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City of Dayton v. Patrick

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

January 19, 2018

CITY OF DAYTON Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
LAQUISHA PATRICK Defendant-Appellant

         Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court Trial Court Case No. 2016-CRB-5245

          SHAWN CRAWFORD, Atty. Reg. No. 0095634, Assistant City of Dayton Prosecutor Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          ADAM JAMES STOUT, Atty. Reg. No. 0080334, 5335 Far Hills Attorney for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          TUCKER, J.

         {¶ 1} Laquisha Patrick is the owner of a dog, Nina. Patrick, on July 21, 2016, was at work leaving Nina with her 14 year old son. Nina, while supervised by Patrick's 14 year old son, attacked a neighbor's cat resulting in the cat's death. Patrick, as a result, was charged with a violation of Dayton Revised Code General Ordinance (R.C.G.O.) 91.50(A)(5). The trial court, following a bench trial, found Patrick guilty with this appeal following. We find, contrary to Patrick's argument, that her son's conduct does not insulate her from criminal liability for a violation of R.C.G.O. 91.50(A)(5). We further find that the trial court did not err when it rejected Patrick's affirmative trespass defense.

         Facts

         {¶ 2} It is undisputed that on July 21, 2016 Patrick owned Nina and that on this date Nina attacked and killed a neighbor's cat resulting in Patrick being charged with a violation of R.C.G.O. 91.50(A)(5). However, the circumstances leading to Nina's attack were disputed at trial. Patrick lives at 1253 Vernon Drive, living there with her 14 year old son, her daughter, and her husband. Sisters Patricia and Elizabeth Cooper[1], along with their brother, live at 1254 Vernon Drive which is located directly across the street from Patrick's home. It is not disputed that when Nina attacked the feline, Patrick was at work leaving Nina with her son.

         {¶ 3} Patricia testified that late in the afternoon on July 21 she left her home to walk her dog. Patricia testified that as she began her walk she saw Patrick's children in their front yard. Patricia indicated that as she was walking she looked back and saw an unrestrained Nina run across the street into her yard and attack Elizabeth's cat resulting in the cat's death.

         {¶ 4} Patrick's son, in contrast, testified that Nina was restrained by a long chain. One end of the chain, according to the 14 year old, was attached to a post located at the outer edge of the home's front porch with the chain's other end attached to Nina's collar. The chain, by the son's reckoning, was long enough to allow Nina to roam, but not leave, the home's small front yard. Patrick's son finally testified that Elizabeth's cat came into his front yard prompting Nina's attack. A bench trial was conducted on October 3, 2016. The trial court, in a written decision filed on January 17, 2017, found Patrick guilty of the charged offense. This appeal followed.

         Analysis

         {¶ 5} Patrick's sole assignment of error is as follows:

[PATRICK'S] CONVICTIONS [SIC] IS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND IS WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE WHEN A THIRD PARTY INTERVENED IN RELEASING [PATRICK'S] DOG FROM HER HOUSE.

         Patrick presents two arguments in support of her assignment of error - first, that she did not suffer or permit Nina to attack Elizabeth's cat and second, that the trial court erred by not accepting Patrick's trespass defense. These arguments are discussed below.

         Suffer or ...


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