Jurisdiction As A Defense
- Created on 03 October 2010
- Last Updated on 24 April 2014
- Written by Fred M. Kray
- Hits: 1715
Jurisdiction—The First Defense
The first issue to consider in any dangerous dog case, is whether the governmental authority has jurisdiction to seize, impound and classify the dog. If you live in the City of Ocala, for example, Marion County Animal Control has no right to seize or classify your dog pursuant to the Marion County Ordinance. This is because the municipality of Ocala has enacted it's own dangerous dog law. To make a determination about who has proper jurisdiction, it is necessary to:
1. Examine the Ordinances in both the City and the County. Does the City incorporate the County law? Does the County law and City law conflict?
2. The charters of both the City and County must be examined to determine whether the County charter mandates that the City law is superior.
3. Check to make sure there are no inter-agency or agreement between the City and County regarding furnishing animal control services.
4. Check with the City and County to determine if there is a policy, procedure, or course of conduct such that the County enforces the City law, or if the County enforces the County law in the City.
Why is this important? Because if the City has a less restrictive ordinance than the County, you might be better off with classification by the City. If the County has already started their proceedings, you can contest their jurisdiction through a Writ of Replevin, Motion For Stay, and if all else fails prior to the appellate process, a Writ of Prohibition.
The Writ of Prohibition basically contests jurisdiction, and requests the Court to order that the dog be returned to the proper jurisdiction. More on this soon.