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IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS

FRANKLIN COUNTY, OHIO


PETLAND, INC.
250 Riverside Street
Chillicothe, OH 45601,
Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF GROVE CITY
4035 Broadway
Grove City, Ohio 43123,
And
LAURA LANESE, TED A. BERRY,
JEFFREY M. DAVIS, AND ROBY SCHOTTKE,
in their individual capacities and their official
capacities as members of the Grove City Council
c/o City of Grove City
4035 Broadway
Grove City, Ohio 43123,
And
STEVEN M. BENNETT
in his official capacity as a member of the
Grove City Council only
c/o City of Grove City
4035 Broadway
Grove City, Ohio 43123,
Defendants.

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Case No. __________________

Judge _____________________

JURY DEMAND
ENDORSED HEREON

COMPLAINT
For its Complaint against Defendants City of Grove City, Laura Lanese (in her individual
capacity and her official capacity as a member of the Grove City Council), Ted A. Berry (in his
individual capacity and his official capacity as a member of the Grove City Council), Jeffrey M. Davis
(in his individual capacity and his official capacity as a member of the Grove City Council), Roby

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Schottke (in his individual capacity and his official capacity as a member of the Grove City Council)
and Steven M. Bennett (in his official capacity as a member of the Grove City Council) (when
referring to conduct of the City of Grove City, the defendant city and the individual defendants in
their official capacities as members of the Grove City Council are collectively referenced herein as
Grove City), Plaintiff Petland, Inc. (Petland) hereby states as follows:
INTRODUCTION
1.

This lawsuit arises as a result of Grove City and the individual defendants unlawful

conduct in violation of Petlands vested rights, as well as in violation of its rights under the United
States and Ohio Constitutions regarding property, due process and a remedy for wrongdoing. Grove
City granted Petland a Special Use Permit to operate a Petland store that would offer for sale a variety
of animals, including puppies obtained from USDA licensed breeders (and kittens), and to maintain
kennel space in its store to temporarily house such animals during the sales process. Shortly after
Petland constructed a brand new company-owned pet store at Village of the Groves and began
offering puppies and kittens for sale through such store, Grove City and the individual defendants
passed an ordinance that effectively eliminates Petlands ability to sell puppies and kittens through
such store. Grove City and the individual defendants reversal of position eliminates Petlands
business model for the Grove City store and eliminates the viability of such store as a business.
Recognizing the effect of the ordinance on Petlands business, by a split vote, the Grove City Council
included a provision in the ordinance that delays it from going into effect until January 1, 2017.
Petland is requesting expedited disposition of this case to declare Petlands rights, implement
injunctive relief prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance against Petland in violation of its vested
and constitutional rights, award any appropriate damages, and leave time for the initiation of any
necessary appeal process in advance of the ordinance taking effect.

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ALLEGATIONS COMMON TO ALL CLAIMS FOR RELIEF


2.

Petland is an Ohio corporation with its principal place of business in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Petlands business includes the ownership and operation of company-owned pet stores, as well as the
licensing of franchisees who own and operate pet stores under the Petland name throughout portions
of the United States and Canada, as well as other countries.
3.

Defendant Grove City is a municipal corporation located in Franklin County, Ohio,

and is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio.


4.

Defendants Laura Lanese, Ted A. Berry, Jeffrey M. Davis and Roby Schottke are

members of the Grove City Council. They are named herein in their individual capacities (for
purposes of the 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims), as well as in their official capacities as members of the City
Council.
5.

Defendant Steven M. Bennett is also a member of the Grove City Council. He is

named only in his official capacity as a member of the City Council.


6.

Venue is proper in this Court, because Grove City is in Franklin County, the

defendants conduct in Franklin County gives rise to the claims herein for relief, all or part of the
claims for relief herein arose in Franklin County, and the Petland pet store that is subject to the
ordinance at issue is located in Franklin County, Ohio.
7.

After considering locating a Petland pet store in Grove City, Petland decided to pursue

the construction of a company-owned Petland pet store at Village of the Groves, 2740 London
Groveport Rd., Grove City, Ohio 43123.
8.

On or about September 25, 2015, Grove City notified Petland that it needed a Special

Use Permit for its proposed Store at Village of the Groves.

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9.

By application dated September 28, 2015, Petland applied to Grove City for a Special

Use Permit. Petland paid a $100.00 required fee to Grove City, along with the submission of its
Application for a Special Use Permit.
10.

On or about October 13, 2015, Grove City requested that Petland provide some

additional information to the Grove City Development Department for purposes of considering
Petlands application for a Special Use Permit.
11.

Grove Citys Planning Commission Staff Report dated November 3, 2015 addressed

the various factors considered by Grove City in connection with the request by Petland for a Special
Use Permit to operate the Petland pet store at Village of the Groves. Upon information and belief,
the Report was prepared by Grove Citys Development Department. The Report included the
following:
Project Summary
The applicant is requesting a Special Use Permit to operate a Petland store,
located at 2740-2744 London Groveport Road, in the Village at the Groves
Shopping Center. The store would offer a variety of animals for sale including
birds, fish, reptiles, small animals, puppies and kittens. The store will also offer
pet food and goods. No boarding of animals will be conducted as part of the use
and no grooming services will be offered. * * *
Facts
Details
The applicant has indicated multiple measures taken to ensure that the proposed
use will not harm neighboring uses including the installation and use of a separate
HVAC system and exhaust to control odor, temperature and humidity of the
indoor kennel area. The store will also be equipped with two (2) double bowl
stainless steel sinks with disposals to handle all pet waste. The puppies will not
be walked outside in the parking lots.
Code Analysis:
Per Section 1135.09, the Planning Commission is responsible for reviewing
Special Use Permit requests and recommending approval, approval with
modifications or denial to City Council based on findings of compliance with the
standards and requirements of this Code (see relevant code sections) and subject
to the conditions established by the Planning Commission to ensure compliance

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with the letter and intent of this Code. The following is the Development
Departments evaluation based on code standards and requirements.
1. The proposed use shall be in harmony with the existing or intended character
of the district and nearby affected districts and shall not change the essential
character of the districts;
Standard is Met: Staff does not feel that the proposed use will change the
essential character of the district. The proposed pet store is located in a
shopping center with other retail uses.
*

3. The proposed use shall not adversely affect the health, safety, morals, or
welfare of persons residing or working in the neighborhood;
Standard is Met: Staff does not feel that the proposed pet shop will adversely
affect the health, safety, morals, or welfare of persons residing or working in
the neighborhood. The store is located in a retail area and all business will be
conducted within the structure, which has been design [sic] to minimize any
impacts on adjacent uses.
*

6. The proposed use shall be in accord with the general and specific objectives,
and the purpose and intent of this Zoning Code and the Land Use Plan and
any other plans and ordinances of the City;
Standard is Met: The use is in accordance with the intent of applicable code
requirements and ordinances of the City.
7. The proposed use complies with the applicable specific provisions and
standards of this Code;
Standard is Met: The use is in accordance with the intent of all applicable
code requirements.
*

Recommendation
After review and consideration, the Development Department recommends
Planning Commission make a recommendation of approval to City Council for
the Special Use Permit as submitted.

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12.

The Grove City Planning Commission conducted a meeting on November 3, 2015,

and one of the items addressed during the meeting was Petlands request for a Special Use Permit.
The Report referenced above was presented during the City Planning Commission meeting on
November 3, 2015. The Grove City Development Department recommended during such meeting
that the Planning Commission make a recommendation of approval to City Council for the Special
Use Permit as submitted by Petland. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend
that the Grove City Council approve Petlands Special Use Permit as submitted. One of the Planning
Commission members who voted to recommend that the City Council approve Petlands Special Use
Permit was defendant Roby Schottke.
13.

Petlands Special Use Permit application was presented to the Grove City Council as

Grove City Ordinance C90-15 and received its first reading on or about November 16, 2015.
14.

Grove City Ordinance C90-15 received a second reading at the Grove City Council

meeting conducted on December 7, 2015, and Grove City instructed Petland to have a representative
present at the December 7, 2015 council meeting in connection with consideration of Petlands
request for a Special Use Permit. Petlands Vice-President of Corporate Stores, Mr. Anthony
Samples, appeared before the City Council at the December 7, 2015 meeting and answered questions
presented in response to the application. The issue of Petland selling puppies sourced from USDA
licensed and inspected breeders was specifically discussed. Mr. Samples explained that the Petland
store would be a full pet and supply store. Councilman Berry asked Mr. Samples what types of
animals the store would sell, and Mr. Samples explained in response that the store, among other
things, would sell puppies, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish and reptiles. In response to questioning
by Councilman Davis about what protections and quality assurances the Petland store would offer,
Mr. Samples explained that Petlands puppies are sourced from USDA approved breeders, and that

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Petland will not purchase puppies from USDA licensed and inspected breeders who have been cited
for a direct violation in the previous two years. Mr. Berry stated in response to this discussion that
other pet stores in Grove City do not sell puppies or cats, and that while he has no issue with Petland
selling dry goods, he did have an issue with them selling puppies. Following the discussion, the
Grove City Council voted to approve Grove City Ordinance C90-15 granting Petlands Special Use
Permit. Council members Davis, Bennett and Klemack-McGraw voted to approve the ordinance.
Councilman Berry voted against approval of the ordinance. By a 3-1 vote of the Grove City Council,
Ordinance C90-15 passed, granting Petlands Special Use Permit without any modifications.
15.

By email dated December 8, 2015, Petland inquired of Grove City about next steps

following approval of the Special Use Permit and also inquired about a Building Permit. Grove City
responded by email that same day, informing Petland that there was a 30 day effective period for
your special use permit after Councils approval. After that period is up, your use is permitted.
Grove City also stated in the email that the building permit process was handled through Grove Citys
Building Division.
16.

Petlands Building Permit for the Village of the Groves store was approved. Petland

received an invoice from Grove City for its Building Permit on December 10, 2015. On or about
December 22, 2015, Petland paid $1048.54 to Grove City for Commercial Building Plan Review, a
state fee, a Commercial Building Permit and a Commercial Occupancy Permit.
17.

The sale of puppies is a substantial part of the business of most Petland pet stores. The

typical Petland pet store obtains more than fifty percent of its revenue from the sale of puppies.
18.

Petlands business plan for its Village of the Groves pet store included the sale of

puppies. The size of the store, construction and build-out costs, lease obligation, kennel and HVAC
system, and anticipated employee staffing based upon the size of the store and its expected offerings

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created an overhead structure that necessitated the sale of puppies to make the store a profitable and
viable business.
19.

On March 7, 2016, the Grove City Council and individual defendants Lanese, Berry,

Davis and Schottke voted to enact Grove City Ordinance C-17-16, titled Restrictions on the Sale of
Dogs and Cats in the City. The discussion in Grove City Council meetings leading up to the passage
of Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 made clear that the intention of the Ordinance was to eliminate
Petlands ability to purchase puppies from USDA licensed breeders and distributors the very source
of puppies that Petland identified to Council in response to Councils questioning regarding Petlands
Special Use Permit application. The discussion in Grove City Council meetings leading up to the
passage of Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 also made clear that such ordinance was targeted at
Petlands business model and was a de facto revocation and/or retroactive amendment to Petlands
Special Use Permit and the previous approval of Petlands business model. Indeed, Mr. Schottke had
previously voted as a Planning Commission member to recommend approval of Petlands Special
Use Permit, and Mr. Davis had previously voted as a member of the City Council to award the Special
Use Permit to Petland.
20.

Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 allows a pet store in Grove City to offer for sale only

those dogs and cats that a pet store has obtained from or displays in cooperation with an animal rescue
organization, an animal shelter or a humane society.
21.

Petlands company and franchise stores have collectively dedicated some kennel

space in the stores to the placement and adoption of shelter and rescue animals. Petlands Adopt-APet program has placed more than 350,000 of such animals in new homes. Petland planned to devote
some portion of its kennel space in the Grove City store for display in furtherance of the placement
of shelter or rescue animals. However, Petlands effort to place such animals is typically a humane

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gesture made possible by the profitable operation of the stores in question. Petlands business model
does not permit most of its pet stores to profitably operate without selling purebred and designer breed
puppies that the consumer market desires. Shelter and rescue animals are typically not puppies, are
typically not purebred, have a higher than average incidence of health and behavioral problems, and
are often difficult to obtain from a consistent and reliable source. Publicly available data confirms
that shelter and rescue dog populations are overwhelmingly comprised of pit bulls rejected by their
owners a type of dog that Petland does not sell.
22.

Petlands business model cannot profitably operate the Village of the Groves store in

conformance with Grove City Ordinance C-17-16. Petland communicated this fact to the Grove City
Council prior to the enactment of Ordinance C-17-16. The response from Council member Lanese
was that the grace period prior to enforcement of the newly enacted ordinance should be reduced in
light of the fact that Petland had acknowledged that it could not continue the operation of the Village
of the Groves store in compliance with the ordinance and would have to close the store.
23.

Grove Citys Ordinance C-17-16 amounts to an unconstitutional abrogation of

Petlands vested rights and a retroactive unconstitutional regulatory taking of Petlands property,
destroying Petlands reasonable, investment-backed expectations regarding such property.

In

addition, Ordinance C-17-16 does not substantially advance legitimate state interests, and the
purported bases for the ordinance lack a substantial relationship with the public, health, safety and
welfare of the community.
COUNT ONE
(Impairment And/Or Abrogation Of Petlands Vested Rights)
24.

Petland restates and hereby incorporates the prior allegations as if fully rewritten

herein.

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25.

Petland acquired a property interest in the Village of the Groves site. In connection

with its contemplated use of the property, Petland obtained a Special Use Permit to operate its pet
store at the site, including the right to sell puppies obtained from USDA licensed breeders. Following
receipt of the Special Use Permit, Petland made a substantial investment in improvements through
the build-out of the store located at the Village of the Groves site. This investment in improvements
was in excess of one hundred seventy thousand dollars.
26.

After Petland made a substantial investment in the pet store located at the Village of

the Groves site, Grove City, through the vote of the Grove City Council, enacted Ordinance C-17-16.
This Ordinance eliminated Petlands legal ability to obtain puppies from USDA licensed breeders
(making it a crime) and severely restricted the legal sources of dogs permitted to be sold in Petlands
Village of the Groves store. The legally permitted sources for puppies under the Ordinance that are
located in the Grove City area are unwilling and/or legally unable to supply dogs to Petland, and such
sources do not comport with the type (age, breed, pedigree, price point) of dogs that Petland intended
to sell from the Village of the Groves pet store.
27.

Based upon Grove Citys grant of a Special Use Permit, Petland changed position,

expended substantial time, effort, and money, and incurred significant obligations. Petland did these
things in reliance upon the vested rights granted to it by the Special Use Permit and other approvals
of Grove City regarding the operation of the Village of the Groves pet store and the permitted sale of
puppies from USDA licensed and inspected breeders.
28.

Petland reasonably relied upon Grove Citys express grant of a Special Use Permit

and its further grant of a Building Permit in proceeding with its investment in the Village of the Groves
site and the execution of its business plan with respect to such pet store.

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29.

Petlands vested property rights in the Village of the Groves pet store and in Grove

Citys authorization of the pet store and its business model, including the rights granted by the Special
Use Permit and other approvals of by the city to operate the pet store and sell puppies obtained from
USDA licensed breeders, are constitutionally protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to
the United States Constitution and by Section 16, Article I of the Ohio Constitution. Petland has
obtained vested rights in the use of the property in question for purposes of operating a pet store that
sells puppies obtained from USDA licensed breeders, and the passage of Grove City Ordinance C17-16 and the defendants threatened enforcement of such ordinance to restrict or prohibit such use
deprive Petland of its vested rights. Petlands vested rights include not only its permitted use, but also
the leasehold interest and interest in real property improvements, as well as the property interest in
the business itself and Petlands reasonable investment-backed expectations with respect to such
business.
30.

Without the relief requested herein, the enforcement of Grove City Ordinance C-17-

16 will cause Petland irreparable harm by destroying the business viability of its pet store at the
Village of the Groves location and by causing damage and other reputational harm to Petland,
including the loss of customers, loss of reputation and loss of goodwill. The relief requested is set
forth more fully below, but includes, without limitation, an injunction preventing enforcement of
Ordinance C-17-16 as to the Petland Village of the Groves pet store in violation of Petlands vested
rights and a declaration that the ordinance is unconstitutional as a result of its violation of Petlands
vested rights.
COUNT TWO
(Violation of Petlands Rights Guaranteed By The United States And Ohio Constitutions,
Including Property Rights, Due Process Rights And Right To A Remedy For Wrongdoing)

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31.

Petland restates and hereby incorporates the prior allegations as if fully rewritten

32.

Petland acquired a property interest in the Village of the Groves site. In connection

herein.

with its contemplated use of the property, Petland obtained a Special Use Permit to operate its pet
store at the site, including the right to sell puppies obtained from USDA licensed breeders. Following
receipt of the Special Use Permit, Petland made a substantial investment in the build-out of the store
located at the Village of the Groves site, including improvements to the property that are specific to
the contemplated sale of puppies such as the construction of kennels, an HVAC system designed for
kennel use, and custom petting stations that allow customers to visit with puppies and kittens in the
store in connection with their potential purchase of such animals. Moreover, the size of the space and
the overall profitability of the business model for the Village of the Groves store are dependent upon
the sale of purebred and designer breed puppies desired by the consumer market.
33.

After Petland made a substantial investment in the pet store located at the Village of

the Groves site, Grove City and individual defendants Lanese, Berry, Davis and Schottke voted to
enact Grove City Ordinance C-17-16. This Ordinance eliminated Petlands legal ability to obtain
puppies from USDA licensed breeders and severely restricted the legal sources of dogs permitted to
be sold in Petlands Village of the Groves store. The legally permitted sources for puppies under the
Ordinance that are located in the Grove City area are unwilling and/or legally unable to supply dogs
to Petland, and such sources do not comport with the type of dogs that Petland intended to sell from
the Village of the Groves pet store.
34.

The passage of Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 and the defendants threatened

enforcement of such ordinance constitute a taking of Petlands property interest in the Village of the
Groves Petland pet store, including the leasehold interest, as well as its interest in the improvements

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and the business itself. Before voting to enact Ordinance C-17-16, Grove City Council member Davis
called the Councils attention to the real live investment that Petland had made in the Village of the
Groves store. Nevertheless, he and three other Council members (Lanese, Schottke and Berry) voted
in favor of Ordinance C-17-16, thereby destroying a fundamental attribute of Petlands ownership
interest in the property by denying Petland the right to sell puppies purchased from USDA licensed
breeders in its Village of the Groves store. Grove Citys governmental action in enacting the
ordinance thereby also deprived Petland of all economically viable uses of its property interests
(including the lease and improvements to the property) by denying Petland the ability to profitably
operate the Village of the Groves store, as well as the ability to utilize the leasehold interest.
35.

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Section

19, Article I of the Ohio Constitution guarantee that private property rights shall not be taken for
public use without just compensation.
36.

In addition, Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 does not substantially advance legitimate

state interests. Although the Grove City Council members who voted for the ordinance referenced
varying reasons for its enactment, it was in reality an ineffective, feel-good restriction passed for
political purposes at the request of certain Council members. For example, Council member Lanese
claimed a desire to protect consumers, while acknowledging that dogs from the sources permitted by
the Ordinance (shelters, rescue organizations and humane societies) would be more likely to have
congenital defects and behavioral problems. She stated in support of the ordinance that at least
consumers would know that they are more likely to purchase a bad dog if they know if comes from a
shelter, rescue, or humane society, as contrasted with pet store consumers who (according to her)
may be unaware of the origin of their puppy and could possibly end up with a dog that becomes sick
or has a congenital condition. Such a rationale is illogical and fails to advance any legitimate state

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interests. Other reasons offered in the ordinance itself also fail to advance any legitimate state
interests. For example, any suggestion that commercial breeders will be impacted by an ordinance
aimed at pet stores is not supported by any rational, credible evidence. Animal rights groups concede
that pet stores (all pet stores in the aggregate, not just Petland) sell less than two percent of the puppies
sold in the United States. Yet, Grove Citys Ordinance C-17-16 targets the single pet store that
operates within the municipality and does nothing to regulate breeders. Though the purported purpose
of the ordinance is to undermine commercial breeders, the terms of the ordinance permit city residents
to purchase dogs directly from commercial breeders even unlicensed breeders. Similarly, any
suggestion that overcrowding in animal shelters can be reduced by limiting the source of dogs sold
by Petland is equally unsupportable. Consumers who purchase puppies from Petland purchase higher
quality, purebred or designer breed puppies and pay retail prices that are commensurate with the
quality of such animals. Statistics show that the percentage of such dogs that are abandoned or turned
over to animal shelters is de minimis. By contrast, dogs that are acquired from animal shelters and
rescues are more likely to have behavioral and genetic problems and are much more likely to find
their way back to an animal shelter even after subsequent owners purchase or adopt them. Finally,
forcing Petland to sell dogs obtained from shelters and rescues will not reduce the dog populations in
such facilities, because Petland cannot operate under such a model at the Village of the Groves store,
and the shelters and rescues in the Grove City area either refuse to sell dogs to Petland and/or are not
lawfully licensed to do so.
37.

Grove Citys Council meetings failed to provide a reliable mechanism for receiving

and reviewing credible factual information upon which to base a decision regarding legitimate state
interests in the context of Ordinance C-17-16. No cross-examination was permitted, and the persons
who spoke during the Council meetings were permitted to make statements without any foundation

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or personal knowledge. The idea for the ordinance originated with an animal rights organization, and,
after they were approached, several Grove City Council members took up the cause. The Council
meetings were a showcase for political grandstanding during which one of the ordinances primary
proponents, Council member Lanese, declared that dogs were living, breathing, human beings
before voting in favor of the ordinance. Petland was denied the requisite due process required of such
a proceeding that retroactively eliminated its property rights, including its investment-backed
expectations for its business.
38.

The elimination of such property rights has caused substantial harm and damage to

Petland, including immediate irreparable harm that is difficult to quantify. The relief requested is set
forth more fully below, but includes, without limitation, the request for an injunction preventing the
unconstitutional taking of Petlands property interests through the enforcement of Ordinance C-1716 and a declaration that such ordinance is unconstitutional because it operates to deprive Petland of
its property interests without due process of law.
COUNT THREE
(42 U.S.C. 1983)
39.

Petland restates and hereby incorporates the prior allegations as if fully rewritten

40.

Defendant Grove City and the individual City Council member defendants who voted

herein.

for the ordinance acted under the color of state law when they enacted Grove City Ordinance C-1716.
41.

Defendant Grove City and City Council members Lanese, Berry, Davis and

Schottkes conduct in enacting C-17-16 deprived Petland of its vested and constitutionally protected
property rights in the improvements to, and use of, the property interests in its pet store and business
located at Village of the Groves. Such conduct deprived Petland of the very rights that had been

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granted to it through the issuance of the Special Use Permit, Building Permit and approval of Petlands
business model in place at the Village of the Groves pet store. Defendants Grove City, Lanese, Berry,
Davis and Schottkes deprivation of Petlands rights was conducted without due process of law.
Further, the conduct of individual defendants Lanese, Berry, Davis and Schottke specifically targeted
Petland for unlawful political purposes and/or for unlawful purposes based upon personal emotional
positions, rather than on the basis of any legitimate public interest or purpose that was reasonably
supported by established evidence.
42.

Defendant Grove City and the individual City Council members conduct as described

herein violated 42 U.S.C. 1983 through the deprivation of Petlands rights under the Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
COUNT FOUR
(Inverse Condemnation / Mandamus)
43.

Petland restates and hereby incorporates the prior allegations as if fully rewritten

44.

In the event that the Court does not issue a declaration and/or injunctive relief

herein.

rendering Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 inapplicable or unenforceable with respect to Petland as a
result of Petlands previously vested rights in the Village of the Groves pet store; or in the event that
the Court does not invalidate Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 as a result of defendants violation of
Petlands rights pursuant to the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,
42 U.S.C. 1983, and Section 16, Article I of the Ohio Constitution; then Petland requests a writ of
mandamus from the Court compelling Grove City to initiate appropriation proceedings with respect
to Petlands property rights and provide the appropriate compensation for the denial of such rights.
45.

If the other relief requested herein is not granted, then Petland submits that: (a) it will

have a clear legal right to compel Grove City to commence an appropriation action; (b) there will be

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a corresponding clear legal duty on the part of Grove City to institute such action; and (c) there will
be a lack of an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
46.

As to Petlands clear legal right and Grove Citys clear legal duty referenced above,

such right and duty emanate from the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution and Section 19, Article I of the Ohio Constitution, all of which guarantee that private
property rights shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. As explained above,
defendants enactment and threatened enforcement of Ordinance C-17-16:

(a) destroyed a

fundamental attribute of Petlands ownership interest in the Village of the Groves pet store property
(such property interests include not only the leasehold interest and interest in real property
improvements, but also the property interest in the business itself and Petlands reasonable
investment-backed expectations with respect to such business); (b) deprived Petland of all
economically viable uses of its interests in such property by eliminating a primary source of revenue
for the store and its ability to operate profitably; and (c) failed to substantially advance legitimate state
interests, because any reasons offered by the defendants for the enactment of the ordinance were
unsupported by the evidence and not tailored to realistically accomplish the purported objectives of
the ordinance.
47.

Petland has and will continue to incur substantial damages as a result of the enactment

of Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 and any enforcement of such ordinance.


COUNT FIVE
(Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 Is Void For Vagueness)
48.

Petland restates and hereby incorporates the prior allegations as if fully rewritten

49.

Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 is void for vagueness, thereby constituting a denial of

herein.

due process under the United States and Ohio Constitutions.

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50.

Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 purports to regulate the sources from which a pet store

is permitted to obtain dogs and cats. The three permitted sources in Section 1(b)(1) of the ordinance
are: (A) An Animal Rescue; (B) An Animal Shelter; and/or (C) Humane Society. With respect to
the three identified permitted sources, only one is defined. Humane Society is defined in Section
1(a)(5) of the ordinance. The ordinance also includes a definition of Animal Rescue for Dogs in
Section 1(a)(1) and of Animal Shelter for Dogs in Section 1(a)(2). These defined terms, however
use different terminology from that used to identify the permitted sources under Section (1)(b)(1).
Indeed, the definitions in Section 1(a) are even more confusing when considered in the context of the
restrictions in Section 1(b) stating that they apply to both dogs and cats a concept entirely at odds
with the definitions of Animal Rescue for Dogs and Animal Shelter for Dogs set forth in Section
1(a) of the ordinance.
51.

Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 also purports to be a criminal ordinance, and it states

in Section 1(d) that [a] violation of this Section shall constitute a misdemeanor in the fourth degree.
52.

Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 is vague and ambiguous as a result of having either

undefined terms or defined terms that are not correspondingly used in the substantive section of the
ordinance. As a result, prohibitions are not clearly defined, and the ordinance invites arbitrary and/or
discriminatory enforcement.
53.

As a consequence, Petland faces the consequence and stigma of potential criminal

enforcement and punishment for violation of an ordinance that, because it is vague and ambiguous,
prevents a potential offender from knowing the nature of the conduct that will constitute a violation
of the ordinance.

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WHEREFORE, Petland demands judgment as follows:


(1)

A preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining Grove City from enforcing

Ordinance #C-17-16 against Petland and its pet store located at Village of the Groves, 2740 London
Groveport Rd., Grove City, Ohio 43123 in violation of Petlands vested rights;
(2)

A declaratory judgment declaring Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 unlawful,

unconstitutional under the United States and Ohio Constitutions, and unenforceable;
(3)

A declaratory judgment declaring that Grove City Ordinance C-17-16 is void for

vagueness pursuant to Count Five above;


(4)

Compensatory and consequential damages pursuant to Article I, Section 16 of the

Ohio Constitution, or as otherwise permitted by law, in an amount to be determined at trial;


(5)

Compensatory, consequential and punitive damages against defendants Lanese,

Berry, Davis and Schottke for violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983;


(6)

An award of Petlands attorneys fees and expenses incurred in this action pursuant to

42 U.S.C. 1988;
(7)

In the alternative, a writ of mandamus pursuant to Count Four compelling Grove City

to initiate appropriation proceedings with respect to the regulatory taking of Petlands property rights
and to provide the appropriate compensation for the denial of such rights.
(8)

An award of costs and expenses incurred herein;

(9)

Interest on any monetary award; and,

(10)

Such other and further equitable relief as may be proper.

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Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Robert G. Cohen_________________
Robert G. Cohen
(0041707)
Email: rcohen@keglerbrown.com
Robert G. Schuler
(0039258)
Email: rschuler@keglerbrown.com
KEGLER, BROWN, HILL & RITTER CO., L.P.A.
65 East State Street, Suite 1800
Columbus, OH 43215
Telephone: (614) 462-5400
Telecopier: (614) 464-2634

Attorneys for Plaintiff


Petland, Inc.

JURY DEMAND ENDORSEMENT


Plaintiff hereby submits its demand for a trial by jury on all issues so triable, said jury to
be comprised of the maximum number of jurors allowable by law.
/s/ Robert G. Cohen_________________
Robert G. Cohen (0041707)

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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
A true and accurate copy of the foregoing Complaint is being served by regular U.S. mail
and email, upon the City Attorney for Grove City, Stephen J. Smith, Esq., Frost Brown Todd LLC,
One Columbus, Suite 2300, 10 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio
(sjsmith@fbtlaw.com), this 23rd day of March, 2016.

/s/ Robert G. Cohen


Robert G. Cohen

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43215-3484