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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On April 5, 2006, an animal control officer in the city of Grapevine declared two dogs owned by Jason Loban to be dangerous. Two days later, Loban filed a written request for a hearing before the municipal court, as authorized by �6-34 of the city of Grapevine’s Code of Ordinances. The Grapevine municipal court of record held a hearing on May 18, 2006, and affirmed the animal control officer’s declaration that the two dogs were dangerous animals. Loban filed a motion for new trial. The Grapevine municipal court of record denied it. Loban and the city allege that Loban then attempted to file a notice of appeal in County Criminal Court No. 10 but was advised by that court that the appeal should be filed in county court-at-law. Loban therefore filed his appeal in Tarrant County Court-at-Law No. 3. Judge Vincent G. Sprinkle of Tarrant County Court-at-Law No. 3 subsequently signed an order dismissing Loban’s appeal “for failure to file the appeal in the proper court,” citing Texas Government Code �30.00014(a). Approximately six weeks later, Sprinkle entered an order transferring Loban’s appeal to Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 10. According to the allegations in Loban’s and the city’s joint petition for writ of mandamus, Judge Phil Sorrells of Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 10 called Sprinkle and advised him that Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 10 was likewise refusing to exercise jurisdiction over Loban’s appeal. Loban and the city then filed a joint petition for writ of mandamus complaining that neither Tarrant County Court-at-Law No. 3 nor Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 10 would exercise jurisdiction over Loban’s appeal. The 2nd Court of Appeals denied the joint petition for writ of mandamus. Subsequently, Sorrells signed an order reciting that “[o]n February 07, 2007 . . . [Judge Sprinkle] transferred the above referenced cause to County Criminal Court No. 10. . . . This Court hereby, denies jurisdiction of said matter and therefore, denies the transfer of this case into County Criminal Court No. 10.” Loban and the city then filed this second joint petition for writ of mandamus. HOLDING:The joint petition for a writ of mandamus was denied. Under �6-33(a), if the city municipal court determines that an animal is dangerous at a hearing, the owner or harborer must comply with special requirements, including paying a registration fee of $50 for each dangerous animal and supplying proof that the dangerous animal has been vaccinated. Because the owner or harborer is not subject to a punitive fine or to imprisonment for merely keeping a dangerous animal, Loban and the city agreed that “dangerous dog” proceedings under Ordinance 6-33 are not criminal proceedings. Texas Health & Safety Code �822.0421 authorizes an appeal from a dangerous dog declaration. It provides that the owner of an alleged dangerous dog “may appeal the decision of the . . . municipal court in the same manner as appeal from other cases from the . . . municipal court.” Thus, the court stated that Loban possessed the right to appeal the decision of the Grapevine municipal court of record affirming the declaration that his two dogs were dangerous “in the same manner as appeal from other cases from the . . . municipal court.” Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 44.02, the court stated, gives a defendant in any criminal action the right to appeal. Because dangerous dog declarations in Grapevine are not criminal actions, however, the court found that the Code of Criminal Procedure’s statutory grant of a right to appeal in a criminal action was not triggered in Loban’s case. The Texas Government Code provides a defendant a right of appeal “from a judgment or conviction in a municipal court of record.” Section 30.00014(a) provides, in pertinent part: “The county criminal courts or county criminal courts of appeal in the county in which the municipality is located or the municipal courts of appeal have jurisdiction of appeals from a municipal court of record. If there is no county criminal court, county criminal court of appeal, or municipal court of appeal, the county courts at law have jurisdiction of an appeal.” Thus, it initially appeared that under �30.00014(a) Loban could appeal the Grapevine municipal court of record’s affirmation of the City Animal Control Officer’s dangerous dog declaration to a county criminal court in Tarrant County. But under �25.2223(a), the court stated, county criminal courts in Tarrant County have no jurisdiction over civil matters. Because Tarrant County has county criminal courts, the court found that Sprinkle determined correctly that Tarrant County Court-at-Law No. 3 did not have jurisdiction over Loban’s appeal. Thus, the court found that no statutory provision authorized an appeal by Loban of the Grapevine municipal court of record’s affirmation of the city animal control officer’s dangerous dog declaration to Tarrant County Court-at-Law No. 3. “This gap in the statutory right of appeal,” the court stated, “is apparently attributable to the fact that municipal courts previously had only criminal jurisdiction.” OPINION:Walker, J.; Cayce, C.J., and Dauphinot and Walker, JJ.

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