Monday, December 4, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

First Circuit Chomps on Pet Store’s Argument

BOSTON (CN) - A Rhode Island pet store didn't sway the First Circuit with a new argument against the City of East Providence's ban on pet sales.

About a month and a half after Perfect Puppy opened a puppy store in East Providence, the local city council passed an ordinance banning the sale of cats or dogs, court records show.

The ordinance, which was touted as a means to halt puppy mill breeders, effectively outlawed Perfect Puppy's business.

Perfect Puppy originally sued the City of East Providence in state court, claiming that the anti-pet sale ordinance infringed on the Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses. The city responded by successfully removing the case to Federal Court.

With the case in Federal Court, Perfect Puppy then made a facial-takings challenge to the ordinance, arguing that its enactment deprived them of property for which they should be compensated.

The store's claim was thrown out because Perfect Puppy failed to argue it beyond a single sentence, and it also did not include a specific demand for the compensation amount.

The Rhode Island District Court also remanded the as-applied claim to state court for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

"We see no error with the judge's facial-takings ruling and have no jurisdiction over the judge's remand order - a dual appraisal that leads us to affirm in part and dismiss in part," Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson wrote for the First Circuit.

In making an appeal to the First Circuit, Perfect Puppy again focused on their facial-claim challenge, spending more time to make their case, though the judge remained skeptical.

"Perfect Puppy spends a good deal of time (both orally and in writing) trying to convince us that it actually asserted a facial-takings claim below. Color us unconvinced," Thompson wrote.

Ultimately, Perfect Puppy was unable to make a successful facial-takings claim in the district court because it never properly argued the claim beyond a single sentence. As such, by focusing on the claim in its appeal, the store raised a new argument which is not allowed at the appellate level, Thompson ruled.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.