City dog/cat ordinance held constitutional

Patterson v City of Bellmead, No. 10-12-00357-CV (Tex. Civ. App. Waco, March 21, 2013).

This is a challenge to an animal limitation ordinance. The City had an ordinance limiting the total number of cats and dogs at a single location to four.  Plaintiff began a hobby of training and handling show dogs.  At one point they had three horses, sixteen dogs (which later swelled to 30) and two cats.  Instead of complying with the City’s enforcement requests, they filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance. The trial court denied their discovery noting they brought a facial challenge. The trial court then granted the City’s summary judgment motion and the Pattersons appealed.

The 10th Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal holding that large concentrations of dogs can be dangerous, there is no constitutional right to own a certain numbers of animals, and numerous other rational for the regulation of the domestic animals.  The regulation was considered rationally related to various legitimate governmental interests and was therefore constitutional.

Nothing new or significant in terms of the law exists within this case.  However, the case does provide various case law references supporting the power of the City to regulate domestic animals and can be a good reference.

If you would like to read this opinion please click here.

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