from the Mount Vernon Municipal Court, Case No. 18CRB00518
Plaintiff-Appellee P. ROBERT BROEREN, JR. City of Mount
Vernon Law Director
Defendant-Appellant TONIA R. WELKER Welker Law LLC
JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J Hon. Craig R. Baldwin,
J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.
Defendant-appellant Misty Zolman appeals her conviction and
sentence entered by the Mount Vernon Municipal Court on one
count of failure to register a dangerous dog, following a
jury trial. Plaintiff-appellee is the state of Ohio.
OF THE CASE AND FACTS
On May 1, 2018, Appellant was cited for failing to register a
dangerous dog, in violation of R.C. 955.22. Appellant
appeared before the trial court on 2018, and entered a plea
of not guilty to the charge. The matter proceeded to jury
trial on October 11, 2018.
The following evidence was adduced at trial.
The Knox County Dog Warden designated Appellant's German
Shepherd dog, "Raven", a "dangerous dog"
pursuant to R.C. 955.11, after a January 12, 2017 incident
during which the dog broke through a screen door, and
attacked and bit Mount Vernon Police Officer Sargent Robert
Kit Morgan on the leg. Dog Warden John Carhart served
Appellant with a Notice of Designation on January 23, 2017.
Appellant signed for the Notice.
Appellant filed an appeal of the designation. The trial court
dismissed the appeal because Appellant failed to pay the
filing fee. Thereafter, Appellant had 31 days in which to
comply with the stipulations of owning a dangerous dog. The
Dog Warden made several attempts to meet with Appellant, but
was unsuccessful. Appellant never obtained a "dangerous
dog" tag for Raven.
On May 1, 2018, Knox County Deputy Dog Warden Brian
Biggerstaff observed Appellant and Raven outside her
residence at 2 Vanatta Street, Mount Vernon, Ohio. Officer
Biggerstaff recorded a video of Appellant and the dog with
his cell phone. He made contact with Appellant, who informed
him she had given Raven to Marc McClure, a resident of
Colorado, who had brought the dog to see her before she went
to jail for 60 days. Appellant would not provide the officer
with McClure's phone number, stating McClure would
contact the animal shelter. Appellant then told Officer
Biggerstaff she wished they would leave her alone, went
inside, and shut the door.
Later that day, the officer returned to Appellant's
residence and cited her for failing to obtain a dangerous dog
registration certificate. Appellant refused to accept the
summons, indicating she no longer owned the dog. Appellant
walked away from the officer, who followed her to the back of
the house. Officer Biggerstaff informed Appellant of her
court date and again requested McClure's contact
information. Appellant refused and told Officer Biggerstaff
McClure would contact the shelter. Appellant then told the
officer "to leave her the F alone." The officer
stated neither Appellant nor anyone else had filed a transfer
of possession of the dog. The dog died prior to trial.
Appellant testified she transferred ownership of Raven to her
friend, Marc McClure, in September, 2017. In late April,
2018, McClure, who was in the Air Force, came to Ohio to
visit his father. McClure brought Raven with him. On May 1,
2018, Appellant was watching Raven while McClure was in
Cleveland. Appellant stated she informed Officer Biggerstaff
the dog was only with her for the day. She showed the officer
text messages from McClure establishing he was in Ohio.
Appellant indicated she never received information advising
her of her duty to report the transfer of the "dangerous