The legal crisis of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ | Media Pyro


“I’ll get you, my beauty, and your little dog!” One of my favorite movies The Wizard of Oz. I watched the movie again recently, and this time, I was drawn to a scene with a lot of legal power.

That neighbor, Miss Almira Gulch, is supposed to go to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s house to take Dorothy’s dog Toto to the police to be destroyed. Apparently, Toto bit Gulch’s leg, and then he went to the sheriff and asked him to put him to sleep (Toto, not the sheriff).

Dorothy was by her side, and she called out, “Uncle Henry, you’re not going to let him go, are you?”

Uncle Henry replied confidently, “It won’t work.”

Gulch then suddenly slaps a “police order,” which authorizes him to pardon Toto.

An argument ensues when Dorothy refuses to release the prisoner. Gulch warns the family to give up on Toto immediately, “if you don’t want to break the law.”

Uncle Henry looked at the order for two seconds, then nodded slowly. He sent Toto to Gulch, who carried him in a basket attached to his bicycle.

After this series, I did some thinking. Orders without notice to those who have affected me, I fear—just like dogs barking.

It appears to me that there is a provision in Kansas law to override this sheriff’s order. I don’t think the movie people were aware of these legal implications. However, if a lawyer wrote the presentation, there may be a sequence of the film related to a specific motion to correct the wrong, such as:

Ozzie J: This is a motion by Dorothy Gale to set aside the order without notice, by respondent Almira Gulch from Twister County Sheriff Charlie Farley.

The order was obtained under the terms of the Dogs That Annoy Fine Folks Act.

Miss Gulch, the accuser, alleges that Dorothy’s dog, Toto, sneaks into her garden to disturb her. When she gently asked Dorothy to take Toto away, the dog lunged at her and bit Miss Gulch in the chest.

After hearing Miss Gulch’s evidence, the learned police officer ordered the suspect to be removed from Gale’s home and a warrant was brought before him.

Dorothy says in a vow that Toto is a good dog. He denied that Toto had entered the garden, and insisted that the accused should wake him and Toto as they were leaving, suddenly jumping in front of them with his broom and crying.

An affidavit sworn by Emma Gale (aka Aunt Em) states that Almira Gulch is the owner of the whole county and for 23 years she wants to tell Almira Gulch some things, but she is a Christian woman. , he could not speak.

After reviewing all the evidence, I can see that Toto really ate the ridge of Almira Gulch. Not only did the suspect suffer physical pain, but he was also forced to endure emotional pain after Dorothy started singing.

The question now is whether this order should have been sought and notified to Dorothy. To Toto too.

Section 4 of the law reads as follows:

    4. The sheriff may issue an order without notice:

    a) Unable to locate the dog or the owner;

    b) The dog or owner may lose control;

    c) There is a possibility that the dog or the owner will bite the helper when he gets that notice.

There is no doubt that the original application fails to meet the first leg, so to speak, of the test. Dorothy and Toto are seen at Gale’s home talking to the farm animals.

There is little evidence regarding the “b” application. Almira Gulch argues that if they had gotten the message, Toto and Dorothy would have been out of here like a tornado. He says that Dorothy always sang to him a strange song about going to see the wizard.

Gulch argues that there are good reasons to believe that the transmission of “c” is a coincidence.

I don’t agree. Uncle Henry’s story is that the assistant came to Gale’s farm many times to play horseshoes with Uncle Henry. Finally, Toto engages Charlie in a game of chess over Aunt Em’s chocolate plate. I don’t see how Toto is going to bite the assistant when he goes to give him a paper. Maybe he licked her hand. But that’s it.

I understand that the Commissioner’s order should not have been issued without notice, and I set it aside. I award legal fees for the motion to Dorothy; to Toto as well.

As a lawyer, I understand the legal significance of this order without proper notice to Dorothy et. al. did not escape us. And as lawyers, we sometimes have to be magicians to deliver the right things. At least justice was served, as Toto jumped from the basket en route to his expected death. I hope that the next time one of us watches the film again, we will look at this show with a different perspective and appreciate the true result.

Marcel Strigberger, after 40-plus years of practicing civil litigation in the Toronto area, closed his law office and decided to continue his comedy and storytelling interests. . His book has just been launched Owners, Owners, and Other Boomers: An Unbiased Boomer’s View of Retirement. For more information, visit and follow him @MarcelsHumour on Twitter.

This column reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ABA Journal—or the American Bar Association.


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