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Discussion Starter #1
I live in the city of Surprise, Arizona. The Animal Control branch of the Police department has been harassing me for training my two Vizslas off leash despite being allowed by city ordinance 10-24 which pretty much says that herding and hunting dogs can be trained without a collar hence no leash. Over 3 plus years I been warned several times and finally a week ago I got a written summons to appear in court. The officer that did this even asked for proof that my Vizslas where hunting dogs.
I'm not rich and hiring an attorney is not within my means. Does anybody know of an organization that will help me fight this?
 

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Well, living up to the name of the town, yes?

You don't need an attorney for this, just a copy of the actual regulation. Read it carefully and note the same discrepancy (or any others) you've shared here.

I'd send a tart letter to the police chief as well as the mayor outlining the inconsistency and let them know that under the circumstances you're respectfully requesting they remove/withdraw the infraction (and court appearance), so you do not need to take further legal steps to defend against a frivolous action and recoup any monies spent or lost from time off from work for a court appearance. And cc it to the local newspaper as well.
 

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Is the law that dogs being hunted, or being trained to be hunted can be without a collar? And do you hunt your dog?
Just wondering if its by breed, or actual activity.
 

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Here is the text of 10-24, it is badly worded and punctuated and in my opinion is subject to various interpretation with the wording in red being obvious however the wording in green might be interpreted as applying to everything or just races, if you see what I mean. I feel it is instead of brackets and referring to the racing events, but just my opinion.

Whether Vizslas are hunting dogs, just googled "are Vizslas hunting dogs?" and just about every entry clearly mentions them being hunting and sporting dogs! Printout of that results page should clarify that for the Police/Court. It appears in this legislation that the dog breed is irrelevent, the key part being "dogs used or trained for hunting", however being Vizslas should strengthen your argument that they are trained hunting dogs, depending on what hunting training means of course.

Here in the U.K. we have the Citizens Advice Bureau that give free basic legal advice or solicitors give their first 30 minutes free, not sure if there are any equivalents in the US/Arizona?


Sec. 10-24. - Dog licensing.
(a) Any person keeping, harboring or maintaining a dog over the age of three months within the city for a period in excess of 30 consecutive days shall license the dog with the county. (b) Dogs over the age of three months shall wear a collar or harness to which is attached a valid license tag. Dogs used for control of livestock, dogs used or trained for hunting, dogs exhibited or trained at a kennel club event, dogs used by law enforcement or the fire-medical service, or dogs engaged in races approved by the state racing commission, while being transported to and from such events, need not wear a collar or harness with a valid license attached; provided that they are properly vaccinated, licensed and controlled. (c) It is unlawful to: (1) Fail to obtain a license for a dog, required to be licensed, within 15 days after receiving written notification from an enforcement agent to do so; (2) Alter, counterfeit or attempt to counterfeit a license for a dog; (3) To remove from a dog a valid license tag; (4) To place upon a dog a license tag which is either not valid or was issued to another dog.
(Code 2007, § 6.04.050; Ord. No. 2015-05, § 1(Att. A), 11-3-15)

State Law reference— County dog license and display of license, A.R.S. § 11-1008.

https://library.municode.com/az/surprise/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIGEOR_CH10AN
 

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It would be helpful, to the court as well as us, to know more specifically what your training consists of and to what end. For example, if you are "training" your dogs to retrieve by throwing a tennis ball and having them retrieve it, it would not be as persuasive as if you were planting birds for them to find, point, hold, etc. Likewise, if you hunt, or compete in field/hunt trials, that would be more persuasive than your just doing the training for the fun of it.
 

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I'm not seeing anything in that (typically) ambiguously worded txt that clearly indicates "Dogs must be leashed at all times".

Again, I personally would send a letter to the PD as well as the mayor informing them of their mistake and a request to withdraw the summons. If not, then go to court and explain this and request the charge be dismissed.

It's regrettable the community you live in has nothing better to do with it's law enforcement officials than harass the citizenry, but I wouldn't set my hair on fire over this, it seems they clearly overstepped the bounds of that piece of nonsensical legislation.
 

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Ok Here is my take.

I agree the wording of this ordinance is weak. I would look at your summons and make sure your being charged with a violation of sec 10.24. if you are i think you have a reasonable defense. You do not need to hire an attorney as this is a kin to a traffic ticket and most people dont hire an attorney they just tell their story and the judge makes a decision. The animal control officer presents his own prosecution not an assistant district Attorney.

The spirit of the law is about dog licensing and showing the public that the animal is properly licensed, so the fact that your dogs are properly licensed I think your going to be ok. Now, in your original post you mention about training off leash, if this is a park that is posted no off leash in my opinion 10-24 would not apply and the park could prohibit the training because it is designated no off leash animals. There would have to be an ordinance to cover this that is why I asked if your summons lists the ordinance your are being accused of being in violation. Maybe they could try and charge under sec 10-56 running a large, but even then you have a good defense because of the wording of recklessly or negligently. They only way i see is if they charged 10-56-c and they can show you did not have a 6 foot or shorter leash in your possession you could be considered in violation of the ordinance.

you might try reaching out to the Rio Salado Vizsla Club (http://www.rsvc.net/) and see if they have some advice for you. Good luck, I hope it all works out.
 

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I live in the city of Surprise, Arizona. The Animal Control branch of the Police department has been harassing me for training my two Vizslas off leash despite being allowed by city ordinance 10-24 which pretty much says that herding and hunting dogs can be trained without a collar hence no leash. Over 3 plus years I been warned several times and finally a week ago I got a written summons to appear in court. The officer that did this even asked for proof that my Vizslas where hunting dogs.
I'm not rich and hiring an attorney is not within my means. Does anybody know of an organization that will help me fight this?
My interpretation of the ordinance is a dog being actively being trained or hunted does not need to be wearing a collar with their license. Has nothing to do with leash laws. Simply being a hunting breed is not going to cut it. You'll need to demonstrate how you are actively training them in the area in question. I'm wondering where you're doing this training at? Is this a public area you're getting cited in? Are your dogs licensed? I'm confused why they're bothering you otherwise. Keep in mind dogs are never allowed to be a nuisance regardless of what they're being used for (including service dogs). If they are barking at, rushing at, or bothering people/other dogs while off leash that would definitely be an issue. I hope you'll provide some additional information and can get this sorted as timely and stress free as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey guy thanks for your support. Presented request to dismiss. Nothing. I'm up to some really stupid people (or money hungry - 2 dogs double $). In support to his denial the prosecutor wrote (among other outrageous comments) that a cattle fence will contain a dog or a young child the same as you backyard fence). Oh well I guess I'll have to wait till the court of appeals...jury there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Love your concern. Thanks.
Here we go. a) Leash definition=attaches to collar. Do I drill a hole in his snout and put a rope in it? b) County calls this situation "not at large". c) Private land, not posted, got verbal permission. C) FEMALE OFFICER AND I HAVE AN HISTORY. Three years ago she came to my house to pickup a dog I had just adopted out of state 40 day earlier. Dog registered out of state. The dog bit me (5 stitches). She threatened me with a citation because I was 10 days overdue in the registration. I told her to do it or get the F... out of my house. We have met two more times...same stuff. This was the fourth.
Submission to dismiss denied. Going into review end of month. Also, Officer messed up 1st citation. Called and demanded return and that I sign new one. She submitted a new one. Original is not in the court files.
Fun he????
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My interpretation of the ordinance is a dog being actively being trained or hunted does not need to be wearing a collar with their license. Has nothing to do with leash laws. Simply being a hunting breed is not going to cut it. You'll need to demonstrate how you are actively training them in the area in question. I'm wondering where you're doing this training at? Is this a public area you're getting cited in? Are your dogs licensed? I'm confused why they're bothering you otherwise. Keep in mind dogs are never allowed to be a nuisance regardless of what they're being used for (including service dogs). If they are barking at, rushing at, or bothering people/other dogs while off leash that would definitely be an issue. I hope you'll provide some additional information and can get this sorted as timely and stress free as possible.
Also, it's not just hunting dogs. Herding, racing and K9 are included. What they have in common is that they can not be trained with a leash. A collar or tag as no direct bearing. Except the K9 some of his training and performance requires a leash. A collar has no bearing otherwise.
I apologize for the late answer but have been getting acquainted with law procedures. [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok Here is my take.

I agree the wording of this ordinance is weak. I would look at your summons and make sure your being charged with a violation of sec 10.24. if you are i think you have a reasonable defense. You do not need to hire an attorney as this is a kin to a traffic ticket and most people dont hire an attorney they just tell their story and the judge makes a decision. The animal control officer presents his own prosecution not an assistant district Attorney.

The spirit of the law is about dog licensing and showing the public that the animal is properly licensed, so the fact that your dogs are properly licensed I think your going to be ok. Now, in your original post you mention about training off leash, if this is a park that is posted no off leash in my opinion 10-24 would not apply and the park could prohibit the training because it is designated no off leash animals. There would have to be an ordinance to cover this that is why I asked if your summons lists the ordinance your are being accused of being in violation. Maybe they could try and charge under sec 10-56 running a large, but even then you have a good defense because of the wording of recklessly or negligently. They only way i see is if they charged 10-56-c and they can show you did not have a 6 foot or shorter leash in your possession you could be considered in violation of the ordinance.

you might try reaching out to the Rio Salado Vizsla Club (http://www.rsvc.net/) and see if they have some advice for you. Good luck, I hope it all works out.
Thank you so much for your concern and post. Charged for violation of 10-56 but 10-19 opening statement clearly stipulates that anything different is OK provided it say so. Also the County labels this situation as "not at large" My take is that location, other than a dog park, is irrelevant. there is no mention of a location, other than a dog park, in the entire Section 10. At the end, I think they will back off because the Officer filed a COPY of the original. Never the original because it was flawed. That's forgery. Plus we have a history that goes back almost 4 years. Hey..thanks again Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's complicated to say the least. You really have to read thru very careful. The basics are 1) Hunting, herding, Racing and k9 dogs need not wear a collar. 2) leash is defined as "to be attached to collar" and 3) if there's no collar you can't attach a leash. Now the purpose: With the exemption of the K9 none can be trained or perform attached to a 6 ft. leash. Reasson: Power and $ behind all 4 breeds. Finally, Maricopa County labels this situation as "Not at large".
Thanks for taking the time and your concern. When and if done I'll post the final results.....one month or two years down the road...I'm 84 so don't hold your breath....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
PhilipL: In the good old US of A if you're not rich you're on your own. You're a wonderful person..the world needs more......I got the Animal Control ordinances from City, County and State. They all say basically the same but the county does one better. It call this shamble "not at large".
Hope this work in my dogs favor. Thanks so much for your concern and help.
 

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Gingerling; Thanks for your help. I'm sure you can read all of my replays but I like to take your comment and add another conclusion. Need not wear a collar with a license attached. Some people may interpret this as only the tag. The way I see it it is not. If the law meant the tag only it would say "need not wear tag"
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It would be helpful, to the court as well as us, to know more specifically what your training consists of and to what end. For example, if you are "training" your dogs to retrieve by throwing a tennis ball and having them retrieve it, it would not be as persuasive as if you were planting birds for them to find, point, hold, etc. Likewise, if you hunt, or compete in field/hunt trials, that would be more persuasive than your just doing the training for the fun of it.
I train my Vizslas with live birds, dead ducks, wings, scent and dummies at different times and places. They're also trained to respond to hand signals. I hunt, have a live bird planting permit. This is not what it seems to be. This is a vendetta. Me and the officer has had 3 previous encounters. All not pleasant. I got an ace up my sleeve but really don't wan't to used. I think I could hurt this officer career badly. The citation she filed with the court is actually forged and I have proof of it. She made a hand copy that's different from the original (which was badly written) and that's what she filed. Not the original.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I'm not seeing anything in that (typically) ambiguously worded txt that clearly indicates "Dogs must be leashed at all times".

Again, I personally would send a letter to the PD as well as the mayor informing them of their mistake and a request to withdraw the summons. If not, then go to court and explain this and request the charge be dismissed.

It's regrettable the community you live in has nothing better to do with it's law enforcement officials than harass the citizenry, but I wouldn't set my hair on fire over this, it seems they clearly overstepped the bounds of that piece of nonsensical legislation.
In several parts of the City of Surprise Regulations is stated that Dogs at large are not permitted. At large means roaming without a leash. Then there's the parts of control which demands a leash if not enclosed. Controlled is different (?) it does not mention a leash. It means cause no harm. Sec. 10 says "controlled" Confusing? You bet. Check the next one : Hunting dogs are allowed to be without a collar carrying a licence tag. The city say's this is about the tag only. My position is that is about the collar that is carrying the tag and the tag. If the city did not intent to include the collar why not say without a tag...why involve the collar? But that needs for the Prosecutor to have brains. Rest my case
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Opinions about specicic section

Thanks to everyone for the response and concern. I would like for the forum to interpret and comment in the specific section that is involved here.
"Dogs over the age of 3 months shall wear a collar or harness to which is attached a valid license tag. Dogs used for the control of livestock, dogs used or trained for hunting, dogs used for law enforcement or the medical-fire service or dogs engaged in races need not wear a collar or harness with a valid license attached."
The way I see it is not the license tag by itself. If it was, the City would have mentioned the tag all by itself. In other words "need not wear a license tag". Another way to interpret this is that you are not allowed not to wear a collar with a banana attached to it or a collar without a license. Please think about it and be honest. You won't hurt my feelings.
Thank you in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It would be helpful, to the court as well as us, to know more specifically what your training consists of and to what end. For example, if you are "training" your dogs to retrieve by throwing a tennis ball and having them retrieve it, it would not be as persuasive as if you were planting birds for them to find, point, hold, etc. Likewise, if you hunt, or compete in field/hunt trials, that would be more persuasive than your just doing the training for the fun of it.
I have posted lots of info over a few reply's. Can I ask you who are US? are you part of the site?
Thanks, Robert
 

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My interpretation of the ordinance is a dog being actively being trained or hunted does not need to be wearing a collar with their license. Has nothing to do with leash laws. Simply being a hunting breed is not going to cut it. You'll need to demonstrate how you are actively training them in the area in question. I'm wondering where you're doing this training at? Is this a public area you're getting cited in? Are your dogs licensed? I'm confused why they're bothering you otherwise. Keep in mind dogs are never allowed to be a nuisance regardless of what they're being used for (including service dogs). If they are barking at, rushing at, or bothering people/other dogs while off leash that would definitely be an issue. I hope you'll provide some additional information and can get this sorted as timely and stress free as possible.
Good argument but wouldn't the city simply say not need to wear a tag? or need not wear a tag attached to a collar? and why does the County calls this situation NOT AT LARGE (legally roaming without a leash). At large definition has to do with a leash. My dogs comply and qualify with everything. Please comment. Thanks, Robert
 
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