Pay To Play

Pay to Play

The concept of "pay to play" originated with Adam Karp, who argued in Downey v. Pierce County  (click on link to read full legal argument)  that the Pierce County Ordinance was unconstitutional as it required a dog owner to "purchase justice." In other words, in order to appeal a dangerous dog determination, the owner has to pay a fee even if indigent. This presents an unconstitutional condition precedent to access to the courts. Mr. Karp's argument was summarily dismissed by the court, and as I understand it, he plans to appeal.  His memorandum of law is well written and cites several cases in other contexts to buttress his argument. 

I argued the same issue in, and since she did not they found the dog dangerous by default.  There should have been a free adversarial hearing in front of the Fire Chief, but they did not provide one.  Thus, Ms. Oliver had to appeal (and pay a fee) in order to get the adversarial hearing she should have had in the first instance.

Applicable Case Law

Washington v. Ramirez - Unreported decision - Argues that requiring a filing fee to defend a dangerous dog classification is unconstitutional.  Order coming soon.

Louisville Kennel Club v. Louisville County Metro Government, 2009 WL 3210690 (W.D. Ky 2009) - The court held that a requirement that a dog owner whose dog had been seized for alleged animal cruelty post a $450.00 bond was unconstitutional because of the risk that the dog owner would permanently lose his dog if he could not post the bond.  The court noted that while there could be probable cause to seize the dog, the owner could very well win the case yet still lose his dog.


Dangerous Dog Law

Helping to defend our best friends. Dangerous Dog Law (DDL) focuses on the legal defense of allegedly dangerous dogs. DDL is a member of the Pit Bulletin Legal News Network.

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