By a MetNews Staff Writer
A woman contesting a county hearing officer’s determination that her dog be put to death as a dangerous animal had an adequate remedy of appealing the decision to the Superior Court and failed to make a case for mandamus relief, Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has held.
The opinion by Justice Thomas M. Goethals, filed Thursday and not certified for publication, affirms a judgment of dismissal which followed Orange Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Delaney’s sustaining of a demurrer to a writ petition, without leave to amend.
Ileana Garcia was contesting the determination by Orange County Animal Care that her pit bull, Raider, was vicious and dangerous and must be euthanized. Raider attacked three persons in separate incidents, including an animal control shelter worker, and was euthanized in November 2019.
Garcia contended that the Orange County administrative hearing was bereft of due process and sought a writ directing that a new hearing take place.
“The trial court was correct in concluding that there was an adequate remedy at law for Garcia to obtain redress for her due process complaints about the original hearing procedure. That remedy was a de novo appeal authorized explicitly by the Legislature in [Food & Agricultural] Code section 31622….
“Consequently, the trial court did not err in concluding that Garcia’s remedy was to pursue such an appeal in the superior court, rather than mandamus.”
Garcia absented herself from the de novo hearing, at which the administrative determination was upheld, instead pursuing her writ petition, which was denied based on res judicata.
Goethals said the appeal is being acted upon by his panel, notwithstanding that Raider had been put to death, “given the weighty interests at stake related to the death of a pet.”
The case is Garcia v. Orange County Animal Care, G058438.
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