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Titlesort descending Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
American Dog Owners Ass'n v. City of Yakima 777 P.2d 1046 (Wash.1989) 113 Wash.2d 213 (Wash.1989)
In this Washington case, plaintiff brought suit against the City of Yakima challenging an ordinance that banned “pit bulls” dogs. The Superior Court, Yakima County, granted city's motion for summary judgment, and plaintiffs appealed. Plaintiffs first argued that the ordinance is vague because a person of ordinary intelligence cannot tell what is prohibited.  The Supreme Court disagreed, finding that the City used adequate standards for identification in the professional standards and illustrations to show that a particular dog meets the professional standard. Thus, the Court found that the ordinance gave sufficient notice of what was conduct prohibited. Summary judgment for the City was affirmed.
Case
American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. City of Lynn 404 Mass. 73, 533 N.E.2d 642 (Mass.,1989)

This is an appeal by American Dog Owners Association from a judgment upholding two of three city of Lynn ordinances which restrict ownership of certain dogs within the city limits. The lower court found that one of three animal control ordinances regulating “pit bulls” was unconstitutional. First, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the first two ordinances were repealed by passage of third which was intended to treat subject of pit bulls comprehensively. However, the court found that the third ordinance which attempted to define pit bull by breed was unconstitutionally vague. The court stated that, "if identification by breed name does not provide sufficient ascertainable standards for enforcement, then the “definition” of “Pit Bull” in the fourth ordinance, which is devoid of any reference to a particular breed, but relies instead on the even less clear 'common understanding and usage' of the term 'Pit Bull,' is not sufficiently definite to meet due process requirements."

Case
American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Dade County, Fla. 728 F.Supp. 1533 (S.D.Fla.,1989)

Associations of dog owners sued Dade, County, Florida seeking declaratory judgment that an ordinance that regulated “pit bull” dogs was unconstitutionally vague. Plaintiffs contend that there is no such breed as a pit bull, but rather a three breeds that this ordinance has mistakenly lumped together. The District Court held that ordinance sufficiently defined “pit bull” dogs by specifically referencing three breeds recognized by kennel clubs, including a description of the characteristics of such dogs, and provided a mechanism for verification of whether a particular dog was included. The uncontradicted testimony of the various veterinarians reflected that most dog owners know the breed of their dog and that most dog owners look for and select a dog of a particular breed.

Case
Bess v. Bracken County Fiscal Court 210 S.W.3d 177 (Ky.App.,2006)

The primary issue in this Kentucky case is whether a Bracken County ordinance which bans the possession of pit bull terriers is inconsistent with the state law that addresses dangerous dogs. The lower court denied the plaintiff's motion and dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the ban of breed was a legitimate exercise of police power and did not deny dog owners procedural due process. Further, the ordinance did not infringe on constitutional right to travel because traveling with a pet is not a fundamental right and the ordinance does not treat residents and non-residents differently.

Case
Bowden v. Monroe County Commission 800 S.E.2d 252 (W. Va. May 18, 2017) 239 W. Va. 214, 2017 WL 2224052 (W. Va. May 18, 2017) The Plaintiff, as administratrix of the estate of her late husband, filed a complaint after he was attacked and killed by American Pit Bull Terriers while taking a walk near his home. The Plaintiff filed against the Defendants, Monroe County, the County Dog Warden Ms. Green, and other defendants, alleging, negligence in performing their statutory duties by allowing vicious dogs to remain at large, and wrongful death. The Plaintiff also sought punitive damages. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and asserted a defense based upon the public duty doctrine. The Circuit Court, Monroe County, granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. The Plaintiff appealed. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia reversed the Circuit Court and remanded. The Supreme Court held that genuine issues of material fact existed for determining whether a special relationship existed between the county and the victim such as whether: (1) the dog warden assumed an affirmative duty to act on the victim's behalf, (2) the dog warden was aware that inaction could lead to harm, (3) the dog warden had direct contact with the victim's wife regarding vicious nature of dogs; and (4) the victim's wife justifiably relied on assurances from dog warden. Case
Carter v. Metro North Associates 255 A.D.2d 251, 1998 N.Y. Slip Op. 10266 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,1998) 255 A.D.2d 251, 1998 N.Y. Slip Op. 10266 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,1998)

In this New York case, a tenant sued his landlords for injuries after he was bitten on face by pit bull owned by another tenant. The lower court denied the landlords' motion for summary judgment and granted partial summary judgment for tenant on issue of liability. On appeal, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division held that the trial court erroneously took judicial notice of vicious nature of breed of pit bulls as a whole. In fact, the court found that the IAS court "erred in circumventing the requirement for evidence concerning the particular animal by purporting to take judicial notice of the vicious nature of the breed as a whole." Thus, the landlords were not strictly liable for the tenant's injuries where there was no evidence indicating that the dog had ever attacked any other person or previously displayed any vicious behavior.

Case
Carter v. Metro North Assocs. 680 N.Y.S.2d 239, 240 (N.Y.App.Div.1998) 255 A.D.2d 251 (N.Y.App.Div.1998) In this case, a tenant sued her landlord for injuries sustained when the tenant was bitten on the face by a pit bull owned by another tenant. The court held that before a pet owner, or the landlord of the building in which the pet lives, may be held strictly liable for an injury inflicted by the animal, the plaintiff must establish both (1) that the animal had vicious propensities and (2) that the defendant knew or should have known of the animal's propensities. In this case, there was no evidence that the pit bull had vicious propensities, nor did any of the evidence support a finding that the landlord had, or should have had, knowledge of any such propensities. The appellate court found the lower court erred when it took "judicial notice of the vicious nature of the breed as a whole." The court noted that there are alternate opinions and evidence that preclude taking judicial notice that pit bulls are inherently vicious as a breed. The trial court order was reversed, judgment for plaintiff vacated, and complaint dismissed. Case
City of Cleveland v. Lupica 2004 WL 2340639 (Ohio, 2004)

Defendant plead no contest to failure to confine and insure her dog after her pit bull attacked a mail carrier.  The trial court's decision to have the dog turned over to the city and destroyed was reversed.  The Court of Appeals found Defendant's no contest plea was not entered knowingly, intelligently or voluntarily.

Case
City of Richardson v. Responsible Dog Owners of Texas 794 S.W.2d 17 (Tex. 1990).

City's animal control ordinance banning the keeping of pit bulls was not preempted by state Penal Code provisions governing the keeping of vicious dogs.

Case
Colorado Dog Fanciers v. City and County of Denver 820 P.2d 644 (Colo. 1991) The plaintiffs, dog owners and related canine and humane associations (dog owners), filed a complaint in the Denver District Court against the defendant, City and County of Denver (city), seeking both a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of the "Pit Bulls Prohibited" ordinance, Denver, Colo., Rev.Mun.Code § 8-55 (1989), and injunctive relief to prevent enforcement.  The dog owners in this case claim the ordinance is unconstitutional, violating their rights to procedural and substantive due process and equal protection, is unconstitutionally vague, and constitutes a taking of private property. Case

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