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City of Steubenville v. Thorne

November 25, 2008

CITY OF STEUBENVILLE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DANIEL THORNE, SR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



CHARACTER OF PROCEEDINGS: Criminal Appeal from Steubenville Municipal Court, Jefferson County, Ohio, Case No. 07 CRB 00966.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: DeGenaro, P.J.

OPINION

JUDGMENT: Affirmed.

JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Joseph J. Vukovich.

{¶1} This timely appeal comes for consideration upon the record in the trial court and appellant's brief. Defendant-Appellant, Daniel Thorne, Sr., appeals the decision of the Steubenville Municipal Court that found him guilty of harboring a barking or howling dog in violation of a Steubenville Municipal Ordinance.

{¶2} On appeal, Thorne argues that the ordinance in question is vague and overbroad, and that his conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence. The precedent of this court and the Supreme Court of Ohio supports the constitutionality of this ordinance, and Thorne's conviction is based on competent credible evidence. The trial court's decision is affirmed.

Facts

{¶3} Thorne lives in Steubenville, Ohio, and owns five dogs. One of those dogs is left outside in a kennel during the warmer months, while the rest of the dogs are typically kept inside Thorne's home. One of Thorne's neighbors, Christopher Jeyaratnam, made complaints to the police that Thorne's dogs were making excessive noise. This noise had made Jeyaratnam lose sleep and his wife had begun to take antidepressants because of the persistent barking. Jeyaratnam had lodged approximately thirty complaints regarding Thorne's dogs over the past five years.

{¶4} On July 23, 2007, at about 8:30 p.m., Jeyaratnam called the police to complain about Thorne's dogs. An officer arrived on the scene to investigate and recorded barking dogs. The next day, Thorne was served with a citation for violating Steubenville's ordinance against keeping barking dogs.

{¶5} The case eventually was tried to the trial court, where Thorne argued that the ordinance was unconstitutional. After hearing the testimony of numerous witnesses, the trial court found Thorne guilty and ordered that he pay a fifty dollar fine. That sentence was stayed pending appeal.

Ordinance Constitutionality Vague

{¶6} In his first of two assignments of error, Thorne argues:

{ΒΆ7} "The trial court erred in overruling the pro se motion to dismiss the complaint on the basis that the Steubenville ordinance 505.09 is unconstitutionally vague on its face and as applied, and violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of ...


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