This morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided what could be the “dog-gonest case ever” to reach a federal appellate court, O’Neill v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government. Judge Gilman’s opinion for the court begins:
This is perhaps the dog-gonest case ever to reach a federal appellate court. In October 2008, several uniformed officers of the Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) intruded into the O’Neills’ home without a warrant and without consent, confiscated the O’Neills’ two adult dogs and the dogs’ litter of seven puppies, neutered and spayed the adult dogs and implanted microchips in all nine animals, and then required the O’Neills to pay over $1,000 to retrieve them, all without any formal charges ever being lodged against the O’Neills.
The district court dismissed all of the O’Neills’ constitutional and state-law claims arising out of this incident, concluding that the O’Neills were operating an unlicensed Class A kennel in violation of the City’s animal-control ordinance, and that none of their constitutional or state-law claims had merit. For the reasons set forth below, we reinstate the majority of the O’Neills’ claims and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.