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Titlesort ascending Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
Frost v. City of Sioux City, Iowa Slip Copy, 2017 WL 4126986 (N.D. Iowa, 2017) 2017 WL 4126986 In this case, the City of Sioux City had adopted a local ordinance that made it "unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport or sell within the City ... any pit bull." The ordinance goes on further to define pit bulls based on appearance and certain listed characteristics. Plaintiffs alleged that the ordinance is unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because it: (1) is unconstitutionally vague; (2) violates their rights under the equal protection clause; and (3) violates their rights under the due process clause, both in substance and procedure. Here, the district court found that the due process and equal protection claims survived the defendant's motion to dismiss, but found that the ordinance was not facially unconstitutionally vague. As a result, defendants' Motion to Dismiss was DENIED in part and GRANTED in part. Plaintiffs' claim that the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague was DISMISSED, and plaintiffs may proceed with their remaining equal protection clause and due process clause claims. Case
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.

Case
Dias v. City and County of Denver 567 F.3d 1169 (C.A.10 (Colo.),2009) 2009 WL 1490359 (C.A.10 (Colo.))

The Tenth Circuit took up a challenge to Denver's breed-specific ban against pitbull dogs. The plaintiffs, former residents of Denver, contended the ban is unconstitutionally vague on its face and deprives them of substantive due process. The district court dismissed both claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) before plaintiffs presented evidence to support their claims. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the district court erred by prematurely dismissing the case at the 12(b)(6) stage. The Tenth Circuit agreed in part, finding that while the plaintiffs lack standing to seek prospective relief for either claim because they have not shown a credible threat of future prosecution, taking the factual allegations in the complaint as true the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the pit bull ban is not rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

Case
DeVaul v. Carvigo Inc. 526 N.Y.S.2d 483 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.,1988) 138 A.D.2d 669 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.,1988)

This New York case involved a dog bite victim who brought an action against the owner to recover for personal injuries. The Supreme Court, Nassau County entered judgment in favor of owner. On appeal with the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, the court held that the viciousness of German shepherd dogs was not appropriate subject of judicial notice. The court found that there is no authority for the proposition that judicial notice should be taken "as to the ferocity of any particular type of domestic animal."

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
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
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
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
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
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

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