United States District Court, D. Connecticut
GLORIANNA LAGNESE; REBOUND HOUNDS RES-Q INC., DONALD J. ANDERSON, JR.; individually and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
CITY OF WATERBURY; TOWN OF MANCHESTER; TOWN OF SOUTHINGTON; individually and on behalf of all 169 municipalities in the State of Connecticut, Defendants.
ORDER RE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY
INJUNCTION AND PROVISIONAL CLASS CERTIFICATION
W. Thompson United States District Judge.
reasons set forth below, the plaintiff's motion for a
preliminary injunction and provisional class certification is
Glorianna Lagnese, Rebound Hounds Res-Q Inc. and Donald J.
Anderson, Jr., individually and on behalf of all other
persons similarly situated, bring this action against
defendants City of Waterbury, Town of Manchester and Town of
Southington, individually and on behalf of all 169 similarly
situated municipalities in the State of Connecticut, seeking
declaratory and injunctive relief related to the seizure and
impoundment of the plaintiffs' dogs.
plaintiffs bring four claims. The first claim is a claim that
Connecticut General Statutes § 22-358(c) is
unconstitutional on its face. The plaintiffs allege, in the
First Count, that “it fails to define any method of
assessing the severity of an alleged dog bite or attack, or
the circumstances of the bite or attack, in order to
determine whether any enforcement is appropriate and if so,
whether and when the issuance of a restraint order is proper
as opposed to issuing a disposal order.” Second Amended
Class Action Complaint (“Compl.”) (Doc. No. 44)
at ¶ 58.
plaintiffs' second claim is that Connecticut General
Statutes § 22-358(c) is unconstitutional as applied. The
plaintiffs allege, also in the First Count, that
The statute is unconstitutional as applied because the
Connecticut Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA, CGS
§4-167, et seq.) requires the Commissioner of
Agriculture to promulgate regulations for the enforcement of
CGS §22-358(c) by defendants' ACOs, and the
Commissioner of Agriculture has never promulgated any rules,
policies, procedures, guidelines, practices or regulations
regarding the enforcement of CGS §22-358(c).
Compl. ¶ 62.
plaintiffs' third claim is a claim for a violation of
their Fourth Amendment rights. The plaintiffs allege, in the
The seizure of plaintiffs' dogs is unreasonable because
there exists no explicit statutory authority to hold the dog
beyond the fourteen-day rabies quarantine period, and the
disposal order forms provided by the State Department of
Agriculture and utilized by the defendants' ACOs
specifically contemplate the dog will be returned to the
possession of the owner.
By seizing plaintiffs' dogs without a warrant and
retaining possession of such dogs for over a year after the
expiration of the “14-day Rabies Quarantine”
period incident to the defendants' enforcement of CGS
§22-358(c), and without providing plaintiffs with the
necessary due process, including an opportunity to contest
the validity of the seizure and retention, defendants
violated plaintiffs' rights under the Fourth Amendment to
the U.S. Constitution.
Compl. ¶¶ 71, 77.
plaintiffs' fourth claim is a procedural due process
claim. The plaintiffs allege, in the Third Count:
Defendants' enforcement of the statute in the foregoing
manner has resulted in a meaningful interference and
deprivation of plaintiffs' property, their dogs, without
any process and is violative of the procedural due process
requirements of the 14th Amendment to the U.S.
Defendants' enforcement of the statute against all
plaintiffs has not provided them with timely notice and an
opportunity for a hearing or any other review of the decision
to seize and retain, such that plaintiffs' deprivation of
their property, their dogs, without process, has occurred and
continues to occur, thus violating plaintiffs' rights
under the 14th Amendment.
Compl. ¶¶ 88, 89.
Glorianna Lagnese's dog, Rose, was seized by the City of
Waterbury on April 20, 2014 after a bite incident where the
complainant was not on the premises of Rose's owner or
keeper. A disposal order was issued on April 25, 2014 (i.e.
five days after the dog was seized). It was appealed to the
Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture
(the “Commissioner”). A hearing was held but
Lagnese did not appear at the hearing despite being given
notice. However, an attorney appeared for her after the
hearing. The attorney was invited to make a written
submission. Subsequently, a final decision upholding the
disposal order was issued on November 17, 2015. Lagnese
appealed to the Connecticut Superior Court and the appeal was
dismissed for failure to prosecute.
Rebound Hounds Res-Q, Inc.'s dog, Yeezy, was seized by
the Town of Manchester on December 23, 2014 after a bite
incident where the complainant was not on the premises of
Yeezy's owner or keeper. A disposal order was issued on
January 5, 2015 (i.e. 13 days after the dog was seized). It
was appealed. After numerous continuances requested by both
sides, the hearing was completed on April 1, 2016. The
hearing officer has not issued a final decision.
Donald J. Anderson, Jr.'s dog, Bubba, was seized by the
Town of Southington on May 23, 2015 after a bite incident
where the complainant was not on the premises of Bubba's
owner or keeper. A disposal order was issued on June 6, 2015
(i.e. 14 days after the dog was ...