Thursday, May 23, 2013

American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Dade County, Florida case brief

American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Dade County, Fla. case brief
728 F.Supp. 1533

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff association brought an action against defendant county under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 1983-1988 and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C.S. §§ 2201-2202, challenging the constitutionality of Dade County, Fla., Ordinance No. 089-22, regulating the ownership of pit bull dogs. The county requested a stay of the proceeding until a state court had construed the ordinance.

FACTS: The association challenged the constitutionality of the county's ordinance that regulated the ownership of pit bull dogs and required that the dogs be confined, leashed, and muzzled. The association claimed that the definition section of the ordinance was impermissibly vague and that the enforcement section failed to establish guidelines. The parties agreed that the ordinance was otherwise a valid exercise of police power that was rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest. The court exercised jurisdiction because a state court had interpreted a similar statute and the matter presented urgency that militated against delay. The court entered judgment in favor of the county because it found that: 1) the ordinance regulated a group that had special knowledge of the matter being regulated; 2) there was no better method of breed identification than the standards used in the ordinance; 3) the enforcement agency promulgated special standards which reduced the level of precision of definition needed by due process; and 4) the ordinance afforded fair warning of the proscribed conduct.

CONCLUSION: The court entered judgment in favor of the county in the association's pre-enforcement challenge to the constitutionality of the ordinance regulating pit bull dog ownership.

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