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Dog Mural Dispute In Hands Of Federal Judge

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In Virginia, a dispute between a dog-grooming business owner and Arlington County is now in the hands of a federal judge.

Kim Houghton, the owner of Wag More Dogs in Shirlington, claims Arlington is violating her free speech rights by forcing her to take down or alter a 16-by-60-foot mural painted on the outside wall of her business.

Carol McCoskrie, Arlington's assistant county attorney, says the mural, which depicts cartoon dogs chasing bones, is simply a commercial sign that's larger than the county allows.

"The painting that's the subject of the case has elements of the logo for her business," McCoskrie says.

But Houghton says that's not enough to make the mural an ad.

"They are dogs that are from my logo. But the reason that I chose those is because I like the style of that dog," Houghton says.

In court Friday, Judge Leonie Brinkema said case raises interesting First Amendment issues, and that she needs more time to make her decision.


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