Discussion in 'Dog News and Articles' started by Lilavati, Mar 24, 2011.
Got dog? Texas legislation is gunning for you | PetConnection.com
wow I had not heard about this bill. If I lived there it would certainly make it almost impossible to have my dog. I am for being a responsible dog owner and you should always be aware of possible problems but this is going to far in Government control and I believe will just end up causing more problems.
you're an attorney, so if you wouldn't mind, I'm going to ask your take on this.
I'm inclined to believe that property can not be deemed dangerous just by being. That is the way I understood the law when I read it quite a while ago regarding BSL.
Meaning that a car by nature isn't dangerous. It can be if you repeatedly drive drunk or reckless or speed to much to often or use it in any dangerous manner, it can be taken from you, but it can't be "banned" in society. Now certainly there are restrictions in types that are allowed on streets, but not in what you can own really and it is much easier to define car regulations in that they are pretty exact unlike dog breeds which just in one litter can vary tremendously so there really is no uniform way to accurately guage anything between breeds.
So how come more BSL ordinances aren't contested? Money? Time? nobody really cares? or is it that the law concerning property doesn't really say something can't be deemed dangerous without being used in a dangerous manner?
Like a golden retriever can't be banned because it's dangerous if it's never committed a dangerous act. It can't be deemed dangerous till it does so. But if it does then it can then be deemed dangerous and in effect, ban you from owning that particular one.
That is how I understood the law, but it's been years since I've read it, and even then I wasn't quite sure, and I don't know where to look again. I supposed I could google, but i'm lazy
The thing about dogs being "property" is that they're a bit of a unique type of "property".
A car is dangerous, but it's not likely to be dangerous without a human involved. A dog OTOH can very well go out and bite someone all on his own.
Keep in mind too, I can hit my TV in with a baseball bat and no one cares, and if I starve my plants until they die, that's totally fine also.
Well, there's no simple answer to that question, RTH. There are several reasons why they don't get challanged.
One, very rarely are they enforced against the sort of people who have the resources to fight it. To fight a law like that costs money, and a lot of it . . . or a very determined pro bono lawyer. Moreover, often the dog is killed halfway through the challenge, meaning the court will dismiss it as moot.
Two, in terms of constitutional issues, the key with BSL is something called rational basis review. A town is perfectly free to pass a law banning all dogs. If you don't like it, you can move. (I know that's absurd, but there you go) But to ban some dogs they have to show that all dog owners have "equal protection" under the laws. Unless the equal protection issue involves a distinction that is subject to special scrutiny, such as race, or gender or religious faith, the law is evaluated under what is called a "rational basis" review. Basically, is there a "rational basis" for denying owners of disfavored dog breeds "equal protection" of the laws . . i.e. to discrimate against them by confiscating and destroying thier property?
No, you say, there is no rational basis. I agree. Unfortunately, "rational basis" review is utterly toothless. As long as they can provide a reason, any reason at all, that is not clearly the rantings of a madman, its going to pass the review in most courts. A pile of news articles blaming "pit bulls" for dog bites is enough to pass "rational basis" review in most cases.
Now, some BSL laws have been struck down as "void for vagueness". Laws have to be clear enough that people can know if they are breaking them. So a law banning, say, American Staffordshire Terriers, is not void for vagueness. But a law banning "pit bulls" and giving a description so broad it could apply to dozens of breeds and hordes of mixes can be "void for vagueness" because there's no reliable way to determine if a dog is a "pit bull" so someone might not know they were breaking the law. Moreover, there have been enough DNA tests of purported pit bulls that turned out to be no such thing that some judges have taken notice.
So . .there's the short answer.
short answer? I was hoping for the long
But thank you, it makes more sense now