Youngstown, Ohio High court upholds claim against Youngstown

Pits in the news and info on Breed Specific Legislation.

Postby cheekymunkee » June 27th, 2008, 12:10 am

High court upholds claim against Youngstown vicious dog law

Published:Thursday, June 26, 2008


YOUNGSTOWN — A lower appellate court ruling that reversed a man’s conviction under the city’s vicious dog ordinance will be appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, a prosecutor said.

Three judges from the 7th District Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision, said the city ordinance did not provide Jammie Traylor, or other dog owners, with a meaningful opportunity to challenge the labeling of dogs as vicious. In his appeal, Traylor’s lawyer had argued that the ordinance violated his client’s right to due process.

The General Assembly has classified pit bull dogs as vicious. Traylor had two Cane Corsos, an Italian mastiff breed.

Traylor’s case did not involve pit bulls and the city’s vicious dog ordinance does not contain a classification of Cane Corso as vicious, the appellate judges said in their decision. Ruling on Traylor’s case were Judges Mary DeGenaro, Joseph J. Vukovich and Cheryl L. Waite.

“In reviewing the decision of the 7th District and similar decisions from other appellate districts around the state, it is clear to me that this court lost its way and reached the wrong conclusion,” city Prosecutor Jay Macejko said Wednesday. “It is my intention to appeal this matter to the Ohio Supreme Court so that they can rectify this unfortunate decision.”

Macejko said the city has no plans to change the ordinance at this point.

Judge DeGenaro, who wrote the opinion, said Wednesday that the court typically does not comment — it speaks through its written opinions. If a party disagrees with an opinion, they seek review by the Supreme Court, she said.

The judge called Macejko’s comment a respectful critique, adding he is taking the appropriate course of action.

In May 2006, a municipal court jury found Traylor, 21, of Youngstown, guilty of two misdemeanors that involved owning or harboring vicious dogs, both Cane Corsos. He was represented by Struthers attorney James E. Lanzo.

In June 2007, Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly sentenced Traylor to 90 days in jail, fined him $750 and placed him on two years’ probation. He was in jail from June 15, 2007, until released pending appeal June 21, 2007, the jail said.

Lanzo said earlier this week that the judges didn’t go as far as to say the ordinance is unconstitutional.

The ordinance, he said, does not allow for due process as does the separate ordinance that deals with pit bulls. That ordinance requires owners to have liability insurance and protective pens.

At Traylor’s trial last year, jurors heard testimony from a retired firefighter bitten by a Cane Corso while walking his small dog near Mill Creek Park in April 2007.

A Mill Creek MetroParks police officer used a shotgun to kill one Cane Corso on Canfield Road. The second dog, also a Cane Corso, ran near Kiawatha Drive and was shot and killed by a city patrolman. ... oungstown/

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