County Civil Court: COUNTY ORDINANCE – animal control – standard of review of decision of Animal Control Authority that has been previously appealed to county court is whether Appellant was afforded procedural due process and whether the essential requirements of law were followed – Appellant failed to cite to any record evidence that he was denied due process or that the trial court failed to follow the essential requirements of law – whether there was competent substantial evidence to support trial court’s finding that Appellant’s dog is a “dangerous animal” is beyond this Court’s scope of review – Order affirmed. Hadscock v. Pinellas County Animal Services, No. 05-0001AP-88A (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. Jan. 27, 2006). 

 

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA

APPELLATE DIVISION

 

STEPHEN HADSOCK,

                        Appellant,                                            

 

v.                                                                                 Appeal No. 05-0001AP-88A

                                                                                    UCN522005AP000001XXXXCV

 

PINELLAS COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES,           

                        Appellee.

______________________________________/

 

Appeal from final Order

Pinellas County Court

Judge Myra Scott McNary

 

C. Bryant Boydstun, Jr., Esquire

Attorney for the Appellant

 

Michelle Wallace, Esquire

Attorney for the Appellee

 

 

ORDER AND OPINION

 

            THIS CAUSE came before the court on appeal, filed by Stephen Hadsock (Hadsock), from the Order Affirming Finding of Animal Control Authority, entered December 1, 2004.  Upon review of the briefs, the record and otherwise being fully advised, this Court affirms the Order.

            The underlying proceedings arose out of an event which occurred on October 31, 2003, when Hadsock’s dogs, “Sunny”, a rottweiler, and “Hombre”, a chow, bit an individual named Dorothy Gettling (Gettling).[1]  Paramedics arrived and attended to Gettling’s left arm and informed her she needed to go to the emergency room immediately.  Gettling arrived at Edward White Hospital Emergency Room and received treatment, including stitches, to the lacerations on her left arm and left breast as a result of the dog bites.  On November 14, 2003, Dr. E. Welch Agnew, Assistant Director of Animal Services, issued a Notice of Findings of Sufficient Cause for Confiscation and Imminent Destruction, in connection with this bite event.  Hadsock requested and received a hearing, on December 12, 2003, before the Pinellas County Animal Control Authority (Authority).  The Authority upheld the determination of Animal Services and Hadsock subsequently appealed to the County Court. 

On December 1, 2004, the trial court entered an Order Affirming Finding of Animal Control Authority finding that Sunny did attack and cause severe injury to Gettling.  The trial court found, by the preponderance of the evidence and by clear and convincing evidence, that the injured party was lawfully on the property, not tormenting the dog or its owner, and that the dog was not protecting or defending a human being.  The trial court concluded that, upon expiration of time for appeal, the dog will be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.  Hadsock then filed the above-styled appeal. 

            This Court is reviewing an administrative matter which has previously been directly appealed to the County Court.  Therefore, this Court’s second-tier certiorari review is limited to whether Hadsock was afforded procedural due process in the proceedings below and whether the essential requirements of the law were followed.  See Cantrall v. Department of  Highway Safety and Motor Veicles, 828 So.2d 1062, 1063 (Fla. 2nd Dist. App. 2002).  The Court finds that Hadsock fails to cite to any record evidence, or otherwise demonstrate, that he was denied due process or that the trial court failed to follow the essential requirements of law.[2]  See Applegate v. Barnett Bank of Tallahassee, 377 So.2d 1150, 1152 (Fla. 1979)(explaining that decision of trial court has the presumption of correctness and the burden is on the appellant to demonstrate error).  Rather, Hadsock’s argument focuses on his belief that Sunny’s actions of biting Gettling, resulting in her visit to an emergency room to receive stitches and then follow-up treatment, did not inflict severe injury to warrant Sunny’s classification as a dangerous dog pursuant to Florida Statutes, § 767.11(1).  However, this argument necessarily goes to whether there is competent substantial evidence to support the trial court’s ruling, review which is outside of this Court’s second-tier certiorari review.    

            Therefore, it is,

            ORDERED AND AJUDGED that the Order Affirming Finding of Animal Control Authority is affirmed.

            DONE AND ORDERED in chambers, at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this ______ day of January 2006.

 

                                                _______________________________

                                                JOHN A. SCHAEFER

                                                Circuit Judge, Appellate Division

 

 

 

 

 

_______________________________                                  ______________________________

LAUREN C. LAUGHLIN                                                     JAMES R. CASE

Circuit Judge, Appellate Division                                               Circuit Judge, Appellate Division

 

 

Copies furnished to:

Judge Myra Scott McNary

 

C. Bryant Boydstun, Jr. Esquire

100 2nd Avenue South, Suite 701

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

 

Michelle Wallace, Assistant County Attorney

315 Court Street

Clearwater, FL 33756



[1] The record shows that Hombre was subsequently put down as a result of the incident without dispute from Hadscock.

[2] The Court notes that there is no transcript of the trial court hearing.