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Court cases
to aid your battle against BSL
 

If you are interested in additional information regarding any of the below cases, please contact me.
 
 
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
The Court held that dogs qualify as property protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
How does this case help you?  The U.S. Constitution guarantees that you shall not be deprived of your property without due process.  BSL deems all dogs of a particular breed as "dangerous" or "vicious."  As such, owners are not provided the opportunity to dispute or offer proof that that their dog (their "property") is not dangerous.  Dog owners of this particular breed are automatically subject to the law and, thus, are deprived of constitutionally guaranteed due process.  
 
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Carter v. Metro North Associates (1999)
Supreme Court of New York
The Court ruled that courts cannot take judicial notice of a dog breed's particiular behavior when a dog's "propensities" are not "authoritatively settled."
How does this case help you?  In plain English, this simply means that a court cannot rule your dog vicious simply due to its breed.  The court cannot say, "Oh, its a pit bull, it must be dangerous."  Proof of the dog's dangerous propensities must be offered. 
 
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City of Huntsville v. Sheila Tack, et al. (2003)
Supreme Court of Alabama
The Court affirmed the lower courts ruling that pit bulls are not inherently dangerous.  
How does this case  help you?  This is our "landmark" case.  It doesn't get any better than this with respect to countering the myth that pit bulls are born mean.   
 
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Supreme Court of Ohio
The Court determined that the statute that penalizes owners of dangerous dogs who fail to buy liability insurance and properly confine their dogs was unconstitutional for failure to provide due process.
How does this case help you?  See above under Altman v. High Point.
 
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Attorneys for Mr. Telling appealed the Ohio Supreme Court's decision to the United States Supreme Court.  Certiorari was denied in February 2008.  The decision stands. 
 
 
City of Toledo v. Paul Tellings (2007)
2006-0690. Toledo v. Tellings, 2007-Ohio-3724.
On April 4, 2007, the Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the the Tellings case.  The City of Toledo appealed the Appellate Court's ruling finding breed specific legislation to be unconstitutional.  (You can watch the hearing via this link:  Ohio Supreme Court video archive )
 
On August 1, 2007, the Supreme Court issued an Opinion which overturned the Appellate Court's ruling effectively upholding Ohio's biased law against "pit bulls."   Specifically, the Ohio Supreme Court held that "the State of Ohio and City of Toledo have a legitimate interest in protecting citizens from the dangers associated with pit bulls," and that the laws were rationally related to that interest and were, in fact, constitutional. 
 
It is fully expected that with this Opinion in hand, cities across the State of Ohio will fall like dominos to breed specific legislation targeted primarily at "pit bull." 
 
 
City of Toledo v. Paul Tellings (2006)
Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth Appellate District, Lucas County
On March 3, 2006, the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, in and for Lucas County, issued an opinion in the case of City of Toledo v. Paul Tellings.  The court's ruling is monumental to the fight against BSL as it found breed specific legislation to be unconstitutional and it rendered expert testimony that was both relevent and up-to-date, dispelling many of the past notions on pit bulls and BSL.
 
 
 
 
Tellings v. City of Toledo (2004)
Toledo Municipal Court
**Please be careful if using this case.  The plaintiff lost and BSL was ruled constitutional, but the Court determined several important points in our favor.** 
 
Positive findings of this case:
*Gives pit bull owners the ability to challenge the law by rebutting the prima facie evidence that pit bull are dangerous, thus relieving them from restrictions.  Plain EnglishPrima facie is a Latin term meaning "on its face."  This goes back to owners being deprived of due process as a dog is deemed dangerous "on its face," i.e., due to its breed and not due to its actions.
 
*Sets forth that there is no scientific evidence to confirm that the pit bull's bite is any more powerful (in terms of PSI) than any other breed of dog.
 
*Determined that there is little, if any, evidence presented that would indicate that the breed itself is a dangerous breed when trained and adapted in a social situation.
 
*There is no stastical evidence that indicates that pit bulls bite more frequently than some other breeds of dogs.
 
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Zuniga v. County of San Mateo Department of Health Services (1990)
California Court of Appeals
The Court found that pit bulls are not inherently dangerous.
How does this case help you?  Again, this ruling dispells the myth that pit bulls are born mean.