On certiorari review, the Georgia Supreme Court in State v. Pless, 646 S.E.2d 202 (Ga. 2007) reversed judgment of Pless v. State, 633 S.E.2d 340 (Ga. App. 2006), and the case was then sent to Pless v. State, 648 S.E.2d 752 (Ga. App. 2007) on remand.|