Dangerous Dog Ordinance Deemed Unconstitutional
December 06, 2011
A dangerous dog ordinance in Pierce County, Washington, was ruled unconstitutional by a state appeals court this week.
According to the court opinion, the law, which is designed to protect the public from harm, deprives dog owners of their constitutional due process rights.
The law allowed the county to charge a fee to dog owners who requested a hearing to challenge their dogs' designation as "dangerous."
The court ruled that the fees are unconstitutional because dog owners who cannot afford to pay may be deprived of their due process right to challenge the designation of their dogs as dangerous.
County Auditor Julie Anderson said the county has stopped collecting fees from dog owners seeking a hearing and will refund fees to those who have already paid them but are still awaiting a hearing.
Anderson said the county plans to appeal the ruling.