Court: Dog owner doesn’t owe restitution


A Toledo dog owner ordered to pay for veterinary expenses while his dogs were confined by the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office does not have to reimburse the dog warden, an appeals court ruled Friday.

Ohio’s Sixth District Court of Appeals agreed that Hugh Smith should not have been ordered to pay restitution of $1,967.80 to the dog warden because the dog warden was not the victim in the case, because restitution is only for acts which constitute the crime, and because restitution is limited to economic loss suffered by the victim.

“Here, the Lucas County Dog Warden was not the ‘victim’ of the trespass offense,” the appeals court wrote. “Further, there is no evidence in the record that the dog’s trespass caused any property damage. The victim of the April 1, 2012 trespass offense… presented no evidence that she suffered any economic loss. Accordingly, the trial court was without authority and abused its discretion in granting restitution to the Lucas County Dog Warden.”

Mr. Smith pleaded no contest and was found guilty of two misdemeanor charges in Toledo Municipal Court last year related to his failure to restrain his dogs.

While four of his dogs were in the custody of the dog warden, one of the dogs became ill and incurred veterinary bills.