LOUISVILLE (CN) – A couple whose American bulldogs had a litter of puppies say Louisville and Jefferson County unconstitutionally seized the dogs, and hurt some of them, because the couple didn’t have a “breeders license.” They say officers illegally entered and searched their home with a warrant, “predicated on a purported legal requirement – that of a ‘breeders license’ – that does not exist.”
James and Angela O’Neill sued the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, Louisville Metro Animal Services, and several officers in Federal Court.
The O’Neills say after their bulldogs had the litter, their first, they advertised the puppies in the Courier-Journal newspaper. Two women came to their home claiming to be interested, then disappeared, and Animal Services officers knocked on the door and demanded to see their breeder’s license, the O’Neills say.
When the O’Neills say they had no such thing, the entered their home without consent or warrant and took the dogs, saying they were “making an example” of them, the O’Neills say.
The O’Neills say they had to pay more than $1,000 to retrieve the dogs, which had become ill from being confined, the adult dogs had been sexually altered, and all of them implanted with microchips without their consent.
The O’Neills say while they were at the Animal Services facility, they told its director, defendant Gilles Meloche, that they did not need a breeder’s license to sell puppies, and he responded that he “created the Louisville Animal Ordinance and therefore he should be the one interpreting it.”
The O’Neills say they had to sell their puppies at “less than market value” because they got sick at the animal shelter, and the value of the adult dogs was reduced from being spayed and neutered.
The O’Neills seek punitive damages for violations of the 4th and 14th Amendments.
They are represented by Jon Fleischaker with Dinsmore & Shohl.