Wag More Dogs takes case to appeals court

|
Capital Land,Liz Essley

Wag More Dogs is taking its case against Arlington County to a higher court.

The Arlington dog-groomer and its representative, the Institute for Justice, filed Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Wag More Dogs' case, dismissed earlier this year by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Alexandria, revolves around whether the dog grooming and boarding company can display a mural depicting dogs on the back of its building, adjacent to a dog park.

Arlington County said the mural violates the county's sign ordinance, since its subject matter makes it a sign for Wag More Dogs, rather than art.

Robert Frommer, lead attorney on the case for Institute for Justice, said he thinks the case will have a better chance in the appeals court.

“[The sign ordinance] lets Arlington County officials play art critic – that certain things are art, and aren't regulated, and certain things are signs. But giving government officials power like that is contrary to the First Amendment," he said.

Arlington County's zoning administrator Melinda Artman said she was enforcing the law, and that the mural met the definition of a sign.

“I don’t mean to be heartless," she said, "but I do mean to be fair."

View article comments Leave a comment