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    NICCHIA v. PEOPLE OF STATE OF NEW YORK , 254 U.S. 228 (1920)

    U.S. Supreme Court

    NICCHIA v. PEOPLE OF STATE OF NEW YORK , 254 U.S. 228 (1920)

    254 U.S. 228

    No. 74.

    Argued Nov. 17, 1920.
    Decided Dec. 6, 1920.

    Messrs. Joseph Nicchia and George P. Foulk, both of New York City, for plaintiff in error.

    Mr. Harry G. Anderson, of Brooklyn, N. Y., for the People of State of New York.

    Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

    Plaintiff in error owned two dogs which she harbored within New York City without having obtained the license required by chapter 115, Laws of New York of 1894, as amended by chapter 412, Laws 1895, and chapter 495, Laws 1902. She was charged with violating the statute on November 11, 1916, [254 U.S. 228, 229]   found guilty in the City Magistrates' Court, Brooklyn, and required to pay a fine. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment without opinion.

    Chapter 115 as amended provides:

    The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was incorporated by chapter 469, Laws of New York 1866. 'The purpose of the corporation was to enforce the laws enacted to prevent cruelty to animals.' Divis v. American Society, 75 N. Y. 362, 366. It has long been recognized by the Legislature as a valuable and efficient aid toward the enforcement of those laws. New York Penal Law (Consol. Laws, c. 40) art. 16, 196. The payment of public funds to a similar corporation for assistance in enforcing penal statutes has been declared unobjectionable. People ex rel. State Board of Charities v. New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 161 N. Y. 233, 239, 250, 55 N. E. 1063

    Property in dogs is of an imperfect or qualified nature and they may be subjected to peculiar and drastic police regulations by the state without depriving their owners of any federal right. Sentell v. N. O. & C. [254 U.S. 228, 231]   R. R. Co., 166 U.S. 698 , 17 Sup. Ct. 693; Fox v. Mohawk & H. R. Humane Society, supra. Its power to require those who wish to keep dogs to secure licenses from and pay fees to a public officer is also clear. And when the state in the reasonable conduct of its own affairs chooses to entrust the work incident to such licenses and collection of fees to a corporation created by it for the express purpose of aiding in law enforcement, and in good faith appropriates the funds so collected for payment of expenses fairly incurred and just compensation for the valuable services rendered, there is no infringement of any right guaranteed to the individual by the federal Constitution. Such action does not amount to the taking of one man's property and giving it to another, nor does it deprive dog owners of liberty without due process of law.

    The judgment below must be


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