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In re Disposition of Molly

May 2, 2006

IN THE MATTER OF THE DISPOSITION OF MOLLY, A GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER OWNED BY WILLIAM FREDERICK KLUMPP, JR.


Ramsey County District Court File No. CX-05-915.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. A city lacks authority to bring an action to enforce a non-self-executing statutory provision if the city has not adopted a procedure for the provision's implementation.

2. Absent fact or opinion evidence that death would have occurred as a natural consequence of the attack, a dog that is euthanized after being attacked by another dog has not been "killed" by the other dog within the meaning of Minn. Stat. § 347.50, subd. 2(2) (2004).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Collins, Judge

Reversed

Collins, Judge*fn1

Dissenting, Minge, Judge

Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge; Randall, Judge; and Collins, Judge.

OPINION

Appellant challenges the district court's order designating his dog a "dangerous dog" under Minn. Stat. § 347.50, subd. 2(2) (2004). Because we conclude that (1) respondent lacked legal authority to bring an action under the statute and (2) it cannot be concluded from the record that appellant's dog "killed" the other dog within the plain meaning of the statute, we reverse the designation.

FACTS

Appellant William Frederick Klumpp, Jr., owns Molly, a German shorthaired pointer that weighs approximately 60 pounds. On the afternoon of October 24, 2004, Molly escaped from her kennel in the yard of Klumpp's Arden Hills home and ran onto a neighboring property belonging to Paul and Linda Mertensotto, who were in the yard with their six-pound dog, Scooter. Molly grasped Scooter by the head with her mouth and shook her back and forth. After extricating Scooter from Molly, the Mertensottos took her to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Clinic. The examining veterinarian's report states that upon arrival, Scooter had "severe head trauma," was "almost comatose," and was hemorrhaging from the mouth and nose. The report further states that when the veterinarian "requested permission [to insert an] IV catheter to begin stabilization [the Mertensottos] declined and elected for euthanization."

After the Mertensottos reported the incident, the City of Arden Hills (Arden Hills) moved the district court for an order requiring Klumpp to appear and show cause why Molly should not be designated a dangerous dog under Minn. Stat. § 347.50, subd. 2(2) (2004). The district court issued the show-cause order.

At the hearing, Arden Hills acknowledged that its city code does not provide for a dangerous-dog designation and that it had not adopted any procedure to enforce the statutory dangerous-dog provision, which is not by its terms self-executing. Arden Hills explained that it was proceeding along the lines set forth in its vicious-dog ordinance, which provides that when the city seeks to have a dog declared "vicious," it "shall petition the appropriate court for a summons directing the owner of the dog to appear ...


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