Motion Filed to Invalidate Marion County Dangerous Dog Board

Motion Filed to Invalidate Marion County Dangerous Dog Board and to Require Notice of Dangerous Dog Hearing

uluA Motion has been filed in Ulu's case to invalidate Marion County's Dangerous Dog Board and to require notice to owners of their Dangerous Dog hearing. The Motions are to be heard before Judge Futch on June 27, 2011 at 2:30 pm. The Motions will be posted in their entirety on the site shortly.

Marion County's Dangerous Dog Board is unconstitutional, because it contains the same members that sit on the Code Enforcement Board. The Florida Constitution prohibits a person from sitting on more than one board. In addition, it is clear that the Board is usurping the power of Animal Control as set out in County Attorney Fowler's memorandum which formed the basis for the law to be changed and the Dangerous Dog Board to be created. Fowler's memo said that Code Enforcement did not have jurisdiction to classify dogs, because the state statute required animal control to do so.  In an effort to appease the members of Code Enforcement who wanted to retain their power, Fowler compromised and allowed a Dangerous Dog Board to be created, but only in an advisory capacity. It has become clear, however, that Animal Control has simply rubber stamped whatever finding the Dangerous Dog Board has made.  In her deposition, Jill Lancon admitted that she has always followed the Dangerous Dog Board recommendation, that there is no protocol in place to review Board classifications, and that she agreed in a meeting with Joe Krim that she would follow the Board's recommendation.

There is also a constitutional infirmity in both the State statute and the Marion County Ordinance regarding notification to the owner of a Dangerous Dog hearing.  In Ulu's case, Ms. Shaw never received formal notice of her Dangerous Dog hearing, and her attorney found out only because a witness called to say he had been subpoenaed.  Neither the State law nor the Marion County Ordinance require any notice be given to the owner.  I think it is fairly clear that the due process requires notice, and that the Marion County ordinance is unconstitutional in that regard.

Stay tuned.

Dangerous Dog Law

Helping to defend our best friends. Dangerous Dog Law (DDL) focuses on the legal defense of allegedly dangerous dogs. DDL is a member of the Pit Bulletin Legal News Network.

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