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Appeals court hears case of Va. censored dog mural

Wednesday - 3/21/2012, 1:35pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. - The federal appeals court in Richmond is taking up the case of an Arlington dog-grooming shop whose owner says the county is stomping on her free-speech rights.

The county told Kim Houghton, owner of Wag More Dogs in Shirlington, to cover up a large mural on the side of her building that depicts frolicking cartoon dogs. The county classifies the mural as commercial signage because the dogs are related to her business.

Houghton says the mural is artwork that complements an adjacent dog park and that the county has no business dictating the mural's content.

A federal judge in Alexandria sided with the county but Houghton appealed and the circuit court is hearing her case Wednesday. She is represented by the Arlington-based Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian law firm.

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