Friday, June 5, 2009
Reprieve For Kane the Dog -- Bigger Ramifications
I represented the owner of the dog that was ordered to be euthanized by the BOS for his attack on a horse. There are only TWO bases for a reversal of the BOS order: 1) that the order was an improper order; and 2) that the order was issued in bad faith.
My argument was the following:
1. That there was no fair hearing because the BOS has no rules for hearings and the taking and presenting of evidence. The BOS letter confirming that fact was placed in evidence.
2. The hearing was done by ambush, as none of the evidence to be presented was given to the dog owner prior to the hearing, and the motion to euthanize was made and accepted prior to the hearing being closed, and before the owner was able to present further evidence.
3. The order was in bad faith as it ignored the reccommendation of the ACO, was baased on the presonal prejudices and irrelevant experiences of two Selectmen relating to a dog that was not the dog at issue.
4. The order violated the Mass General Laws regarding the killing of a dog that has worried or killed livestock or fowl. There are specific rules in place and steps and protections to be followed, which the BOS ignored.
Today, the order to euthanize the dog was reversed, although there was no indication which ground, or whether both grounds were the basis of the reversal of the BOS order.
At a minimum, it was my impression that the lack of rules for a hearing as well as the lack of disclosure to the owner of the evidence against the dog prior to hearing was a factor in the reversal. Nobody likes a process without rules and well defined protections for the people appearing before a Board--except our BOS.
Today it is the reversal of a dog order, tommorrow, it may be the reversal of a more significant order based on the lack of due process and the lack of any procedures. Isn't it just easier to put some rules in place and to foster fair hearings rather than hang on to some outdated concept of a benevolent dictatorship. Food for thought.
Posted by AMB at 11:29 AM