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Blizzard: Pay-to-Play Regime for Dangerous Dog Appeals Declared Unconstitutional. Downey v. Pierce Cy., --- P.3d ---, 2011 WL 5931911 (Div. II, Nov. 29, 2011)

In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeals declared unconstitutional Pierce County’s “pay-to-play” procedural framework for dangerous animal appeals. No longer may Pierce County charge $250 for a first-level contested hearing before an auditor’s designee who applies an unconstitutional standard of proof, and then $500 for a de novo second-level contested hearing before the hearing examiner applying an unconstitutional scope of appellate review simply for the dog owner to have the ability to challenge the unilateral determination of animal control deeming her dog dangerous or potentially dangerous.

At issue was a Great Pyrenees named Blizzard, alleged to have killed a  neighbor’s Pomeranian. Ms. Downey repeatedly professed her dog’s innocence and, finally, a unanimous three-judge appellate panel agreed, reversing with prejudice the designation of Blizzard as dangerous.

The published in part decision is attached for viewing by the public. (1.40 MB/pdf)


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