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Vicious Dog Roundup - Des Moines

Discussion in 'Laws & Legislation' started by Judy, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Luigi

    Luigi Top Dog

    Wait . . . I just noticed you're from the Ukraine?? I have no idea how things work there, lol . . .
  2. Sid Finster

    Sid Finster Big Dog

    The reason the redlining suits were successful was because the redlining used an impermissible category (race), which the courts held violated the XIV Amendment.

    The problem is that the XIV Amendment doesn't apply to dogs. As long as the insurance companies don't use an impermissible category in setting rates for homeowners' policies, they can charge pitbull owners more if they want to.
  3. Sid Finster

    Sid Finster Big Dog

    The Massachusetts BSL being overturned was on vaguness grounds - the Mass. Supreme Court did NOT state that BSL itself was unconstitutional, merely that that particular law was impermissibly vague. Furthermore, that decision is binding only within Massachusetts, and nowhere else.

    As far as due process, all that means is that, in confisating your property (a dog), the authorities have to follow established procedure. The upshot is that if you dog is confiscated, you can challenge the decision in court, including possible constitutional challenges to the law. Fine. That doesn't mean that constitutional challenges will be successful.

    "Due process" doesn't grant you the right to own a dog or anything else.

    Yes, I live in Ukraine. That does not mean I don't know whereof I speak regarding U.S. law.
  4. catcher T

    catcher T CH Dog

  5. Luigi

    Luigi Top Dog

    Pardon me---I meant the SJC, not the Federal Court, (and I corrected it in my previous posts so as not pass along the wrong info.). You are right that it is only applicable in Massachusetts. I think, however, if you read the case, it's a good argument for other bsl. There was more to it being overturned than "vagueness." The basis for which it was overturned was actually very reasonable and quite helpful to other bsl lawsuits, in my opinion.

    Due process isn't about ownership of anything. Due process simply protects your rights and liberties.

    Are you a lawyer?

    You're right that there are no guarantees if you enter a courtroom. I don't give up very easily when I feel strongly about something, so I'd be willing to give it a try. ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2005
  6. Tiara

    Tiara Big Dog


    The village of Westbury's Village Justice, Thomas F. Liotti, struck down a village which prohibited pit bulls in the village. He found that the law was in violation of the state law, and unconstitutioal under the fifth and fourteenth amendments
  7. Luigi

    Luigi Top Dog

    Very nice. Thanks much.

    My point is that it is indeed unconstitutional. I can certainly play devil's advocate and explain how I could punch holes in a case if I were trying to implement bsl, and obviously there has been alot of success in implementing it---sadly. However, I do think it's possible to fight it, and the Massachusetts case I am referring to has many good points that would apply anywhere---even outside of Massachusetts. The case specifically states that "there is no scientific means, by blood, enzyme, or otherwise, to determine whether a dog belongs to a particular breed, regardless of whether 'breed' is used in a formal sense or not." The ruling does mention "vagueness," but the ruling also states "unconstitutional vagueness." This would be true regardless of where you live, and would certainly be a good starting point for anyone trying to fight bsl in their area.
  8. Sid Finster

    Sid Finster Big Dog

    Luigi - why do you say BSL is unconstitutional? Simply saying BSL violates, for instance, due process doesn't tell me how, in your opinion, BSL violates due process.

    Tiara: Was the Westbury Village Court decision appealed? If so, has there been a result? Anyway, without the text of Judge Liotti's decision, I can't tell what his rationale was, or give any opinion as to whether the decision might be upheld or have any persuasive value outside of Westbury Village.

    Anyway, the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision is only of persuasive value outside of Massachusetts. Other courts are not bound to agree with the Massachusetts court's logic. Outside of that state, far as I can tell (having not studied the issue in any great depth) the courts have pretty consistently upheld BSL as an exercise of police power. Not always, but the trend is to uphold.

    "Police power" has nothing to do with the police department, but refers to the general power of state legislatures (and by extension, local governments) to pass laws, which in the opinion of those legislatures, may be useful to protect the health, safety or morals of the citizens. Unless the law touches on a constitutionally protected category of citizens (such as race), or infringes a constitutionally-protected right (such as freedom of the press) the Constitution lets state legislatures pretty much do what they want.

    Even laws which classify based on race, etc., or which regulate constitutional rights may be permitted, however they are scrutinized more closely.
  9. Sid Finster

    Sid Finster Big Dog

    And if you want to know how things work here in Ukraine - far as I know, there is no BSL. Not that it matters, you can do practically anything you want, as long as you pay your bribes.

    However, the police can pretty much do anything they want, up to and including pulling random cars over and demanding money from the driver. The police have been known to do this at gunpoint, but most of the time this is not necessary. People know what they have to do.

    We have no shortage of vicious dogs of various breeds. Rotties are probably the most popular breed, or German Shepherd-type dogs. APBTs and AmStaffs are popular among Mafia-types, often (but not always) ill-bred and poorly trained.
  10. TrubsDiary

    TrubsDiary Banned

    I have a question... i'm not very smart about things like this, but one thing dosen't make sence. Everybody remembers the Boudroux (sp?) thing that happened a while ago. Are they still fighting the courts? And if Floyd and Guy were entitled "Due process" then how come their dogs were destroyed almost immedatley? What happens if the courts were to find them not guilty? the dogs are already dead? Shouldn't the courts have waited to destroy the dogs until after Floyd and Guy were proven guilty of whatever they were charged with? Maybe i missed something in all the chaos surrounding the case.. if so please let me know... it scares me to think that you can be charged w/ something, and before you are found innocent or guilty, your dogs are treated as guilty and destroyed.
  11. Luigi

    Luigi Top Dog

    You're very smart on this. I agree with you. I have no opinions on this man either way, because I did not know him, but this was just wrong, and now it's too late.

    Innocent until proven guilty??? Apparently not in that case.

    You've hit the nail right on the head as to why all this bsl bothers me so bad. Look at Denver. People having family pets pulled out of theirs arms?? No questions asked?! Who's deciding which blocky headed dogs are pitbulls?

    I know these situations are happening, but that doesn't make them right, and if it happens to them, it can happen to you and I. It is very scary.
  12. Luigi

    Luigi Top Dog

    This is interesting---Thanks, I was going to ask you about the Ukraine.

    I will gather my thoughts for you on why I feel bsl is unconstitutional and post shortly . . .
  13. Tiara

    Tiara Big Dog

  14. Luigi

    Luigi Top Dog

    I'm sorry, I didn't even see that you had posted this. Thank you.

    Sid---I'm at a loss explaining why I think bsl is unconstitutional to you. It's unconstitutional in so many ways. Dogs are property---5th Amendment says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process. Where's the due process in Denver? Where's the due process in that Boudreaux case?

    Regarding "police powers"---I am hearing this phrase used as the explanation for why the police are being allowed to enter people's homes and take their dogs, depriving people of some many rights. If you are in your home, probable cause is not enough for police to enter your home---certainly not enough to then remove your property.

    I don't know . . . I could go on and on. I'm not very good at debating in writing.

    Bottom line: Bsl comes to my town, I will go to court and I will win. Nothing less is acceptable to me.
  15. ScrappyDoo

    ScrappyDoo Top Dog

    Well said Luigi!
  16. Judy

    Judy CH Dog

    And I'll be right behind you ;)
  17. Sid Finster

    Sid Finster Big Dog

    Now I see where you are confused. Due Process only applies to court or police procedures (there are some exceptions, but good luck getting the courts on your side in this case). If your property is seized by a government official, and you believe that the seizure was unlawful, you can sue for the return of your property.

    The Due Process you are referring to only peripherally applies to the act of making law. In other words, the legislature, city council, whatever, can pass a law declaring possession of a particular type of property (say, dope) illegal without violating Due Process. And the cops can seize your dope without violating DP, so long as they follow proper procedure in doing so. For instance, by obtaining a warrant.

    As far as seizing dogs goes - typically the police get a warrant (probable cause) or they use hot pursuit or plain view. Precedent is clear on that. I do not know the specifics of the Boudreaux case, but I suspect that the police obtained a search warrant and used it to search Boudreaux premises. Upon finding dogs (as described in the warrant) the cops seized them as evidence.

    All of which is perfectly legal and comports with procedural Due Process. Should Mr. Boudreaux beat the charges against him, he can try and obtain return of his canine property.

    Far as fighting BSL-good luck. You'd be better advised to try and fight the passing of BSL, because if you try and fight it in the courts, you are much more likely to lose.
  18. Luigi

    Luigi Top Dog

    The dogs being seized in Denver are not being seized by use of a warrant, and the police are not "typically" using warrants to seize dogs many other places where bsl has been implemented, (bsl which is allowing seizure).

    I'm pretty sure I'm o.k. with my understanding of the law. ;)

    Mr. Boudreaux's dogs are dead.

    I will never help to implement bsl, and losing isn't an option for me.
  19. Sid Finster

    Sid Finster Big Dog

    Tiara: I am reading the analysis, the author makes a nice try, but I don't think her arguments will hold up. I do not have time to dissect it point by point, but: substantive due process arguments (holding that dog ownership is akin to a fundamental right) are generally disfavored. If there is some kind of fundamental right to own the dog of your choice, why not also a right to own a tiger? Yet dangerous animal laws remain on the books.

    Nor do dogs enjoy equal protection rights. The best horse in the stable is to argue that existing BSL is unconstitutionally vague. The problem here is that it doesn't argue that BSL itself is unconstitutional, only that existing laws in their current form are unconstitutional. Basically, you challenge the legislature to build a better mousetrap.

    Your own arguments grounded in "right to contract" or "right to travel" or "right to choose where to live" are also non-starters. These rights really don't grant you much - you can still travel or live where you want, as long as you follow the law whereever you are. For instance, there are "dry" counties out there, where buying or possessing alcohol is illegal. You can't contract to buy alcohol there, or bring booze in, but that doesn't mean you cannot travel to these counties or live there. You just have to leave the hooch elsewhere or go somewhere else where the laws are to your taste.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2005
  20. catcher T

    catcher T CH Dog

    did you attach smarties to your pants? I guess it would come down to individual cases and laws in that area. I am sure they would run you out of money before you would win.

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