Appeals court upholds dog limit ordinance

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
— The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has upheld a 2008 decision by the village of Orfordville to deny a kennel license for a couple who had nine dogs in their home.

Gary Anliker and Jeanne Tomlin, 308 Olson Drive, Orfordville, fought for several years to keep more than three dogs—the limit set by Orfordville ordinance. They tried to get a kennel license to keep the dogs and appealed to the county when the application was denied.

They also tried to fight against a court order forcing removal of most of the dogs from the home.

Anliker and Tomlin have been in compliance with the court order since 2010, said their attorney, Mark Schroeder of Janesville. Schroeder on Monday did not know what happened to the dogs that could not stay in the home.

The couple's only option at this time would be to appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but they have not done so, Schroeder said.

The Gazette was not able to reach Anliker or Tomlin for comment.

In late 2009, Anliker told The Gazette that he and his wife had several terriers, a Chihuahua, a miniature pincher and husky mixes. At that time they had nine dogs.

Police Chief Dave Wickstrum previously said that neighbors started filing barking complaints in mid-2007. Police issued 19 tickets, he said.

In June 2008, Tomlin asked the village board for permission to exceed the nine-dog limit. The board denied the request, according to online court documents.

In December 2008, Anliker and Tomlin applied for a kennel license and were denied. They appealed on the grounds the board failed to give proper notice for a public hearing about the application, according to online court documents.

The board in May 2009 gave notice for a second hearing, held the hearing and denied the application.

The couple again appealed to the Rock County Court, this time on the grounds the village ordinance was vague and therefore unconstitutional. Tomlin argued the couple did not have fair notice of what factors the village would use to grant or deny a license.

Judge James Welker upheld the village's decision, and the couple appealed to the state court.

Meanwhile, in June 2010, Judge Daniel Dillon at the village's request issued a court order to remove all but three of the dogs.

The appeals court agreed with Welker that the Orfordville ordinance limiting the number of dogs is constitutional. The ordinance provides sufficient standards governing its discretion, according to the appeals court decision.

Last updated: 8:07 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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