MARVIN B. PFLAUM, et al. Appellants
SUMMIT COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL Appellee
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE STOW MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 2015 CVH 2074
APPEARANCES: JEFFREY HOLLAND and DANAMARIE K. PANNELLA,
Attorneys at Law, for Appellants.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and COLLEEN SIMS,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
J. CARR JUDGE.
Appellant, Marvin Pflaum, appeals the judgment of the Stow
Municipal Court. This Court reverses and remands.
On July 13, 2015, Trixie Cleminshaw returned to her Hudson
home after a bicycle ride and heard two dogs engaged in a
quarrel. Upon exiting the garage, Cleminshaw observed two
neighborhood dogs fighting near the street. Cleminshaw
attempted to intervene by separating the larger dog, Edwin,
from its smaller counterpart, Rudy. Cleminshaw was able to
break up the fight, but not before Edwin bit her once on the
One week after the incident, the Deputy Dog Warden issued a
notice to Edwin's owner, Pflaum, stating that the Summit
County Animal Control had reasonable cause to believe that
Edwin was a dangerous dog. Pflaum filed a written request for
a hearing pursuant R.C. 955.222(C), triggering a hearing
before a magistrate where Animal Control had the burden of
demonstrating that Edwin was a dangerous dog. The magistrate
determined that Edwin did not meet the statutory definition
of a "[d]angerous dog" pursuant to R.C.
955.11(A)(1)(a). Animal Control filed timely objections to
the magistrate's decision. Animal Control then filed a
supplemental brief and attached the hearing transcript.
Pflaum filed a brief in opposition to the objections. On July
7, 2016, the trial court issued an order overturning the
magistrate's decision on the basis that Animal Control
demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that Edwin was
a dangerous dog.
On appeal, Pflaum raises one assignment of error.
TRIAL COURT ERRED BY REVERSING THE MAGISTRATE'S DECISION
FINDING THAT THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THAT APPELLANT'S
DOG MET THE STATUTORY DEFINITION OF "DANGEROUS DOG"
BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE.
In his sole assignment of error, Pflaum argues that the trial
court abused its discretion when it reversed the