Appeal from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon.
Arthur D. Nicol, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
A Staffordshire terrier became entangled in a "leash law."
The question: Is the element of knowledge or scienter required of the dog's owner to find him in violation of this ordinance?
Defendant Auler was found guilty of violating a municipal ordinance of the city of Champaign which prohibits dogs from running at large and was fined $10. He appeals from the judgment of the trial court.
Auler was charged with violating sections 6-6 and 6-19 of the Municipal Code of Champaign (1975), as amended. Section 6-6 provides:
"No person owning any dog * * * shall suffer or permit such dog to disturb the peace and quiet of the neighborhood by barking * * * or by running through or across public property or private property other than that of the owner."
"(A) No owner of any dog shall permit such animal to run at large, or to be on any public place or private property other than that of the owner without being securely restrained by a leash or other means."
Eugene Jacobs testified on behalf of the city. On April 29, 1981, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Jacobs was walking his pair of greyhounds on the south side of Church Street just west of Prospect Avenue in Champaign. Suddenly, a Staffordshire terrier bounded across the street and attacked Jacobs' dogs. Jacobs identified the terrier as belonging to the defendant. The terrier was not on a leash or otherwise restrained.
Auler took the stand and admitted that he owns a Staffordshire terrier. On the evening of April 29, 1981, he was in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife. The babysitter left in charge of the defendant's children was told by defendant that she should not permit the dog to leave defendant's residence. Auler stated that he had no personal knowledge of the injuries to Mr. Jacobs' dogs and that he had taken steps to prevent his dog from running free. In a 10-year period the dog had crossed the line between defendant's driveway and the sidewalk only once.
In rebuttal, Jacobs testified that he had seen defendant's dog left unattended in the defendant's yard on several occasions.
The trial court found the defendant's dog was running at large during the evening of April 29, 1981. The court construed the ordinances as malum prohibitum offenses and held that the city was not required to prove ...