State v. Smith
The plain language of C.G.S. §22-364(a) prohibits a dog owner from, inter alia, allowing a dog freely to move around another's property, unrestrained and unhindered, and not under the direct influence of the dog's owner. Bradshaw Smith and his dog were on the grounds of Windsor High School at approximately 5:40 a.m. when Officer Joseph Beaudoin of the Windsor police department arrived to investigate a report of a roaming dog. Beaudoin saw Smith talking with an off-duty police officer, but he did not see a dog. Beaudoin asked Smith if he knew where his dog was located. Smith pointed in a general direction, but Beaudoin still could not see the dog. Smith then called the dog and it immediately appeared from behind some vehicles approximately 20 to 30 yards away from where Smith stood. Beaudoin charged Smith with permitting a dog to roam at large in violation of C.G.S. §22-364(a). Following a court trial, Smith was convicted of the charged infraction. Smith appealed claiming that C.G.S. §22-364(a) was void for vagueness as applied and that insufficient evidence supported his conviction. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendant contended that C.G.S. §22-364(a) does not give a person of ordinary intelligence fair warning that walking a dog at a public high school under his verbal control but without a leash, falls within its scope. The Appellate Court found that under the plain terms of the statute, a reasonable person in the defendant's position had fair notice that C.G.S. §22-364(a) prohibits a dog owner from, inter alia, allowing a dog freely to move around another's property, unrestrained and unhindered, and not under the direct influence of the dog's owner. Because the prohibition of the statute readily could be defined and determined in this case, the statute was not void for vagueness. Secondly, sufficient evidence supported the conviction. While the defendant demonstrated control over the dog when he called the dog and it responded, the evidence inferentially demonstrated that while the defendant was speaking with Beaudoin, he was exerting no control over the dog, who was 20 to 30 yards away from him and not in his sight.