Real Bite: Legal Realism and Meaningful Rational Basis in Dog Law and Beyond
60 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2017 Last revised: 22 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 1, 2016
On August 5, 2002, the City of Toledo, Ohio issued a warrant for the arrest of resident Paul Tellings on the charge of violating the limitation on harboring vicious dogs. Both the Toledo ordinance and Ohio state law in effect in 2002 labeled “pit bull” type dogs per se vicious purely based on their visual identification. Toledo’s ordinance specifically limited citizens to only one “vicious” dog per household. During a routine lead-based paint inspection in Tellings’s home, the health inspector noted three dogs that looked like pit bulls in the household, reported it to the dog warden, and set in motion a legal action that proceeded all the way through the state’s highest court, and ended in a denial of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court.
Keywords: animal law, pet law, dog law, legal realism, canine breed-specific laws, judicial review, rational basis analysis, 14th Amendment
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