Summary judgment sought in federal lawsuit against Elk Grove animal control officer by owner of euthanized dog

The plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against an Elk Grove Animal Control officer has requested a summary judgment.

The case, Faryal Kabir v. Crystel Mocek (No. 2:22-cv-01855-TLN-DB), centers on the City of Elk Grove's euthanization of a canine owned by the plaintiff. The canine, named Zeus, was euthanized on October 28 after the city's animal control department seized the dog on July 15 after being deemed a "dangerous animal."  

Ms. Kabir was the owner of Zeus, and Mocek is employed as an animal control officer by Elk Grove. A summary judgment is a judicial process either party can request to expedite a conflict, and as noted in the filing, it is "appropriate when the moving party demonstrates no genuine issue as to any of the material facts exists, and therefore, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." 

In their pleading filed on December 5 by Kabir's attorney Andrew W. Shalaby, the plaintiff argues when Mocek took Zeus on July 15, it was done up to five days too early. Kabir was notified by U.S. Mail on June 15 that Zeus had been classified as a dangerous animal and had to meet specific requirements by July 15.  

According to various filings, Mocek informed Kabir around 3 p.m. on July 15 that the dog would be taken for non-compliance. Mocek reportedly said the compliance time was 5 p.m., two hours later, although no specific time is in the city's applicable code. 

The pleading argues that according to the city's municipal code, no specific time is noted, implying compliance could be allowed up to midnight. Furthermore, the pleading argues the confiscation of Zeus was five days early, given state law allows for five additional days for service by U.S. Mail. 

As noted in the argument, "the true compliance date deadline is therefore July 20, 2022, which was five days after M.O.C.E.K. unlawfully seized and impounded Zeus."

The filing also addresses one of the more controversial aspects of the July 15 incident - a video recording of Zeus lunging at an Elk Grove Police officer. After the controversy emerged this summer, the city released body cam videos showing Zeus being moved to the animal control vehicle under the control of Kabir. 

On behalf of his client, Shalaby notes that instead of Mocek handling Zeus, an Elk Grove Police officer gave a six-foot-long leash to Kabir. Then, as noted, "Under threat of police intervention, M.O.C.E.K. instructed Faryal Kabir herself to load Zeus into the Animal Control vehicle."

One of the compliance orders in the June 15 notice to Kabir was that while Zeus was away from her residence, he was to be retrained on a leash not longer than three feet to ensure control. 

The combination of events, it is argued, especially the early apprehension of Zeus, violates the 14th Amendment. Accordingly, the filing says, "On these grounds, Plaintiffs respectfully move for entry of partial summary judgment establishing that M.O.C.E.K. is liable under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 for seizing and impounding Zeus under color of law without affording due process as mandated by U.S. Constitution, Amendment 14."

Along with this, several cases are pending regarding the euthanization of the canine. Below is a list of the cases to be discussed at tonight's closed meeting of the Elk Grove City Council. 

The matter will be heard at U.S. Federal District Court in Sacramento by Judge Troy L. Nunley on Thursday, January 12, 2023, Courtroom 2. 

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