Thursday, May 23, 2013

Vanater v. Village of South Point case brief

Vanater v. Village of South Point case brief
717 F.Supp. 1236

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff dog owner brought an action against defendant village seeking a declaratory judgment and a permanent injunction by which he challenged the constitutionality of Ordinance Number 87-6 of the Village of South Point (Ohio), which prohibited ownership or harboring of Pit Bull Terriers or other vicious jobs in the limits of the village.

FACTS: The village argued that the ordinance in question was passed as a valid exercise of its police power. It was established that property of citizens was held subject to the general police power of the state and could be regulated by the state. Ohio Const. Art. I, § 19 provided that personal property rights were subordinated to the general welfare. Control of dogs fell within the police power over public health and safety. Though citizens could not be deprived of property without process and assuming dogs to be property, the court still found that they were subject to the police power where they jeopardized public health or safety. Legislation passed to protect the public safety had a strong presumption of constitutionality. The constitutionality test in such a case was whether the legislation had a rational relation to a legitimate governmental interest. The ordinance was reasonable considering the special threat posed by Pit Bulls. The ordinance provided a meaningful standard and was not vague and there was no arbitrary distinction between Pit Bulls and other dogs. Finally, the statute was not overbroad and did not pose difficulties in enforcement that unduly burdened dog owners.

CONCLUSION: The court upheld the constitutionality of Ordinance Number 87-6 of the Village of South Point (Ohio).

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