Peoples Program for Endangered Species v. Sexton, No. 24497

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtFINNEY
Citation476 S.E.2d 477,323 S.C. 526
PartiesPEOPLES PROGRAM FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES, Jim Saviano and Nancy Saviano, Appellants, v. Thomas J. SEXTON, in his official capacity and the Town of Mount Pleasant, Respondents.
Decision Date23 September 1996
Docket NumberNo. 24497

Page 477

476 S.E.2d 477
323 S.C. 526
PEOPLES PROGRAM FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES, Jim Saviano and
Nancy Saviano, Appellants,
v.
Thomas J. SEXTON, in his official capacity and the Town of
Mount Pleasant, Respondents.
No. 24497.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Submitted Feb. 21, 1996.
Decided Sept. 23, 1996.

Page 479

[323 S.C. 528] Vincent James Saviano and Nancy L. Saviano, Mount Pleasant, pro se appellants.

Stephen P. Groves, John Hamilton Smith and Stephen L. Brown, all of Young, Clement, Rivers & Tisdale, Charleston and R. Allen Young, Mount Pleasant, for respondents.

FINNEY, Chief Justice:

Appellants commenced this action seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. We affirm.

Appellants Jim and Nancy Saviano are principals of Peoples Program for Endangered Species (a non-profit corporation) and own three wolves who live in their home. Respondent Thomas Sexton is the Town of Mount Pleasant Chief of Police. Appellants instituted this action challenging the constitutionality of Mount Pleasant's Town Ordinance No. 93050. This ordinance prohibits the possession of any "vicious or dangerous domesticated animal or any other animal ... of wild, vicious or dangerous propensities." The ordinance specifically makes it unlawful to possess wolves within the Town. Exceptions are [323 S.C. 529] provided for private non-profit organizations established for educational purposes if: 1) the location conforms to the provisions of the Town's zoning code; 2) animals are kept in clean and sanitary conditions; 3) animals are maintained in quarters to prevent their escape; and 4) no person lives or resides within 200 feet of the animals' quarters. Appellants claim they can meet the first three conditions of the exception. Following a hearing, the circuit court denied appellants' claim for declaratory and injunctive relief. Appellants raise several issues on appeal.

Violation of Due Process

Appellants contend their due process rights were violated because the ordinance was passed after they had purchased the house and without notice that the ordinance was under consideration. The circuit court held the ordinance does not violate their due process rights because it pertains to the regulation of animals and an ordinance regulating the keeping of animals within municipal limits is a valid exercise of the police power delegated to a municipality if the ordinance is not unreasonable or arbitrary. 4 Am.Jur.2d Animals § 21 (1995). See Sentell v. New Orleans and Carrollton R.R. Co., 166 U.S. 698, 17 S.Ct. 693, 41 L.Ed. 1169 (1897).

"[I]n determining what is due process of law we are bound to consider the nature of the property, the necessity for its sacrifice, and the extent to which it has heretofore been regarded as within the police power ... but, so far as it is dangerous to the safety or health of the community, due process of law may authorize its summary destruction." Sentell, supra. The Supreme Court held in Sentell that a state in a bona fide exercise of its police power, may interfere with private property, and even order its destruction for the welfare and comfort of its citizens. Property in dogs is of an imperfect or qualified nature and dogs may be subjected to peculiar and drastic police regulation by the state without depriving their owners of any federal right. Nicchia v. New York, 254 U.S. 228, 41 S.Ct. 103, 65 L.Ed. 235 (1920). The individual's privilege to use property freely is always subject to a legitimate exercise of the police power under which new burdens and restrictions may be imposed when the public welfare demands. Village of Carpentersville v. Fiala, 98 Ill.App.3d [323 S.C. 530] 1005, 54 Ill.Dec. 521, 425 N.E.2d 33

Page 480

(1981) cert. denied 456 U.S. 990, 102 S.Ct. 2271, 73 L.Ed.2d...

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10 practice notes
  • State v. Blatt, No. 14–0757.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • June 16, 2015
    ...property shall cease to be such if kept against law. It is subject to police power.”); Peoples Program for Endangered Species v. Sexton, 323 S.C. 526, 476 S.E.2d 477, 479 (1996) (“Property in dogs is of an imperfect or qualified nature and dogs may be subjected to peculiar and drastic polic......
  • Sc State Ports Authority v. Jasper County, No. 26132.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2006
    ...ordinance conflicts with the statute such that compliance with both is impossible. See Peoples Program for Endangered Species v. Sexton, 323 S.C. 526, 530, 476 S.E.2d 477, 480 (1996) ("To determine whether the ordinance has been preempted by Federal or State law, we must determine whether t......
  • Main v. Thomason, No. 25182.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • August 14, 2000
    ...which new burdens and restrictions may be imposed when the public welfare demands." Peoples Program for Endangered Species v. Sexton, 323 S.C. 526, 529, 476 S.E.2d 477, 479 (1996). The State has a legitimate interest in preserving property and can properly exercise its police powers to do s......
  • Quality Towing, Inc. v. City of Myrtle Beach, No. 25103.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2000
    ...which new burdens and restrictions may be imposed when the public welfare demands." Peoples Program for Endangered Species v. Sexton, 323 S.C. 526, 529, 476 S.E.2d 477, 479(996). The trial court properly granted summary judgment to the city because appellant failed to state a cause of actio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • State v. Blatt, No. 14–0757.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • June 16, 2015
    ...property shall cease to be such if kept against law. It is subject to police power.”); Peoples Program for Endangered Species v. Sexton, 323 S.C. 526, 476 S.E.2d 477, 479 (1996) (“Property in dogs is of an imperfect or qualified nature and dogs may be subjected to peculiar and drastic polic......
  • Sc State Ports Authority v. Jasper County, No. 26132.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2006
    ...ordinance conflicts with the statute such that compliance with both is impossible. See Peoples Program for Endangered Species v. Sexton, 323 S.C. 526, 530, 476 S.E.2d 477, 480 (1996) ("To determine whether the ordinance has been preempted by Federal or State law, we must determine whet......
  • Main v. Thomason, No. 25182.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • August 14, 2000
    ...which new burdens and restrictions may be imposed when the public welfare demands." Peoples Program for Endangered Species v. Sexton, 323 S.C. 526, 529, 476 S.E.2d 477, 479 (1996). The State has a legitimate interest in preserving property and can properly exercise its police powers to......
  • Quality Towing, Inc. v. City of Myrtle Beach, No. 25103.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2000
    ...which new burdens and restrictions may be imposed when the public welfare demands." Peoples Program for Endangered Species v. Sexton, 323 S.C. 526, 529, 476 S.E.2d 477, 479(996). The trial court properly granted summary judgment to the city because appellant failed to state a cause of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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