Lawsuit, filed in in Superior Court on behalf of Defenders of Animals and a North Kingstown family, challenges a North Kingstown ordinance that bars any “vicious” dog from being housed within a mile of a school or day-care facility. The ACLU first challenged this ordinance when the Town seized the "vicious" dogs of the resident even though she had complied with all requirements imposed by state hearing panel in order to keep the dogs. The ACLU contends that the town’s residency restriction conflicts with the state hearing panel decision and with state law that establishes detailed procedures and penalties regarding “vicious” dogs. The ACLU also argues the owners’ due process rights were violated when the Town seized the dogs under that ordinance after the owners had complied with the state decision.
Case Update: In April 2015 The two pitbulls were returned home while the ACLU court case challenging the seizure of the dogs moves forward. A Washington County Superior Court judge found that the ACLU had a likelihood of success its claim that the state law establishing detailed procedures for dealing with "vicious dogs" preempts a local ordinance barring any “vicious” dog from being housed within a mile of a school or day-care facility.