Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Justice Sandra O'Connor on Dog (and Wolf) Law
Sandra Day O'Connor signs her new children's book about a child wanting a dog.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is still deciding cases, albeit ones of a lesser type, as a substitute judge in Maryland where she now lives.
So far, Justice O’Connor has heard about 80 cases and written more than a dozen opinions. Her latest Fourth Circuit opinion, decided July 30, begins this way: “This is a case about a wolf named Dutchess.”
A wolf? In Maryland?
Here are the facts of the case: Although Maryland law prohibits possession of wolves, a couple in Upper Marlboro obtained a dog license for their wolf by claiming that Dutchess was an Alaskan Malamute. Some months later, after an animal-control officer saw Dutchess and entered their property to impound her, the couple sued for trespass. Justice O’Connor rejected the couple’s claim. The officer had no duty to check if the wolf was lawfully owned before seizing it “to protect the public safety,” she wrote. And, of course, the wolf was NOT lawfully owned, was it?
Passing wolves off has Malamutes is an old scam, by the way. I just finished reading a dreadful book, called The Philosopher and the Wolf about a moron who bought a wolf on a lark, raised it as a dog (lying all the time that it was Malamute), and who seems to have decided this was all a fine excuse to write dreadful philosophical drek while drinking himself into a coma while employed as a wandering philosophy professor at lesser colleges around the world. Did I say this book was a waste of time, money and paper? True!
A final bit of Trivia: O'Connor is not a bad judge for a case about exotic wildlife pets. She herself used to own a pet bobcat, and she recently wrote a children's book about a child yearning for a dog.