As noted yesterday, Judge O'Connor voted in favor of the city of Toledo in "judgment only" -- basically agreeing that the law was constitutional, but disagreeing with most of the reasons why. Here are some notes from O'Connor's notes at the end of the ruling:
Breed-specific prohibitions...are justified by labeling dogs as "inherently dangerous" by virtue of a breed's alleged characteristics. Contrary to that assumption, dangerous animal bahavior is a function of inherently dangerous dog owners, not inherently dangerous dogs.
The statistics offered at trial in this case may support a correlation between pit bulls and the frequency and severity of injuries they cause to people in urban settings, but they do not establish the conclusion that pit bulls must necessarily pose a danger. Indeed, experts in the canine field who rate the temerapment of different breeds of dogs conclude that pit bulls have a better temperament than many other common breeds of dogs used as pets.
A more thorough analysis of hte dynamic would demonstrate that the danger posed is the result of some dog owners, including drug dealers, who deliberately increase the dog's aggression and lethalness through abuse or specific methods of training. Other owners simply fail to properly train and supervise the animal, thereby creating dangerous behavior by the dog.
Almost all domestic animals can cause significant injuries to humans, and it is proper to requre that all domestic animals be maintained and controlled. Laws to that effect are eminently reasonable for the safety of citizens and of the animal. Because the danger posed by vicious dogs and pit bulls arises from the owner's failure to safely control the animal, rational legislation should focus on the owner of the dog rather than the specific breed that is owned.
Amen Justice O'Connor.