Monday, October 19, 2009
Cold Weather Tips for Pet Owners
It's that time of year again when water bowls left outside can fill with autumn leaves or freeze. Doghouses need "winterizing," cleaning and replacing bedding to stave off the chill of autumn and winter. Doghouses should be up off the ground with at least a pallet/skid between the floor of the doghouse and the cold/damp/frozen ground.
Everyone wants a warm place to sleep in wintertime, a place that's cozy, comfy and not drafty
Shorthaired dogs may need extra calories if they spend much time outdoors, because they do not have the thick winter coats of Siberian huskies or Alaskan Malamutes.
Water should be clean, available and in liquid form
Water bowls, unless heated, need to be monitored regularly. When temperatures dip below freezing -- and when they stay that way more often than not -- your outside pets need water that is not rimmed with ice or frozen solid. Eating snow lowers your pet's core temperature. Yes, animals with hair can and do freeze to death.
When snow and ice become a factor, check things like doggie paws (for ice and/or snow that can pack in between the pads and make your dog sore and/or lame). Older and/or less active dogs should receive correspondingly more warm bedding and "care checks."
For those with outside cats -- even though some cats tend to be more self-sufficient than most dogs -- kittens and elderly cats need more groceries and a supply of non-frozen water. A place 'out of the weather' that's kept just for them -- a box with nice, warm bedding -- is appreciated.
For those great-hearted folks that check on and care for homeless dogs and/or cats, a huge thank you! This is the time of year when unplanned, unwanted litters of puppies and kittens suffer most from the elements -- and why spaying/neutering is a lifesaver. Eartips can get frostbitten; a minor summer cold can spell death in the winter months.
Help make this winter an enjoyable, healthy one for the dogs and cats that look to you for their needs!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
(Most recent update: January 6, 2010, to reflect the Columbiana County dog warden's new last name and new email address email@example.com and Pickaway County's new email address firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ohio County Dog Wardens / Dog Wardens in Ohio, by County / List of Ohio Dog Wardens, by County
Adams County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Paul Hughes, 110 West Main Street, West Union, Ohio 45693. Phone: 937-544-2431. Fax: 937-544-6201. Email: email@example.com Kennel Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/adams.html
Allen County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Julie Shellhammer, 1165 Seriff Road, Lima, Ohio 45805. Phone: 419-223-8528 Fax: 419-224-2954 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.co.allen.oh.us/dog_ser.php http://www.co.allen.oh.us/dog.php
Ashland County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Tom Kosht, 1710 Garfield Avenue, Ashland, Ohio 44805. Phone: 419-289-1455 Fax: 419-281-6840 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.ashlandcounty.org/auditor/dog.htm Website: http://www.ashlandcounty.org/animalshelter/
Ashtabula County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Tabitha Hazeltine, 25 West Jefferson Street, Jefferson, Ohio 44047. Phone: 440-576-6538 Fax: 440-576-2344 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.ashtabulacountyauditor.org/
Athens County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Jeff Koons, P.O. Box 114, Chauncey, Ohio 45719. Phone: 740-593-5415 Fax: 740-797-8379 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://220.127.116.11/dog_license.asp and http://www.athenscountygovernment.com/acds/
Auglaize County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Russ Bailey, 209 South Blackhoof Street, Wapakoneta, Ohio 45895. Phone: 419-302-8303 Fax: 419-739-6711 Email: email@example.com Websites: http://www.auglaizecounty.org/resources/dog-warden and Current Dog Listings: http://www2.auglaizecounty.org/current-listings (must allow pop-ups to click on photos to enlarge) and Dog Adoption: http://www2.auglaizecounty.org/adoptions and Missing A Dog? http://www2.auglaizecounty.org/missing-a-dog and More Dog Tag Information (outstanding questions and answers relating to dog tags and licensing!): http://www2.auglaizecounty.org/elected-officials/Auditor/dog_tags
Belmont County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Verna Painter 45244 National Road West, St. Clairsville, Ohio 45121. Phone: 740-695-4708 Fax: 740-695-6017 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.belmontcountyohio.org/license.htm and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH216.html
Brown County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Reggie McKenzie, 800 Mt. Orab Pike, Suite 101, Georgetown, Ohio 45121. Phone: 937-378-3457 Fax: 937-378-2687 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.bright.net/~bcas/
Butler County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Julie Holmes, 123 North 3rd Street, Hamilton, Ohio 45011. Phone: 513-785-6542 Fax: 513-785-6545 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.butlercountyohio.org/animalControl and http://www.butlercountyauditor.org/pdf/dl_application.pdf
Carroll County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Kenneth Ohler, 119 Public Square, Carrolton, Ohio 44615. Phone: 330-627-4244 Fax: 330-627-6656 Email: email@example.com Website: http://auditor.carrollcountyohio.net/dogtag.htm
Champaign County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Mandy Randall, 1512 U.S. Route 68 South, Urbana, Ohio 43078. Phone: 937-484-1613 Fax: 937-484-1609 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website:A message from Champaign County Auditor Bonnie Warman: "Dear Dog Owner, It is up to you to keep your dog healthy, happy, and safe. Take your dog to a veterinarian. Protect your pet from deadly contagious diseases by simple inoculations and regular checkups. Consider spaying and neutering to prevent the tragedy of unwanted puppies and to protect your pet from health problems. Give your dog regular exercise. A daily brisk walk on a leash can prevent many behavioral problems like chewing, barking, and digging. Help your dog burn up calories and energy in a healthy way. Feed your dog a balanced diet of good food and fresh water. Your dog can't just go fix a snack. You are his chef and server. License your dog. Not only is it the law, but also a Champaign County dog license automatically registers your dog for a free trip home if he gets lost. Remember, call 937-484-1600 if you find a lost dog!" http://co.champaign.oh.us/auditor/html/dog_license.html
Clark County, Ohio, Dog Warden: James Straley, 5201 Urbana Road, Springfield, Ohio 45503. Phone: 937-399-2917 Fax: 937-399-2936 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.clarkhumane.org/Staff.html and http://www.clarkhumane.org/Contact.html
Clermont County, Ohio, Dog Warden (Chief Animal Control Officer / Humane Agent): Debra L. Wood, Clermont County Humane Society, 4025 Filager Road, Batavia, Ohio 45103. Phone: 513-732-8854 Fax: 513-732-8855 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: http://www.clermontcountyanimalshelter.com/ and http://www.clermontauditor.org/pdf/ApplicationfortheRegistrationofDogfortheYear.pdf “Save a life: Adopt a Shelter Pet”
Clinton County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Danny DeLawder, 1330 Fife Avenue, Wilmington, Ohio 45177. Phone: 937-382-8388 Fax: 937-382-5678 Email: N/A Website: http://clintonoh.ddti.net/auditor/dog_license.asp
Columbiana County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Dawn Croft, 8455 County Home Road, Lisbon, Ohio 44432. Phone: 330-424-6663 Fax: 330-424-5458 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH417.html
Coshocton County, Ohio, Dog Wardens: Steve Cox and (Assistant Dog Warden) Russell “Rusty” Dreagr, 401 1/2 Main Street, Coshoction, Ohio 43812. Phone: 740-295-0026 Fax: 740-622-4917 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Websites: http://www.coshoctoncounty.net/agency/dogwarden/
Crawford County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Linda Armour, 112 East Mansfield Street, Suite 304, Bucyrus, Ohio 44820. Phone: 419-562-4993 Fax 419-562-3491 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.crawford-co.org/auditor/Dog_Tags/Dog_Application/dog_application.html and http://www.crawford-co.org/Commissioners/Dog_Warden/dog_warden.html "Dogs are housed at the Humane Society Serving Crawford County: 419-562-9149."
Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Dog Warden: (to be announced) business administrator Leslie DeSouza 216-525-4813 email@example.com Middleburg Heights Dog Warden: Dennis Eck 216-401-5502 (email?) 9500 Sweet Valley, Valley View, Ohio 44125. Phone: 216-525-7877 Fax: 216-901-0169 Email: Website: https://auditor.cuyahogacounty.us/doglicense/dogfaq.htm and http://www.doglicense.com/counties/cuyahoga/index.html
Darke County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Duane Sanning, 5066 County Home Road, Greenville, Ohio 45331. Phone: 937-547-1645 Fax: 937-548-7946 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.darkecountyanimalshelter.com/index.php
Defiance County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Randy W. Vogel, 500 Court Street, Suite D, Defiance, Ohio 43512. Phone: 419-784-2335 Fax: 419-784-3268 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.defiance-county.com/auditor15.html and http://www.defiance-county.com/humaneagent.html
Delaware County, Ohio, Dog Warden: 10 Court Street, 2nd Floor, Delaware, Ohio 43015-1701. Phone: 740-368-1915 Fax: 740-368-1919 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: https://secure.co.delaware.oh.us/dogtagrenew.htm and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH482.html
Erie County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Barb Knapp, 2900 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky, Ohio 44870. Phone: 419-627-7607 Fax: 419-624-6441 Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.erie.iviewtaxmaps.com/dog_license.asp and http://www.erie-county-ohio.net/dogwarden/dogwarden.htm
Fairfield County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Mike Miller, 1715 Granville Pike, Lancaster, Ohio 43130. Phone: 740-653-4582 Fax: 740-681-7457 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.co.fairfield.oh.us/dog/index.htm
Fayette County, Ohio, Dog Wardens: Bob Bushey and Savannah Poole, 1550 Robinson Road, Washington Court House, Ohio 43160. Phone: 740-335-6630 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://fayette-co-oh.com/Dogward/index.html
Franklin County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Don Winstel, Interim Director, and Joe C. Rock, Assistant Director, 1731 Alum Creek Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43207. Phone: 614-462-5606 or 614-462-4361 or 614-462-6699 Fax: 614-462-6658 Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: http://www.franklincountydogs.com/ and http://www.co.franklin.oh.us/auditor/Consumer/dogs/welcome.shtm and http://www.co.franklin.oh.us/commissioners/ancl/
Fulton County, Ohio, Dog Wardens: Peter Skeldon and Brian Banister, 9200 County Road 14, Wauseon, Ohio 43567. Phone: 419-337-9219 Fax: 419-337-9619 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.fultoncountyoh.com/elected_officials/auditor/pdf_files/dog_letter_app.pdf Hours: Monday - Saturday: 8-10 AM
Gallia County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Jean Daniels, 186 Shawnee Lane, Gallipolis, Ohio 45631. Phone: 740-441-0207 or 740-339-2986 (cell) Fax: 740-441-0207 (call first so fax machine can be turned on) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Cat shelter in Gallia County: The Perennial Cat 740-645-7275 (cell; leave message)
Geauga County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Matthew M. Granito, 12513 Merritt Road, Chardon, Ohio 44024-1293. Phone: 440-279-2181 Fax: 440-286-8136 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: http://www.auditor.co.geauga.oh.us/dog/ and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH272.html
Greene County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Harold Brown, 641 Dayton-Xenia Road, Xenia, Ohio 45385. Phone: 937-562-7400 Fax: 937-562-7801 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.co.greene.oh.us/auditor/dogtag.htm and http://www.co.greene.oh.us/animal/adopt.htm
Guernsey County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Dave Robinson, 62824 Bennett Avenue, Cambridge, Ohio 43725-9490. Phone: 740-432-2219 Fax: 740-432-2219 (same as phone number; call first so they can switch on the fax machine) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamilton County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Harold Dates, 3949 Colerain Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio 45223. Phone: 513-541-6100 and 513-946-3647 (24-hour hotline for found dogs only that are wearing Hamilton County tags) Fax: 513-542-7722. Email: email@example.com Websites: http://www.hamiltoncountyauditor.org/pdf/dogform.pdf (4-page form); http://www.doglicense.com/counties/hamilton/index.html (Hamilton County Dog License Program) and http://www.hamiltoncountyauditor.org/textonly/dogs.asp (much information; many questions answered)http://www.hamiltoncountyauditor.org/pdf/dogform.pdf http://www.doglicense.com/counties/hamilton/index.html513-946-4106
Hancock County, Ohio, Dog Wardens: Suzie Ryan and Assistant Dana Berger, 4550 Fostoria Avenue, Findlay, Ohio 45840. Phone: 419-423-1664 Fax: 419-423-9131 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: http://auditor.co.hancock.oh.us/index2.htm and http://auditor.co.hancock.oh.us/dog.htm (dog license information and application) and http://auditor.co.hancock.oh.us/doglicenseapp.pdf (1-page printable dog license application) http://www.hancockhumanesociety.com and http://www.hancockhumanesociety.com/humane/about-us.htm
Hardin County, Ohio, Acting Dog Warden: Brian Woodard; Deputy Dog Warden Tammy Ervin, 49 Jones Road, Kenton, Ohio 43326. Phone: 419-674-2209 Fax: 419-673-8720 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.co.hardin.oh.us/Calendar/Dog_Tags/dog_tags.html and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH396.html Hours: 8-5 Monday through Friday; 8:30-10:30 AM Saturday; closed Sunday.
Harrison County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Carl Stewart, 100 West Market, Cadiz, Ohio 43907. Phone: 740-942-4080 Fax: 740-942-4090 Email: N/A Website: N/A
Henry County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Beth Spurgeon, 1853 Oakwood, Napoleon, Ohio 43545. Phone: 419-599-9233 Fax: 419-592-4016 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: http://www.henrycountyohio.com/dog.htm and http://www.co.henry.oh.us/Dog_Tags/dog_tags.html Hours: 8 AM - 4:30 PM Monday through Friday; closed weekends and legal holidays.
Highland County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Richard Fulkerson, 114 Governor Foraker Place, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. Phone: 937-393-8191 Fax: 937-393-5850 Email: email@example.com
Hocking County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Don Kiger 120 Homer Avenue, Logan, Ohio 43138. Phone: 740-385-2319 Fax: 740-385-1105 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Note: This is a new email address as of August 25, 2009.) Website: http://www.co.hocking.oh.us/auditor/Calendar/Dog_Tags/dog_tags.html
Holmes County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Reagan Tetreault 2 Court Street, Suite 10, Millersburg, Ohio 44654. Phone: 330-674-6301 Fax: 330-674-1009 Email: email@example.com
Huron County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Bill Duncan, 130 Shady Lane Drive, Building E, Norwalk, Ohio 44857. Phone: 419-668-9773 Fax: 419-663-4908. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH718.html
Jackson County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Roy Williams, 248 Reservoir Road, Jackson, Ohio 45640 Phone: 740-286-7262 Fax: 740-286-4061 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH349.html
Jefferson County, Ohio, Dog Warden: William D. Bell, 3463 County Road 26, Wintersville, Ohio 43953. Phone: 740-264-6888 or 740-266-6476 Fax: 740-283-8599 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.doglicense.com/counties/jefferson/index.html
Knox County, Ohio, Dog Warden / Animal Shelter: Roger Reed, 285 Columbus Road, Mt. Vernon, Ohio 43050. Phone: 740-393-6713 Fax: 740-393-2967 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.knoxcountyohio.org/offices/Auditor.htm and http://www.knoxhumanesociety.org/adoptdogs.shtml
Lake County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Rodney A. Shelton, 2600 North Ridge Road, Painesville, Ohio 44077. Phone: 440-350-2640 Fax: 440-340-2600 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Website: http://www.lakecountyohio.gov/Default.aspx?alias=www.lakecountyohio.gov/dogs
Lawrence County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Bill Click, 1302 Adams Lane, Ironton, Ohio 45638. Phone: 740-533-1736 Fax: 740-533-1736 Email: N/A Website: N/A “Our shelter takes in over 2,000 homeless, abandoned or unwanted dogs each year. We also accept kittens and cats. You can help stop the pet overpopulation tragedy. Please spay or neuter your pets. Here are some tips that will help enable dogs and humans to live together harmoniously: Always keep your dog on a leash when you are out for a walk. When you are walking your dog, keep him/her close to you and steer clear of people walking, running, skating, or biking. Stoop and scoop after your dog, and whatever you do, don’t let your dog relieve itself on the neighbor’s lawn. When you are on your own property, keep your dog in the house, in a fenced-in yard or tie him/her up if you can’t supervise it constantly. Never underestimate your dog’s potential for aggressiveness. Owners of dogs that growl and bare their teeth often say, "Don’t worry; he won’t bite." Be careful! An accident can happen very quickly, so guard against those ‘first-time dog bites.’ Bring your dog indoors if it has been left alone in the yard and is barking. Don’t leave your dog outdoors if you know that it is going to bark all day. Never leave your dog under the supervision of a young child, especially those who are not a part of the family. We reach out to all the tri-state area: Lawrence, Gallia, Jackson, and Scioto counties; the Ironton, Ohio, area, as well as Coal Grove, South Point, Chesapeake, Proctorville, and Portsmouth, Ohio. In Kentucky: Boyd and Greenup counties, as well as the Ashland, Kentucky, area, and Greenup, Russell, Flatwoods, and Cattletsburg. In West Virginia: Cabell and Wayne counties and the Huntington, West Virginia, area.” http://web.archive.org/web/20020608112139/http://www.ddrt.net/shelterindex.htm and http://web.archive.org/web/20020609025337/www.ddrt.net/shelterhealthcats.htm (great cat health tips!)
Licking County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Jon Luzio, 544 Dog Leg Road, Health, Ohio 43056. Phone: 740-349-6562 Fax: 740-323-0126 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: N/A Within the Newark city limits: Newark city dog warden: Toby Wills: 740-670-7277.
Logan County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Benji Avila, 284 County Road 32, South Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311. Phone: 937-599-7231. If it is about a dog within the city limits of Bellfontaine, call: 937-593-4277 Fax: 937-592-5011. Email: email@example.com Websites: http://www.co.logan.oh.us/auditor/dog_lic.htm Printable Dog Tag Form: http://www.co.logan.oh.us/auditor/Dog_Tag_From.htm
Lorain County, Ohio, Dog Warden: John A. “Jack” Szlempa, Sr., 301 Hadaway Street Elyria, Ohio 44035. Phone: 440-326-5995 Fax: 440-326-5999 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.loraincounty.com/auditor/dog-licenses/ and http://www.loraincounty.us/dogs
Lucas County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Thomas G. Skeldon, 410 South Erie Street, Toledo, Ohio 43609. Phone: 419-213-2800 Fax: 419-213-2803 or Fax: 419-255-6141 Email: email@example.com Websites: http://www.co.lucas.oh.us/index.aspx?nid=944 "Overview: The Lucas County Dog Warden Department is a law enforcement agency enforcing Ohio laws that protect the public from canine-related problems. Our mission is, first and foremost, public safety. As a part of that mission, we endeavor to significantly reduce or eliminate the stray dog population and to make dog owners responsible for their pets." and http://www.co.lucas.oh.us/index.aspx?NID=951 Responsibilities: Overview: “The Lucas County Dog Warden Department will: Strive to license all dogs over three months of age in Lucas County and to see that licensed dogs always wear their current tags. Attempt to return all loose roaming dogs to responsible owners and educate those owners in their responsibilities and methods of compliance with their unique pets to prevent future problems. Treat people with whom we come in contact with respect and consideration; understanding that to some a pet is like a family member and its loss can be very painful and emotional. Treat all impounded animals humanely and kindly as it is their owners’ neglect, ignorance, or the product of a poor match of personalities that brought them to the pound. Be professional in our dealings with the public and be respectful of their rights and concerns. Strive to adopt all unclaimed adoptable dogs out to caring, committed, responsible families. For their protection, we will make every attempt to make available for adoption only dogs that are of stable temperament and safe around people and to match the owner to the dog to create a lasting friendship between owner and dog. In the event that an impounded dog is unsafe around people or unsound in health, or for some reason not adoptable, make a decision with wisdom, training, and compassion, to humanely euthanize the animal and accept the fact that this must happen to some.” and http://www.co.lucas.oh.us/index.aspx?nid=954 (licensing your dog) and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH31.html and “Do you take cats? No, the Lucas County Dog Warden does not accept cats, nor do we pick them up. Due to health concerns, we are not permitted to have cats here in our facility. If you have a stray cat, please call one of the animal shelters in the area. What should I do if my dog is missing? If you have a missing dog, please come to the Dog Warden’s office to walk through our kennel to see if your dog has been picked up. Due to the volume of dogs picked up and the variety of breeds, our office staff will not be able to tell you if your dog has been impounded. You may be required to show a valid driver’s license or state-issued picture ID in some cases. After-hours, we only respond to police calls, so if your dog were lost in the evening, it may still be at the pound. When does my dog have to have a dog license? In the State of Ohio, all dogs over three months of age are required to have a dog license.” http://www.co.lucas.oh.us/FAQ.ASPx?QID=151
Madison County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Gary Kronk, P.O. Box 558, London, Ohio. Phone: 740-845-1749. Fax: 740-852-7125. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: http://www.madisonsheriff.org/dog%20warden.htm and http://www.madisonsheriff.org/report_dog_abuse.htm (to report dog abuse; website form; may remain anonymous) and http://www.co.madison.oh.us/10901.html and http://madisonoh.ddti.net/dogtagsearch/ and the Humane Society of Madison County (HSMC), 1357 State Route 38 SE, London, Ohio 43140. Phone: 740-852-7387 Fax: N/A Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.hsmcohio.com Hours: Noon-5 PM Monday-Saturday; closed Sundays and holidays.
Mahoning County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Mike Fox, 589 Industrial Road, Youngstown, Ohio 44509. Phone: 330-740-2205 Fax: 330-740-2499 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.doglicense.com/counties/mahoning/licenseappl.html and http://www.doglicense.com/counties/mahoning/index.html
Marion County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Jane Watts, 2252 Richland Road, Marion, Ohio 43302. Phone: 740-386-6150 Fax: 740-386-6619 Email: N/A Website: http://www.co.marion.oh.us/auditor/dogtags.htm and http://www.mariononline.com/dogs/index.htm
Medina County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Del Saffle, 6334 Deerview Lane, Medina, Ohio 44256. Phone: 330-725-9121 Fax: 330-723-9554 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.co.medina.oh.us/animal/animal.htm and http://www.medinacountyauditor.org/dog_buytags.htm
Meigs County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Thomas Proffitt, 41790 Fairgrounds Road, Pomeroy, Ohio 45769. Phone: 740-992-3779 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/meigsdogs.html
Mercer County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Thomas Powell, 7009 State Route 49, Celina, Ohio 45822. Phone: 419-942-1550 Fax: N/A Email: N/A Website: http://www.mercercountyohio.org/dogpound/dog.htm
Miami County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Patricia Armstrong, 201 West Main Street, Troy, Ohio 45373. Phone: 937-332-6919 Fax: 937-332-7060 Email: email@example.com
Monroe County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Ronda Piatt, 47137 State Route 26, Woodsfield, Ohio 43793. Phone: 740-472-0300 Fax: 740-472-0300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH283.html
Montgomery County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Mark Kumpf, 6790 Webster Street, Dayton, Ohio 45414. Phone: 937-898-4457 Fax: 937-454-8139 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.mcohio.org/revize/montgomery/government/auditor/dog_licenses.html and http://www.mcohio.org/animalshelter/index.html
Morgan County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Becky Thompson, 155 East Main Street, Room 216, McConnellsville, Ohio 43756. Phone: 740-962-6424 or 740-962-3183 (Morgan County Commissioners) Fax: 740-962-2014 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: N/A
Morrow County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Sarina Atwell, 80 North Walnut Street, Suite A, Mt. Gilead, Ohio 43338. Phone: 419-946-1747 Fax: 419-947-1860 Email: email@example.com Website: http://co.morrow.oh.us/dog_license.asp and http://www.morrowcounty.info/DogWarden/website.htm
Muskingum County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Bryan Catlin, 1500 Newark Road, Zanesville, Ohio 43701. Phone: 740-453-0273 Fax: 740-455-3785 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.muskingumcountyauditor.org/location.asp and http://dogpound.muskingumcounty.org/
Noble County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Chuck Augenstein, 18259 County Road 40, Dudley Road, Caldwell, Ohio 43724. Phone: 740-732-7881 Fax: 740-732-5702 Email: N/A Website: N/A
Ottawa County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Jolynn Hetrick, 8400 West State Route 163, Oak Harber, Ohio 43449. Phone: 419-898-1368 Fax: 419-898-2056 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.petfinder.com/oh504.html
Paulding County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Mandy Lichty, 115 North Williams Street, Paulding, Ohio 45879. Phone: 419-399-9728 Fax: 419-399-5263 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH709.html Adoption Hours are from 3 to 5 PM Thursdays or by appointment.
Perry County, Ohio, Dog Wardens: Dave F. Elekes and Matt Everett, 1650 Commerce Drive, New Lexington, Ohio 43764. Phone: 740-342-3795 Fax: 740-342-9052. Email: email@example.com Websites: http://www.adoptapet.com/adoption_rescue/19768.html and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH260.html
Pickaway County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Tammy Fee, 21253 Ringgold Southern Road, Circleville, Ohio 43113. Phone: 740-474-3741 Fax: 740-474-6322 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: N/A
Pike County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Randy Mustard, 2575 Alma Omega Road, Waverly, Ohio 45690. Phone: 740-947-5996 Fax: 740-947-5065. Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH397.html
Portage County, Ohio, Dog Warden: David McIntyre, 8120 Infirmary Road, Ravenna, Ohio 44266. Phone: 330-297-6924 Emergency/After Hours Phone (Portage County Sheriff: 330-296-5100) Fax: 330-298-2053 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites: http://www.co.portage.oh.us/dogwarden.htm and http://www.co.portage.oh.us/auditor_pdfs/Dog%20Registration%20Application.pdf and http://www.newleashonlife.petfinder.com/ "Provides dog licenses; responds to reports of stray dogs, unlicensed dogs, vicious dogs, and dog bites. Dogs are available for adoption."
Preble County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Mr. Lee Richardson, 101 East Main Street: Courthouse, Eaton, Ohio 45320. Phone: 937-456-4818 Fax: 937-456-8114 Email: lrichardson6892A@embarqmail.com Website: http://www.prebco.org/Dog%20warden.htm
Putnam County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Mike Schroth, 1035 Heritage Trail, Ottawa, Ohio 45875. Phone: 419-523-8617 Fax: 419-523-6598 Email: email@example.com
Richland County, Ohio, Dog Warden: David Jordan, 50 Park Avenue East, Mansfield, Ohio 44902. Phone: 419-774-5892 Fax: 419-774-1392 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and / or email@example.com Website: http://www.richlandcountyoh.us/dog.htm
Ross County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Waneta J. Detty, 2308 Lick Run Road #B, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601. Phone: 740-772-5929 Fax: 740-779-0652 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website (Ross County Auditor: dog licenses): http://18.104.22.168/auditor/dog_license.asp
Sandusky County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Fred Harris, 1950 Countryside Place, Fremont, Ohio 43420. Phone: 419-334-2372 Fax: 419-334-4290 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.sanduskycountydogkennel.com
Scioto County, Ohio, Dog Wardens: Donald Cummings and Tom Thacker, Pam Frowine, Shelter Administrator, 95 Arrowhead North Road Portsmouth, Ohio 45662 740-353-8802 Fax: 740-353-8802 (same as phone number; call first so they can switch on the fax machine) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sciotocountyohio.com/audit.htm
Seneca County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Kelly Marker, 3140 South State Route 100 Tiffin, Ohio 44883. Phone: 419-448-5097 Fax: 419-448-4483 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.senecacountyauditor.org/dog_license.asp and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH582.html
Shelby County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Deputy Lew Warbington and Deputy Cami Frey, 1100 Clem Road, Sidney, Ohio 45365. Phone: 937-498-7201 Fax: 937-498-4591 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://co.shelby.oh.us/Auditor/index.asp and http://www.co.shelby.oh.us/animalshelter.asp
Stark County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Evert Gibson, 1801 Mahoning Road N.E., Canton, Ohio 44705. Phone: 330-451-2343 Fax: 330-451-2350 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.co.stark.oh.us/dog_tag/ordertags.step0 and http://www.co.stark.oh.us/internet/HOME.DisplayPage?v_page=commissioners_dogWardenOffice
Summit County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Christine Fatheree, 460 East North Street, Akron, Ohio 44304. Phone: 330-643-8258 Fax: 330-643-8034 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.co.summit.oh.us/fiscaloffice/pdfs/dog%20registration_2006.pdf
Trumbull County, Ohio, Dog Wardens: James Keating, Acting Dog Warden, and Jim Shamrock, Assistant Chief Dog Warden, 7501 Anderson Avenue, Warren, Ohio 44484. Phone: 330-675-2787 Fax: 330-675-2788 Email: email@example.com Website: http://co.auditor.trumbull.oh.us/auditor_doglic.htm and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH650.html "The Trumbull County Dog Kennel hours of business are 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. We now have NEW Saturday hours of 9 AM to 1 PM. We are closed on Sundays and holidays. We do not schedule evening or Sunday appointments (non-business hours). We are located off of Route 46 in Howland Township. Please contact us on our screen name, firstname.lastname@example.org for any additional information and updates regarding our beautiful dogs. I personally read all e-mails daily. PLEASE CONSIDER ADOPTING ONE OF OUR DOGS AND GIVE THEM A SECOND CHANCE. You must be 18 years of age or older to adopt. Please stop in and see if there is a dog that catches your heartstrings and give him/her a forever home." Source: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH650.html
Tuscarawas County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Karen Slough, 441 University Drive NE, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663. Phone: 330-339-2616 Email: email@example.com
Union County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Mary Beth Hall, 233 West Sixth Street, Marysville, Ohio 43040. Phone: 937-645-3016 Fax: 937-645-3002 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.co.union.oh.us/Auditor/Auditor_Programs/body_auditor_programs.html#Licensing1 and http://www.co.union.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/UC/UCDetail.aspx?page=349
Van Wert County, Ohio, Dog Warden and Humane Agent: Richard “Rich” Strunkenburg, 309 Bonnewitz Avenue, Van Wert, Ohio 45891-1704. Phone: 419-238-5088 Fax: N/A Email: N/A Website: http://www.co.vanwert.oh.us/Dog_Tags/dog_tags.html Hours: Monday & Tuesday 8-4; Wednesday 8-Noon; Thursday & Friday 8-4; closed weekends.
Vinton County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Sheila Brooks, 31479 State Route 93 (by the fairgrounds), McArthur, Ohio 45651. Phone: 740-596-9285 Fax: N/A Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.vintoncounty.com/Dog_Warden.htm and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH400.html and http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OH413.html
Warren County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Nathan Harper 230 Cook Road, Lebanon, Ohio 45036. Phone: 513-695-1352 Fax: 513-695-2988 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.co.warren.oh.us/auditor/licensing/dog/index.htm
Washington County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Stephan "Steve" Strahler, 205 Putnam Street, Marietta, Ohio 45750. Phone: 740-373-6623 Ext. 204 Fax: 740-373-2200 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.washingtongov.org/ps-dogwarden.htm
Wayne County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Pame Chastain, Deputy Denise Beall, 428 West Liberty Street, Wooster, Ohio 44691. Phone: 330-287-5410 Fax: 330-287-5407 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.wayneohio.org/permits.html Hours: Monday through Friday 8 AM - 4:30 PM
Williams County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Pam Stark, 09992 County Road 16, Bryan, Ohio 45306. Phone: 419-636-4659. Fax: N/A Email: N/A Websites: http://www.co.williams.oh.us/auditor/dog_license_2.htm (dog license information) and http://www.co.williams.oh.us/auditor/dog_app_06.pdf (dog tag application)
Wood County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Rodney Cook, 1912 East Gypsy Lane, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402. Phone: 419-354-9242 Fax: 419-354-9802 Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.co.wood.oh.us/dogshelter/
Wyandot County, Ohio, Dog Warden: Andy Niederkohr, 7790 State Route #199, Upper Sandusky, Ohio 43351. Phone: 419-294-5408 Fax: 419-294-6427 Website: http://www.co.wyandot.oh.us/cgi-bin/db2www.pgm/dgq.mbr/main?nuser=11:57:22
Friday, October 9, 2009
(Note: Although not often considered as such, raccoons and other smaller wildlife are, indeed, wild, and under certain circumstances, can and do defend themselves. Many dogs have learned the hard way that tangling with a raccoon in or near water will find the raccoon on the dog's head, and the dog usually drowns. Other luckier canines 'only' have wounds to show for their experience. Groundhogs, opossums, skunks, etc., can also be tough customers for the unwary who venture too close. Porcupines aren't the only ones that are 'not nice to be near!')
October 5, 2009
No author provided at originating website address / URL.
The Associated Press / The Columbus Dispatch 34 South Third Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215 http://www.dispatch.com and http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/services/stories/contact_us/staff.html
614-461-5000 Fax: 614-461-8793 To submit a Letter to the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org (200-word limit)
Lakeland, Florida - Animal control officers hope to trap a pack of raccoons that mauled a 74-year-old Florida woman who tried to chase them from her yard.
The sheriff in Polk County, east of Tampa, says Gretchen Whitted fell when five raccoons surrounded and attacked her Sunday. She was taken to a hospital with extensive cuts from her neck to her legs.
"We're not talking about a lot of little bites here," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "She was filleted."
A neighbor called for help after hearing the woman's cries and seeing her covered in blood.
Whitted was treated for rabies, though officials doubt the animals were infected.
Fire crews flooded nearby drains to drive the animals out, but none appeared. Animal control officers hope to catch them using cat food and sardines as bait.
Copyright 2009, Columbus Dispatch.
Comments (currently 34 posted) (some are real gems!):
~~~~~ Update on this story ~~~~~
Woman attacked by raccoons out of hospital
October 9, 2009
No author provided at originating website address / URL
P.O. Box 408
Lakeland, Florida 33802
http://www.theledger.com and http://www.theledger.com/article/99999999/MISC/958878871 and http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=EDIT06
To submit a Letter to the Editor: email@example.com (300-word limit)
Photo of Gretchen Whitted:
Lakeland, Florida - A Lakeland woman who was attacked by raccoons October 3 has been released from Lakeland Regional Medical Center and is resting at home, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.
Gretchen Whitted, 74, was attacked about 5:30 p.m. Saturday at her South Lakeland home. Five raccoons bit Whitted's neck, chest, legs, head and back when she tried to shoo them away from her front porch and fell.
Animal Control officers trapped an opossum, a cat and one raccoon Monday. Two more raccoons were caught in the neighborhood Wednesday.
Wildlife experts speculated the attack was spurred by a mother raccoon that was defending her offspring. Whitted was given a rabies vaccine as a precaution.
Copyright 2009, The Ledger.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The Louisville Kennel Club, Inc., et al v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government
(Note: A careful read will prove that this is a property rights issue, through and through. It's all in the definitions ... This one is well worth your time!)
Filed October 2, 2009
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/canine_legislation/LKC_Metro_Govt_100509.pdf (26 pages; 1.08 MB)
http://www.akc.org/pdfs/canine_legislation/LKC_Metro_Govt_100509.pdf (26 pages; 1.08 MB)
Case 3:07-cv-00230-CRS-JDM, Document 58
United States District Court, Western District of Kentucky at Louisville
The Louisville Kennel Club, Inc., et al, Plaintiff v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, Defendants
Civil Action No. 3:07-CV-230-S
For the reasons stated in the Memorandum Opinion entered this date, it is hereby ordered and adjudged:
1. Section 91.022 of the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government Code of Ordinances is declared unconstitutional insofar as it requires owners of unaltered dogs to obtain written approval of their enclosures. Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment (DN 20) is GRANTED in this respect, and Metro's motion for summary judgment (DN 27) is DENIED to the same extent. Metro is hereby enjoined from enforcing § 91.022's written approval requirement.
2. Section 91.101 of the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government Code of Ordinances is declared unconstitutional insofar as it threatens to deprive pet owners of their property rights without a finding of guilt. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (DN 20) is GRANTED in this respect, and Metro's motion for summary judgment (DN 27) is DENIED to the same extent. Metro is hereby enjoined from enforcing § 91.101 in the manner just described.
3. Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claims regarding §§ 91.073(D), 91.094(A), and 91.101(A) are hereby DISMISSED for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Court is without authority to rule on the parties' motions for summary judgment as regards those claims.
4. With respect to all other claims presented in this case, Metro's motion for summary judgment (DN27) is GRANTED, and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (DN20) is DENIED.
October 1, 2009
Charles R. Simpson III, Judge, United States District Court
This matter is before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs (several pet-owners' groups, pet-related businesses, veterinarians, and individual pet owners) seek to overturn an amendment1 to Chapter 91 of the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government Code of Ordinances on numerous grounds. They argue that various sections of the Amended Code violate the federal Constitution and Kentucky law. Because of the pervasiveness of the alleged defects, Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief voiding the ordinance in toto. Defendant, the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government ("Metro"), of course, disputes these allegations.
The parties (and the Court) agree that the case is ripe for summary judgment. There are no disputed facts; the only question is which side is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).
Plaintiff's objections to the ordinance in question may be grouped under five headings. First, plaintiffs argue that several sections of the ordinance are unconstitutionally vague. Others, they say, lack a rational relationship to a legitimate legislative purpose and therefore violate the Equal Protection Clause and the "substantive" component of the Due Process Clause. One provision allegedly requires forfeiture of certain pets without adequate "procedural" Due Process. A fourth set of provisions, it is argued, authorize illegal warrantless searches and seizures of pet owners' homes and property. Finally, plaintiffs argue that various sections of this local ordinance stand in conflict with state law. The Court will address plaintiffs' arguments in turn.
1 - Ordinance No. 290, Series 2007, "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 91 of the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government Code of Ordinances ("Code") Pertaining to Unaltered Dogs, the Waiver of Metro Animal Service Fees Due to Financial Hardship, and the Quarantine of Animals (Amended by Substitution)." The Court will refer to this legislation as "the ordinance."
A. Legal Standard
The "vagueness" doctrine stems from the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and (here) Fourteenth Amendments. A vague law offends constitutional norms in that it fails both "(1) to define the offense with sufficient definiteness that ordinary people can understand prohibited conduct, and (2) to establish standards to permit police to enforce the law in a non-arbitrary, non-discriminatory manner." Belle Maer Harbor v. Charter Twp. of Harrison, 170 F.3d 553, 556 (6th Cir. 1999) (citing Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352, 357 (1983)). These standards are not to be "mechanistically applied," Hoffman Estates v. Flipside, Hoffman Estates, Inc. 455 U.S. 489, 498 (1982), and the Sixth Circuit has concluded that it is the "second prong -- providing minimal guidelines to govern the conduct of law enforcement -- (that) constitutes the more important aspect of the vagueness doctrine. Belle Maer Harbor, 170 F.3d at 556-57 (citing Smith v. Goguen, 415 U.S. 566 (1974)).
The rejection of "mechanistic" application of the terms of the vagueness standard means that "[t]he degree of vagueness that the Constitution tolerates -- as well as the relative importance of fair notice and fair enforcement -- depends in part on the nature of the enactment." Hoffman Estates, 455 U.S. at 498. A criminal statute or one that threatens constitutionally protected rights (particularly the First Amendment right to freedom of speech) is subject to more stringent review than an
economic regulation or an enactment enforced only by civil sanctions. Specifically, "an enactment imposing criminal sanction or reaching a substantial amount of constitutionally protected conduct may withstand facial constitutional scrutiny only if it incorporates a high level of definiteness." Belle Maer Harbor, 170 F.3d at 557 (citing Hoffman Estates, 455 U.S. at 494). The ordinance at issue imposes both civil and criminal penalties;2 a higher degree of clarity is therefore required if it is to be upheld.
Counterbalancing this demand for heightened clarity is the fact that the plaintiffs have raised a facial vagueness challenge to the ordinance. They have alleged no facts regarding the ordinance's enforcement; none of the plaintiffs has a specific "dog in this fight." Moreover, the ordinance does not reach constitutionally protected conduct such as speech. Consequently, to show that a section of the ordinance is unconstitutional, they "must demonstrate that the law is impermissibly vague in all of its applications." Hoffman Estates, 455 U.S. at 497. "A facial challenge to a legislative Act is, of course, the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid." United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 745 (1987).
Plaintiffs allege that the following provisions of the ordinance are unconstitutionally vague: its definitions of "dangerous dog" and "potentially dangerous dog," and the exemptions from these definitions; its requirement of "proper" enclosures for unaltered dogs (that is, dogs that have not been spayed or neutered); its definitions of "nuisance," "attack," "restraint," and "cruelty"; its impoundment provision; and its tethering requirements.
2 - See Louisville/Jefferson County Code of Ordinances § 91.999 (2007).
1. "Dangerous" and "Potentially Dangerous" Dogs
(a) Section 91.001 of the ordinance defines as "dangerous" any dog that, inter alia, "maims or kills domestic pets or livestock when not under restraint."3 Plaintiffs argue that "[a]ny dog will 'maim or kill' any number of [domestic pets] -- rabbit, mouse, rat, etc. -- if presented with the opportunity." (Pl.'s Br. 20.) Consequently, they argue, every dog in the city falls under the statutory definition of "dangerous." On their view, this is problematic, because the ordinance's breadth necessarily gives enforcement officers undue discretion in how it is enforced.
As noted above, however, the plaintiffs have the burden of showing that there is no case in which the application of the ordinance is clear. There are some animals that plainly fall within the statutory definition -- one might think of an aggressive wolf-dog hybrid. Others -- a lame, aging, well-trained lapdog, perhaps -- obviously lack the propensity (or physical capability) to chase and kill small pets. Moreover, the wording of the ordinance (active, present-tense verbs) indicate that a past history of attacking pets or livestock, or a known propensity to do so, is required for a finding of dangerousness. Because there are at least some applications of the ordinance that are clear, plaintiffs' facial challenge to the ordinance's "maim or kill" definition fails.
(b) The ordinance alternatively defines "dangerous dog" as "[a]ny dog which is declared by the Director [of Metro Animal Services] to be a dangerous dog under the procedures set forth in this chapter."4 Plaintiffs place significant emphasis on their assertion that the referenced sections do not further define "dangerous dog." In their view, this renders the definition hopelessly circular, leaving it completely up to the unfettered discretion of a government agent. In support, they cite a superficially similar case, Folkers v. City of Waterloo, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76101 (D. Iowa 2007). In Folkers, the statute in question defined "dangerous dog" as "[a]ny dog declared to be dangerous by the city council or an animal control officer." Id. at 28. The magistrate judge held (and the district judge adopted his reasoning) that "this circular definition does not provide any guidance to the public and is unconstitutionally vague." Id. at 29. The apparent similarity of that ordinance to the one sub judice suggests to the plaintiffs that this Court should follow suit.
3 - A dog otherwise fitting this description is considered "potentially dangerous" while it is properly restrained.
4 - An analogous definition applies to "potentially dangerous dogs."
However, a careful reading of the ordinance rids us of this vagueness problem. The definition in question refers the reader to "the procedures set forth in this chapter," which are contained in § 91.151, and specifically in two subsections, (C) and (D). The first instructs the Director to determine whether a dog found "at risk"5 is "dangerous" or "potentially dangerous," "as defined in this chapter." Returning to the definitions section of the ordinance, one finds four definitions of "dangerous dog" and two definitions of "potentially dangerous dog" that the Director might use in determining whether a given animal is legally dangerous. This is not an endless circle between two code sections, or the kind of limitless grant of discretion to an animal control officer that the court confronted in Folkers.
Further, § 91.151(D) provides a definition of "dangerous dog" not seen in § 91.001: "If an at-risk dog under investigation has previously been classified as a potentially dangerous dog and exhibits escalating aggressive behaviors, which threaten public safety or welfare, that circumstance alone may be grounds for ... the Director to determine that the dog is a dangerous dog." This procedure for declaring a dog "dangerous" gives specific external content to § 91.001's reference to "procedures set forth in this chapter."
5 - I.e., one found off of its owner's premises, threatening or harming a person or animal, or walking free without restraint.
It may be argued that the definitions in question are inordinately convoluted, or poorly drafted, but they do not constitute the sort of unbounded discretion that should be declared unconstitutionally vague on its face. Accordingly, the Court will grant summary judgment for the defendants as to these sections of the ordinance.
(c) Plaintiffs further ask the Court to void certain exemptions from the definitions of "dangerous" and "potentially dangerous" dogs, as set forth in § 91.150(B). Subsection (B)(1) states that an animal is not to be deemed (potentially) dangerous solely because it bites "[a]nyone assaulting its owner," but not including a police officer attempting to subdue a suspect. Subsection (B)(4) exempts a dog from classification as dangerous if it attacks a person committing criminal trespass, but not if that person had committed merely a simple trespass.
Plaintiffs are surely correct to claim that these sections put impossible burdens on the cognitive ability of dogs. A dog, in all likelihood, cannot distinguish a police officer from anyone else subduing its owner, nor can it perceive the mental state of an individual entering onto its territory.
But that does not mean the law is vague. Plaintiffs claim that these exemptions set forth "incomprehensible standards," such that neither citizens nor enforcement officers can understand their meaning sufficiently well to act in accordance with the law. (Pl.'s Br. 22.) This claim is simply in error. The question is whether the law is vague, and it is not. A dog may be deemed "dangerous" if it attacks a police officer or a non-criminal trespasser. An owner may avoid a declaration of dangerousness by restraining his dog unless and until he knows that a trespasser is a criminal or that an assailant is not a policeman. This may have the effects of limiting some lawful activity (i.e., the use of dogs for protection), and of offering some security to criminals who might otherwise expect
to be attacked more often by dogs. That policy choice, however, is for the Metro Council to make. It has not done so in an unconstitutional manner.
2. The Enclosure Requirement
Plaintiffs next argue that § 91.922(A) is vague. That section provides that unaltered dogs are to be maintained "[i]n a proper enclosure as defined in this chapter; and as approved by the Director in writing." Plaintiffs first contend that "because the Director cannot possibly enforce the provision against everyone to whom it applies, he must enforce it selectively." (Pl.'s Br. 26.) The same could be said for speed limits, jaywalking laws, and the prohibition on underage drinking. There are far too many laws in 21st-century America for law enforcement to enforce every one of them every time it is broken. Certainly this state of affairs does not render every law and regulation that is not scrupulously enforced, unconstitutionally vague.
Plaintiffs further claim that this enclosure requirement is illegally vague because it does not define what it means for an enclosure to be "proper." "Enclosure" itself is defined by § 91.001 of the ordinance as "a fence or structure of sufficient height and construction to prevent the animal from leaving the owner's property," and to include (with certain exclusions) electric fences. True, it does not define "proper," but the Court reads this adjective as a modifier, not as a word creating an entirely new term. The Oxford English Dictionary defines "proper" as "[s]uitable for a specified or implicit purpose or requirement; appropriate to the circumstances or conditions; of the requisite standard or type." Thus, "proper enclosure as defined in this chapter" simply means an enclosure meeting the specifications outlined in § 91.001. This section is not vague.
Plaintiffs next argue that the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague in its definition of "nuisance." That definition (again, part of § 91.001) begins as follows:
Any act of an animal or its owner that irritates, perturbs or damages rights and privileges common to the public or enjoyment of private property or indirectly injures or threatens the safety of a member of the general public.
True, the bare words of the first paragraph of the definition bear some resemblance to a statute criminalizing assembly on the sidewalk "in a manner annoying to persons passing by." Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 611 & n.1 (1971). The Coates Court declared that ordinance unconstitutionally vague, id. at 614,6 but the enactment at bar differs from the Cincinnati law in a crucial respect: It contains a long list of forms of conduct that are, ipso facto, nuisances. These include allowing an animal to make so much noise as to "result in a serious annoyance or interfere with the reasonable use and enjoyment of neighboring premises"; permitting an animal to damage another's property; allowing an animal to chase or attack passers-by, vehicles, or other animals, and so forth.7
6 - The Court also found that it violated the constitutional rights of free assembly and association, 402 U.S. at 615, but those rights are not at issue here.
7 - The complete enumeration is as follows:
(a) Allowing or permitting an animal to habitually bark, whine, howl, mew, crow, or cackle in an excessive or continual fashion or make other noise in such a manner so as to result in a serious annoyance or interference with the reasonable use and enjoyment of neighboring premises.
(b) Allowing or permitting an animal to damage the property of any person other than its owner or caretaker, including but not limited to, getting into or turning garbage containers or damaging gardens, flowers, plants or other real or personal property or leaving fecal material on the property of another person.
(c) Allowing or permitting an animal to molest, chase, snap at, attack or attempt to attack passers-by, vehicles, domestic pets or livestock.
(d) Allowing or permitting an animal to habitually or continually roam or be found on property of other than its owners or caretakers, trespassing school grounds, parks or the property of any person. (continued...)
"Where a statute lists specific things followed by a more general one, the canon of ejusdem generis provides guidance." United States v. Mabry, 518 F.3d. 442, 447 (6th Cir. 2008). This canon serves just as well when the specific items follow the general one. It instructs us to "attribute 'the same characteristic of discreteness shared by all the [following] items' to the term in question." Id. (quoting Norton v. S. Utah Wilderness Alliance, 542 U.S. 55, 63 (2004)); see also Canton Police Benevolent Ass'n of Canton v. United States, 844 F.2d 1231, 1236 (6th Cir. 1988) (under the "time-honored rule of ejusdem generis, ... a general word in a statute takes its character from the specific words with which it appears").
Applying ejusdem generis to the ordinance at hand, the broad terms of the preamble paragraph are significantly narrowed. A "nuisance" is not just any act that irritates or perturbs another. Rather, it is an act having the same general characteristics as the acts enumerated in the rest of the section: allowing an animal to threaten or injure another's person or property, or his enjoyment thereof. The ordinance's definition of "nuisance" is sufficiently clear that it cannot be held unconstitutionally vague on its face.
7(...continued)(e) Allowing or permitting an animal to be housed or restrained at a distance, that, in the discretion of the animal control officer, poses a threat to the general safety, heath and welfare of the general public.
(f) Allowing or permitting an animal to be maintained in an unsanitary condition.
(g) Allowing or permitting an animal to habitually charge in an aggressive manner a fence separating from another property when the usual residents are taking pleasure in such property without provoking such animal.
The ordinance (again, in § 91.001) defines "attack" (circularly) as :[a]n unprovoked attack in an aggressive manner on a human that causes a scratch, abrasion, or bruising, or on a domestic pet or livestock that causes death or injury." Plaintiffs claim this is unconstitutionally vague for two reasons.
First, they argue that "it sweeps into its limitless reach all dogs that would cause 'injury' to a 'domestic pet.'" (Pl.'s Br. 36.) This, they say, "results in a definition that effectively includes every dog in Louisville." (Id.) Plaintiff's suggestion is that, because a dog can be declared (potentially) dangerous if it has attacked another animal, and because any dog is likely to attack a rat or guinea pig, given the opportunity, the ordinance treats an irrationally large number of dogs as "dangerous."
This argument would bear some weight if a dog could be seized and declared dangerous because of the hypothetical possibility that it might commit an attack, but those consequences follow only on the occasion of an actual attack.8 There is nothing vague about the ordinance's definition of "attack" once we get past its circularity.9
Second, plaintiffs claim that the definition applied to human victims is vague. Any dog in Louisville, they say, could legally "attack" someone by causing a scratch or bruise in some "harmless situation." This argument ignores the first half of the sentence defining the word in question: "An unprovoked attack in an aggressive manner ...." (emphasis added). Plaintiffs fail to suggest even a hypothetical situation in which a dog could, without provocation, harmlessly (but in an aggressive manner) assault a human being and thereby cause a scratch, abrasion, or bruising.
Even if they had done so (the Court does not see how they could), the nature of their facial challenge
8 - See Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government Code of Ordinances § 91.150(A).
9 - Say, by substituting a common English understanding of the word "attack" into the statutory definition.
would require that the definition be impermissibly vague in all applications, which it plainly is not.
The definition of "attack" is constitutionally sound on its face.
Plaintiffs next challenge the ordinance's requirement that puppies and dogs, when off the premises of the owner and without permission otherwise, "must be restrained by a lead or leash and under the control of a responsible person physically able to control the dog." This is unconstitutional, they say, because it "provides no meaningful guidance" to citizens and animal control officers in determining whether a given person is capable of restraining a given dog. (Pl.'s Br. 37.) Again, this argument cannot prevail in the setting of a facial challenge to the ordinance.
There are innumerable cases in which the answer to the question "Can this person control that dog?" is patently obvious. Most anyone with the aid of a leash can successfully keep a handle on a Yorkshire terrier. Comparatively few people possess the physical strength to control a mastiff or other large breed. Because there are cases where the application of the ordinance is clear, this facial vagueness challenge fails.
6. The Impoundment Provision
Plaintiff's next assertion is that § 91.070(E) is unconstitutionally vague because it contains "an unrestricted delegation of power which leaves the definition of its terms to [the Director]." Am.-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm. v. City of Dearborn, 418 F.3d 600, 608-09 (6th Cir. 2005). The section in question provides that certain animals, once impounded, "shall not be released, except upon terms and conditions imposed by the Director that are in the interest of public safety and welfare." On the plaintiffs' view, this directive provides too little guidance to the officials implementing it.
This argument is misplaced. The void-for-vagueness doctrine applies to laws that are prohibitive in nature. The purpose of the vagueness rule is to ensure that citizens know what conduct is permitted and what is proscribed, and to prevent arbitrary enforcement by law enforcement officials against conduct not clearly covered by the law. Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 104, 108-09 (1972); Belle Maer Harbor, 170 F.3d at 556. Consequently, it has no application to § 91.070(E), which is not prohibitive in nature, but rather instructs the Director on how to handle certain classes of impounded animals. This section of the ordinance does not leave citizens without guidance as to what conduct is permitted and what is not, because in any individual case, the Director will have imposed specific conditions interpreting "the interest of public safety and welfare." Were the Director to impose restrictions that were themselves vague, they could be challenged as applied (because they would impose a standard of conduct for individual citizens). Such conditions are not before the Court, and the vagueness doctrine therefore has no application here.
7. Tethering Standards
Plaintiffs argue that the ordinance's tethering standards (§ 91.091(A)) are vague. Their arguments are without merit. The ordinance's plain language, though perhaps not a model of precision, is sufficiently clear to give dog owners notice of what is required of them. Subsection (A)(1)(a) prohibits use of a fixed-point tether between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Subsection (A)(1)(b) further prohibits use of a fixed-point tether for more than one hour in any eight-hour period. True, there is no conjunction between the two subsections -- an "or" is probably warranted -- but they can both be given effect without conflict: A fixed-point tether may not be used at all within the specified times, and outside of those hours its use is limited to one hour in eight.
The remainder of this section is no less clear. Subsections (A)(1) and (A)(2) cover distinct methods of restraint. Part (1) refers only to "fixed-point" tethers, which the Court reads to mean a tether attached to a single stationary point (e.g., a stake or tree) in an owner's yard. Part (2) describes a more complex system: a tether attached to a trolley, allowing for a greater range of movement than a fixed-point tether. Because the time restrictions described above appear only in subsection (1), they do not apply to subsection (2). A trolley-tether system may be used at any time, without restrictions. The tethering standards are sufficiently clear to avoid a facial challenge to their validity.
8. Revocation of License
Plaintiffs contend that § 91.024(B) is impermissibly vague. It provides that the Director may revoke or deny any pet license, providing the following guidance: "Grounds for such revocation or denial include, but are not limited to, conviction pursuant to any violation of this chapter or conviction pursuant to any related state or federal law." This section is more problematic than those discussed above, because it appears to allow the Director to impose a civil punishment for any reason at all, leaving citizens unaware of what actions might constitute grounds for license revocation. Ejusdem generis does not help, because the terms of subsection (B) negate the premise of that canon: Grounds for revocation "are not limited" to violations of the ordinance or related law.
Thus the text would apparently allow imposition of punishment for violation of unrelated law, or for any reason the Director might come up with. And while the ordinance provides for appeals to the Secretary of the Cabinet of Public Works and Services, it offers no standard of review or basis for deciding the appeal in a case where the grounds for revocation are questionable.
Despite some misgivings about § 91.024(B), however, the Court cannot hold it facially void. After all, it does include at least one category of cases, conviction pursuant to violations of Chapter
91, in which there are clearly grounds for revocation. Moreover, the specific terms of the ordinance provide at least some guidance as to what sorts of behavior ought to constitute grounds for revocation. To hold an ordinance invalid on its face, a court must fine that it is impermissibly vague in all of its applications. Hoffman Estates, 455 U.S. at 497. Because we cannot do so, this challenge must fail.
Plaintiffs' final vagueness challenge is to the ordinance's definition of "cruelty" (§ 91.001) and its requirement that pet owners and kennels provide animals with certain necessities (§§ 91.090, 91.120, 91.121, 91.122). In support, however, plaintiffs can muster only a conclusory assertion that the standards in question provide "no level of definiteness," and an unsubstantiated fear that the word "wholesome" will be nefariously interpreted. (Pl.'s Br. 42-43.) We need not pause long over these arguments; the challenged language speaks for itself. Plaintiffs cannot show that the ordinance is vague in all its applications, and they therefore cannot prevail.
II. Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process
A. Legal Standard
Plaintiffs claim that parts of the ordinance violate citizens' rights under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. As plaintiffs recognize, this case involves neither discrimination against a suspect class nor the violation of fundamental rights. Consequently under either clause, the Court's analysis falls under the rubric of "rational basis" for review. See Doe v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 490 F.3d. 491, 505 (6th Cir. 2007) (equal protection); Berger v. City of Mayfield Heights, 154 F.3d 621, 624 (6th Cir. 1998) (due process). The essence of the analysis
is the question whether a "rational relationship exists between the terms of the ordinance and a legitimate governmental purpose." Berger, 154 F.3d at 624.
1. Approval of Enclosures in Writing
Plaintiffs argue that § 91.022(A)(1) fails rational review insofar as it treats owners of unaltered dogs differently from owners of altered dogs. The section requires that enclosures for unaltered dogs be approved by the Director in writing. Elsewhere (§§ 91.001 and 91.00s), the ordinance requires that all dogs be kept under restraint, defined so as to mirror the requirements of § 91.022(A)(1) with the exception of the written approval requirement. Thus it is the approval requirements that the Court must consider.
It is unclear whether defense counsel recognized the issue the plaintiffs sought to raise, as the defendant's brief asserts that "there is no possible application of this Section to any dog owner above or beyond the restraint provisions elsewhere in the ordinance." (Resp. 10.) Further, Metro concedes that the provision "is clearly a redundant nullity." (Id. at 11.) Having renounced the value of this section, defendant also makes no effort to justify it with any government interest. Indeed, as defendant notes, the remainder of the ordinance has been amended to remove additional requirements that had been placed on owners of unaltered dogs. This suggests that the persistence of additional requirements in § 91.022(A)(1) is indeed a "legislative oversight" with no evident purpose, as the defense speculates. (Id. at 10.) The Court will take the defense at its word. There being no apparent reason why the owners of unaltered dogs should be treated differently than the owners of their neutered counterparts, the written requirement lacks a rational basis and is unconstitutional.
2. Sale of Animals
Section 91.027(D) of the ordinance reads as follows:
It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, offer to sell, or to advertise the sale of an animal, or for any person to purchase a dog, which has been classified by the Director as a dangerous dog, or a potentially dangerous dog, without the written permission of the Director.
Plaintiffs argue that this section is so irrational as to violate due process. They are surely correct that it is poorly drafted. The plain terms of the first clause appear to prohibit the sale of any animal anywhere in Louisville, while the plain terms of the second clause allow for the sale of (potentially) dangerous dogs with permission of the Director.
However, the Court declines to read the ordinance so literally as to rob it of rationality. The title of § 91.027 is "Certain Sales of Animals Prohibited" (emphasis added), which implies that not all such sales are illegal. Moreover, as plaintiffs point out, other subsections of § 81.027 contemplate the sale of animals under certain conditions. Bearing this in mind, it is better to read subsection (D) as Metro suggests (Resp. 14): It requires written permission from the Director for the sale or purchase of any animal that has been declared a dangerous dog or a potentially dangerous dog, without otherwise restricting the sale of animals. Given this construction, there is nothing constitutionally suspect about § 91.027(D).
III. Procedural Due Process
Plaintiffs claim that § 91.101 of the ordinance threatens a citizen's right to a fair hearing before being deprived of property. Before delving into the governing jurisprudence, we think it wise to determine how the ordinance operates.
As with other sections of the ordinance in question, § 91.101 seems to be the victim of hasty drafting. Entitled "Confiscation of Victimized Animal," its purpose is to allow the authorities to take
possession of an animal that has been the victim of any of several forms of inhumane treatment. These include (inter alia) failure to provide necessities, abandonment, mutilation, and "exhibition fighting." Section 91.101(A) provides that an animal found involved in a violation of any of these prohibitions may be confiscated by an animal control officer, evidently for its protection.
Once an animal has been confiscated, subsection (B) provides for a hearing before a judge. That judge is to determine whether probable cause existed for the confiscation. If so, the owner must post a $450 bond within 24 hours to cover the cost of 30 days' boarding and veterinary care for the animal, which remains in the city's possession. A new bond must be posted every 30 days, and failure to do so results in immediate forfeiture of the animal. The ordinance does not say what happens if no probable cause is found, but the implication of the bond and forfeiture provisions, coupled with general background notions of justice, must be that, absent probable cause, the animal is to be returned to its owner.
Section 91.101(B)(1) goes on to provide that, upon a plea or finding of guilt, the animal's owner becomes responsible for all costs created by the impoundment. (That is, any bond he has posted is not returned, and he must pay any outstanding amount due.) Further, the animal in question becomes property of the city. If the accused is found innocent, subsection (B)(2) provides that any posted bond is to be returned to the owner. The ordinance does not explicitly provide for return of a seized animal if its owner is found to be innocent. Again, however, context leads the Court to conclude that returning the animal on a finding of innocence must have been the Metro Council's intent. There is, first, the obvious fact that this is the just result of such an adjudication. In addition, it makes little sense for the government to return the posted bond -- leaving it on the hook for all the animal's expenses up to the acquittal -- and then to hold onto the animal at its own further expense.
Finally, the last sentence of subsection (B)(1) states: "Upon conviction, all animals not forfeited pursuant to subsection (B) herein above shall become the property of the Metro Government." This implies that, prior to conviction, ownership of the animal does not change. After an acquittal, then, the original owner retains his rights, and the city has no further basis for holding the animal.
The construction offered above solves two problems § 91.101, allowing for the return of a confiscated animal upon a finding of either no probable cause or innocence (if the bond has been duly paid). But a third problem lingers. It is undoubtedly the case that the ordinance mandates permanent forfeiture of a seized animal if the judge finds probably cause and the owner fails to timely post the appropriate bond. This provision is evidently meant to ensure that the owner of a confiscated dog has an interest in posting the bond: If he could refuse to do so and then wait for an adjudication of guilt, he might never have to post before getting the dog back (if he is found innocent), or he might lose his ownership of the dog (if he is found guilty) and thus any incentive to pay the past-due boarding and veterinary costs. The result is that a person whose dog has been confiscated, and against whom there is probable cause that he violated one of the humane treatment requirements, will lose his dog permanently unless he posts bond, even if he is ultimately found innocent of the underlying charge. This possibility presents a legitimate due process claim.
Claims under the "procedural" arm of the Due Process Clause are governed by the balancing framework set up by Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976). Determining how much process is due in a given case involves consideration of three factors: (1) "the private interest that will be affected by the official action:' (2) "the risk of an erroneous deprivation of such interest through the procedures used, and the probable value, if any, of additional or substitute procedural safeguards";
and (3) "the Government's interest, including the function involved and the fiscal and administrative burdens that the additional or substitute procedural requirement would entail." Id. at 335.
As plaintiffs argue, pet owners clearly have a property interest in their animals. See Bess v. Bracken County Fiscal Court, 210 S.W.3d 177, 180 (Ky. 2006) (recognizing that dogs are personal property). This interest is not absolute and is subject to regulation by state and municipal governments. Id. Nonetheless, the government is not permitted to deprive an animal owner of his property without due process of law. The question is not whether process is due, but rather how much is required.
We therefore inquire into the second prong of the Mathews test. As the procedure stands, the risk of erroneous deprivation of this property interest is significant. It is perfectly possible for a judge to find probable cause that a person has committed an offense, but for that person later to be found innocent. Under the scheme set up in § 91.101, if such a person was unable to put up $450 immediately upon the probable cause finding, his pet is forfeit[ed] and he has no apparent recourse for its recovery, even if he is ultimately found innocent of the underlying charge. There is thus a high risk of erroneous deprivation, which some sort of hearing, appeal, or late-payment process could remedy. Moreover, the government has little interest in keeping ownership of pets belonging to innocent citizens. Presumably, most of the animals kept under this ordinance have to be euthanized, lest the burden of boarding and caring for them grow too high. The government does not articulate any interest whatsoever in its brief -- it does not even cite Mathews -- and the Court is unwilling to fabricate one. Consequently, we must hold that the portion of § 91.101 that would permanently deprive a pet owner of his property, absent a finding of guilt, is unconstitutional.
It seems likely that § 91.101 is poorly drafted and does not properly represent the intent of its authors. However, this Court is not in the business of authoring or revising legislation. As a remedy for the constitutional failing just described, the Court will therefore enter an injunction against enforcement of the ordinance in the manner just described. Applications of § 91.101 that do not infringe the constitutional right to due process of law may continue.
IV. Fourth Amendment
Plaintiffs argue that four sections of the ordinance violate the Fourth Amendment by authorizing warrantless searches and/or seizures.
We reject out of hand the suggestion that § 91.022 is unconstitutional. Plaintiffs urge that it is invalid to the extent that it is interpreted to authorize warrantless searches. Its plain terms do no such thing. They merely require that unaltered dogs be kept either in an enclosure or under restraint. Nor has there been any authoritative interpretation of the section that would empower law enforcement officers to act in a manner contrary to the Constitution. Plaintiffs rely on the deposition testimony of the current Director, Dr. Gilles Meloche, to the effect that the adequacy of an enclosure is determined on a case-by-case basis. They seem to think this implies warrantless searches of property under the guise of "inspections." But nowhere in Dr. Meloche's testimony, which has no legally binding effect on pet owners, does he claim the right to search a home without permission or warrant. On this point, the plaintiffs are doing battle with a bogeyman of their own conjuring.
Three other sections appear more troubling. Each expressly authorizes seizure of a dog found in violation or suspected violation of the ordinance, without requiring a warrant. Section 91.073(d) provides:
Where an Animal Control Officer observes a dog being kept on a chain or tether, in potential violation of the restraint definition in this chapter, the officer may notify the
owner of the violation in person or by means of a notice placed at the entry to the property. If the owner does not correct the situation or notify MAS (Metro Animal Services) within one hour of the placement of such notice, that the dog has been removed from the chain or tether, the dog may be removed and the owner issued a violation notice or uniform citation for violation of the restraint requirement.
Similarly, § 91.094(a) provides, in pertinent part:
In the event there is a reasonable cause to suspect that an animal is being beaten, cruelly ill-treated, neglected or tormented or involved in a dogfight, cockfight or other combat, custody of such animal may be taken by an Animal Control Officer or peace officer and impounded in the animal shelter. The animal shall be held as evidence and confined in such facility in a humane manner.
Finally, § 91.101(A) states that "Any animal found involved in a violation of any portion of this section may be confiscated by any Animal Control Officer or any peace officer and held in a humane manner.10 These provisions appear to contemplate the seizure and removal of animals from their owners without need for a warrant.
Notwithstanding the language of the ordinance, Metro vehemently disclaims that idea that it authorizes warrantless seizures. The Fourth Amendment, Metro acknowledges, acts as an independent check on animal control officers, who evidently know of the warrant requirement and its myriad exceptions and who are scrupulous in their observance of constitutional dictates. This is, of course, a wise position to take; to the extent that an ordinance authorizes searches or seizures of a sort not sanctioned by the Constitution, it must be unconstitutional. That is merely to state a truism, but as the Court has, in essence, been asked only to affirm that the Fourth Amendment applies to searches contemplated by the above-quoted sections, there is little else to say.
The parties and the Court are in agreement on this issue. Consequently, we are not presented with a "Case" or "Controversy" as Article III requires for the exercise of federal judicial power.
10 - "Section" in this context evidently refers to the collection of provisions gathered under the heading "Humane Treatment of Animals."
Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment challenges, therefore, must be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
V. Conflicts with Kentucky Law
Plaintiffs contend that various sections of the ordinance conflict with Kentucky law and are therefore illegal. States law provides:
Urban-county governments may enact and enforce within their territorial limits such tax, licensing, police, sanitary and other ordinances not in conflict with the Constitution and general statutes of this state now or hereafter enacted, as they shall deem requisite for the health, education, safety, welfare and convenience of the inhabitants of the county and for the effective administration of the urban-county government.
Ky. Rev. Stat. (Kentucky Revised Statutes) § 67A.070(1)11 It goes on to provide that "ordinances shall be deemed to conflict with general statutes of this state ... [w]hen the ordinance authorizes that which is expressly prohibited by a general statute; or ... [w]hen there is a comprehensive scheme of legislation on the same subject embodied in a general statute." Ky. Rev. Stat. § 67A.070(2). There is no allegation that any of the challenged sections are expressly prohibited by state law. The question is whether any of them has been preempted by a comprehensive scheme occupying the field they seek to regulate.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that:
The mere presence of the state in a particular area of the law or regulation will not automatically eliminate local authority to enact appropriate regulations. Local regulation is not always precluded simply because the legislature has taken some action in regard to the same subject. ... The true test of the concurrent authority of the state and local government to regulate a particular area is the absence of conflict. The simple fact that the state has made certain requirements does not prohibit local government from establishing additional requirements, so long as there is no conflict between them.
11 - Defendant is such an "urban-county government." A parallel statute, Ky. Rev. Stat. § 82.082, has much the same effect with regard to cities.
Lexington-Fayette County Food & Bev. Ass'n v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Gov't, 131 S.W.3d 745, 750 (Ky. 2004) (citations omitted). "In order to rise to the level of a comprehensive system or scheme, the General Assembly must establish a definite system that explicitly directs the actions of a city." Dannheiser v. City of Henderson, 4 S.W.3d 542, 548 (Ky. 1999) (citing Whitehead v. Estate of Bravard, 719 S.W.2d 720 (Ky. 1986)).
A. Regulation of Veterinary Medicine
Plaintiffs argue that Chapter 321 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes regulates veterinarians so comprehensively that Ky. Rev. Stat. § 82.082 bar municipalities from imposing additional regulations on the profession. Specifically, they object to the reporting and notification requirements imposed by the ordinance's sections 91.025(B) (vaccination reporting), 91.075 (bite reporting), and 91.020(F) (veterinarians must notify clients of licensing and permit requirements).
Given the authorities quoted above on the meaning of preemption in Kentucky, the Court finds that none of these provisions are in such conflict with Chapter 321 as to be prohibited. The state-level regulation of veterinarians covers licenses, permits, certifications, the Board of Veterinary Examiners, and so forth. Its stated purpose is to "protect the public from being misled by incompetent, unscrupulous, and unauthorized practitioners, and from unprofessional or illegal practices by persons licensed to practice veterinary medicine." Ky. Rev. Stat § 321.175. The statute does not go into specifics of veterinary practice. Neither do the sections of the Kentucky Administrative Regulations covering the Board of Veterinary Examiners. See 201 Ky. Admin. Regs. §§ 16:010 et seq. The parties do not cite, and Court has not found, any state-level statute or
regulation dictating what veterinarians are, or are not, to report to the government or discuss with their clients.12
Furthermore, the ordinance does not regulate the practice of veterinary medicine in any serious way. The requirements it imposes are related to public health, safety, and awareness of the legal requirements for pet ownership.13 They are not in conflict with the regulatory regime established by state law. That regime does not "direct the actions of the city" as regards veterinarians, and it does not prevent enactment of the public health and welfare regulations at issue here.
B. Cruelty to Animals
Next, plaintiffs assert that the ordinance's regulation of cruelty to animals runs afoul of the preemption statute, because (in their view) Kentucky has already regulated animal cruelty by statute. See Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 525.125.525.130.525.135. However, as the Kentucky Supreme Court has interpreted Ky. Rev. Stat. § 67A.070(2), the Court sees no problem with Metro's ordinance. Plaintiffs point us to no specific conflicts, and the cruelty statutes do not "establish a definite system that explicitly directs the actions of a city," Dannheiser, 4 S.W.3d at 548. Accordingly, plaintiffs' challenge to the cruelty sections of the ordinance fail.
Finally, plaintiffs claim that the definition of nuisance in § 91.001 of the ordinance violates Kentucky law. The Kentucky statutes permit a municipality to enact a nuisance code so long as it (inter alia) "(1) Establish[es] the acts, actions, behavior, or conditions which constitute violations," and (2) Establish[es] reasonable standards and procedures for enforcement of the nuisance code." Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 82.705.82.710. Plaintiffs complain that the nuisance provisions of the ordinance fail to meet these requirements and are therefore illegal. However, as discussed in section I.B.3, supra, the ordinance's definition of "nuisance" is perfectly comprehensible, laying out the acts in question by means of a series of examples that serve to guide interpretation of the definition's more general language. Nothing in this definition violates the guidelines set down by the Kentucky abatement of nuisances statute.
12 - Plaintiffs also claim that the state has occupied the field of "animal bite reporting," thereby preempting § 91.075. But the fact that the state requires some professionals to report a dog bite to local health authorities surely does not prevent a municipality from seeking that information from other sources.
13 - Plaintiffs contend that the vaccination reporting requirement pertains, not to health and safety, but to tax collection. Even supposing this to be true, collection of fees is surely a legitimate government purpose. Most importantly, the ordinance's reporting requirement is not in conflict with state law, regardless of its ultimate purpose.
* * *
A separate order in conformity with this opinion will be entered this date.
Charles R. Simpson III, Judge, United States District Court
October 1, 2009