Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Garfield Heights Municipal Court Case No. CVH
APPELLANT Tami Ruiz, pro se.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE David J. Matty City of Brecksville Law
Director BY: Sergio I. DiGeronimo City Prosecutor/ Assistant
Law Director City of Brecksville.
BEFORE: E.T. Gallagher, J., McCormack, P.J., and Jones, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
T. GALLAGHER, J.
In this administrative appeal, plaintiff-appellant, Tami
Ruiz, pro se, appeals a judgment of the Garfield Municipal
Court designating her dog a "dangerous dog" under
the Brecksville Codified Ordinances. She raises four
assignments of error:
1. The trial court erred when it denied
plaintiff-appellant's appeal to the Garfield Heights
Municipal Court to dismiss the city of Brecksville's
dangerous dog determination, overruling Ruiz's objections
to the magistrate's decision, and denied Ruiz's
motion for stay because the city of Brecksville presented
inadequate evidence as a matter of law to convict Ruiz. The
dangerous dog determination is a violation of Ruiz's due
process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution and Article I of the Ohio Constitution.
Specifically, the city of Brecksville could not prove the dog
in question (Trucks) bit Ruiz. Ruiz's undisputed
testimony established that she was bitten by the
defendant's witness's dog, Bosley, that the bite
occurred on premises not controlled by Ruiz, that the dog was
not provoked by the neighbor's dog (Bosley McKay), and
that the city's only witness (Lisa McKay) at the incident
was truthful in her testimony.
2. The trial court erred when rendering findings of facts and
conclusions of law, as a matter of facts from the hearing and
testimonies. These findings of facts and conclusions of law
led to the dangerous dog ruling. The facts and conclusions
had multiple errors, including length of residency, amount of
time with partner, type of fence, "multiple bites,
" and some small misheard comments not supported by
3. The trial court erred in failing to stay the judgment
against Ruiz. Ruiz's trial counsel objected to the
magistrate's findings of facts with a motion to dismiss
and a motion to stay, where the undisputed testimony
indicated that Bosley bit Ruiz.
4. The trial court erred by failing to apply provisions of
city of Brecksville ordinances that require lack of
provocation in making the dangerous dog determination.
We find no merit to the appeal and affirm the trial
Facts and Procedural History
In December 2015, the Brecksville Animal Control Officer
determined that three of Ruiz's dogs were "dangerous
dogs" as defined by Brecksville Codified Ordinances
("B.C.O.") 505.17(a)(1). The Brecksville Animal
Appeals Board affirmed the determinations, and Ruiz appealed
the board's decision to the Garfield Heights Municipal
Court, where the court held a de novo hearing on the issue.
At the de novo hearing, Lisa McKay, a Brecksville resident
who lives next door to Ruiz, testified that on December 14,
2015, at approximately 9:30 a.m., she let her dog, Bosley,
out into backyard. The yard is surrounded by a 44-inch tall
wooden stockade fence. Additionally, there is a netted deer
fence within Ruiz's ...