Saturday, January 5, 2008
UPDATED: 1/18/08: In the second time this week, a constitutional challenge has been filed in federal court against laws that regulate pit bulls. In this instance, a challenge has been filed concerning ordinances that ban pit bulls in four central Arkansas cities. Responsible Owners of Arkansas Dogs (ROADS) is behind the court filing. Roger Schnyer, the founder and director of ROADS claims that such bans are enacted without "proper legal input."
In the instance of Lonoke, Arkansas, City Attorney Randy Grice (who is by definition a proper legal advisor) drafted the ban on pit bulls based upon legislation that has been upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court. Mr. Grice said: "We relied heavily on Maumelle’s city ordinance, which was upheld as constitutional by the Arkansas Supreme Court. We went to great lengths to ensure due process is met. We didn’t just haphazardly draw this up."
“We went to great lengths to ensure due process is met,” Grice said. “We didn’t just haphazardly draw this up.” Under the policy, a pet dog that is considered a banned breed is euthanized only when an owner fails to come get it after it has been seized, Grice said. Owners who claim their dogs aren’t allowed to keep them in the city limits. Grice said the seizure process includes “several notices” sent to the owner and does not occur in simply a matter of days.State Supreme Courts that have upheld breed-specific laws include: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Similarly, North Little Rock’s animal control director, Billy Grace, said the previous city attorney assured him that the pitbull ban “has been upheld all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court.” Grace said that since his city’s enactment of the ban in 2004, “We have picked those things up left and right.... It’s probably the best thing we’ve ever done.” He said he has sympathy for the dogs, who often have ended up in the hands of unscrupulous owners, and that irresponsible owners, in fact, are the reason for the ban.
--snip-- News articles dating back to 2005 indicate that pit-bull bans or restrictions apply in North Little Rock, Sherwood, Maumelle, Pine Bluff, Lonoke, Jacksonville, Mc-Gehee, Des Arc, Hot Springs and Beebe. Earlier this month, Little Rock officials discussed regulating ownership of the dogs and classifying them as a dangerous breed without enacting an outright ban. - Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 31, 2007
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| 1/10/2008 6:05 AM |
Dogs are property and may be regulated by legislatures via the US Constitution. The law is already settled on this matter.
In Sentell v. New Orleans & Carrollton Railroad, 166 U.S. 698, 702 (1897), the U.S. Supreme Court declared that “even if it were assumed that dogs are property in the fullest sense of the word, they would still be subject to the police power of the state and might be destroyed or otherwise dealt with as in the judgment of the legislature is necessary for the protection of its citizens.”
Additionally, the US Southern District Court found in Vanater v. Village of South Point, 717 F. Supp. 1236 (S.D. Ohio 1989)... "The Court finds that the Ordinance is a reasonable response to the special threat presented by the Pit Bull dog breed based upon their phenotypical characteristics and the traits which have been bred into the breed by their owners in order that the animals may suit the purposes of their owners. The evidence indicates that Pit Bulls possess the inherent characteristics of exceptional aggression, athleticism, strength, viciousness and unpredictability which are unique to the breed; they possess an extraordinary fighting temperament and have been shown to be the most tenacious dog of any breed; they have a history of unpredictably and instantaneously attacking in a berserk and frenzied rage and have the ability to inflict significant damage upon their victims. While this description is not true of every Pit Bull, the Court must defer to the legislature's consideration of the conflicting positions. This Court should not substitute its judgment for the reasoned findings and decision of the Village of South Point Council."
| 2/27/2008 1:52 AM |
And gee, this recent ruling settles things now doesn't it?
United States Supreme Court Leaves Intact Ohio Supreme Court’s Ruling that Breed-Specific Legislation is Constitutional
| 2/27/2008 2:22 AM |
It seems Roger Schnyer from ROADS, used to be aligned with Cherie Graves from RDOWS, but they had a little tit-for-tat over exactly who could sign their names to this outlandish legislation --These guys even argue about who gets to be on the losing side!
Public statements lead to squabble among dog lovers
"On the other hand, Schnyer said he resigned (from RDOWS) on his own after refusing to take the statements back. “I have the constitutional right to freedom of speech,” said Schnyer, “that is the very same constitution we are using to overturn breed specific legislation. Nobody is going to censor me.”
Schnyer also refused to comply with another request of RDOWS including adding their name to the federal suit. Graves said RDOWS has helped Schnyer with the federal case by providing training, research, secretarial help, press releases and $200 in seed money.
“We’ve had other dog-interest organizations contact us and they have a agreed to step in and help with our federal suit,” said Schnyer, who said he would be returning the seed money to RDOWS. “The lawsuit is solid.”