Now The Ugly Guys Show Up
Aurora, CO - The American Canine Foundation (ACF), a Washington-based pit bull special interest group, frequently threatens and pursues lawsuits to intimidate city officials who have passed breed-specific laws. The group seems to be in litigation on a constant basis, but has little to show for their efforts. Likely the most significant case they "assisted on" is the Ohio, Tellings case, which recently got overturned by the Ohio State Supreme Court.
The American Canine Foundation is unliked even by some devoted pit bull lovers -- the very people they represent. If one types "American Canine Foundation" or "ACF," into various pit bull forums, you can find deep-seated resentment in the threads. Currently, the group is down in Aurora, suing again and wasting more taxpayers dollars. One would think that every angle of "breed-specific" law that could be litigated in Colorado already has.
In a partial summary judgment order dated May 29, Colorado District Judge Wiley Daniel responded to five separate claims filed against the city of Aurora by Florence Vianzon and the American Canine Foundation. In the order, Daniel found reason to hear arguments for two of the plaintiffs' five claims against the city, specifically that the current ban does not have a legitimate purpose and that it fails to properly compensate an owner for "property seized."
Daniel denied hearing several claims, including that the current ban is overly vague and that it violates state commerce laws and doctrines of separation of state powers (claims Colorado courts have already addressed). The aspects he did choose to hear, however, will be interesting to follow. Daniels wrote that while other cities with similar bans have had to show a direct relationship between pit bulls and a threat to public safety, Aurora relied largely on legal precedents.
City attorney Charlie Richardson said that this week's decision by Daniels will determine the city's strategy in August. He had hoped the whole case would be dismissed, but said, "The stage is now set to have that trial proceed. I think it's only one issue -- will the city prove that pit bulls represent an enhanced threat to public safety." While DogsBite.org is not a legal eagle, it seems there ought to be a precedent in public safety that allows laws to be developed to prevent future tragedies.
02/26/08: United States Supreme Court Leaves Intact Ohio Supreme Court’s Ruling
01/05/08: Arkansas Group (ROADS) Files in Federal Court to Stop Pit Bull Ban