- Created on 05 August 2010
- Last Updated on 17 March 2014
- Written by Fred M. Kray
- Hits: 1773
The warrantless seizure argument was raised by Adam Karp in Downey v. Pierce County (click the link to view full legal argument). As in most cases, Animal Control seizes the dog based on whatever information it has and before any hearing. The seizure of property is made without a warrant and without probable cause established by a neutral magistrate. Again, as in most Dangerous Dog ordinances, the officers are given broad unfettered authority to seize a dog if they believe there is probable cause to believe a dog has committed an offense within the defintion of the ordinance.
In Downey, Mr. Karp argues that there was no probable cause at the time the seizure was made, because there was nobody who had properly indentified the dog "Blizzard" as the culprit. He goes on to cite several cases that discuss warrantless seizures in other contexts, concluding that the seizure in Downey was not justified.
It is a good argument, I think, but falls on deaf ears because by the time it is raised the dog has been seized, impounded and classified as dangerous. We will follow this argument as it winds through the appellate process.
Applicable Case Law
Louisville Kennel Club v. Louisville County Metro Government, 2009 WL 3210690 (W.D. Ky 2009) - Found troubling the provisions of the ordinance as it expressly authorized seizure of a dog found in violation of the ordinance without a warrant. The County acknowledged that they were bound by the Fourth Amendment in seizing dogs pursuant to the ordinance which would require a warrant. The court affirmed that the Fourth Amendment applied to seizures under the ordinance.