Case Details

Navigation

Full Site Search

Loading...

The navigation select boxes below will direct you to the selected page when you hit enter.

Topical Explanations

Primary Legal Materials

Select by Subject

Select by Species

Select Administrative Topic


World Law

Secondary Legal Materials

Great Apes and the Law

Great Apes and the Law

Maps of State Laws

Map of USA

Non-US Cases

Case Name Citation Summary
Department of Local Government and Regional Development v Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd   Western Australia Magistrates Court, 8 February 2008, Magistrate C.P. Crawford   The central allegation was that the defendants transported the sheep in a way likely to cause unnecessary harm. Magistrate Crawford found that the sheep, some of which died from inanition, suffered distress and harm and that this harm was unnecessary. Proof of actual harm, however, was unnecessary as it only had to be shown that it was likely that the sheep would suffer harm. This required evidence pointing only to the conditions onboard the ship, and voyage plan, as at the first day. The defences of necessity and honest and reasonable belief were both dismissed.  
Re Weaver; Trumble and Animal Welfare League of Victoria   [1963] VR 257   As part of her will, a testatrix left the yearly interest from a capital sum to the benefit of the Animal Welfare League of Victoria. After consideration of the objects of the League, the Court found that the League's activities were charitable and that even if its attention was not devoted to caring for sick animals in need of medical attention, this would not deprive the League's purpose of its charitable intention. The gift was, therefore, deemed a charitable gift.  
Animal Liberation (Vic) Inc v Gasser   (1991) 1 VR 51   Animal Liberation were injuncted from publishing words claiming animal cruelty in a circus or demonstrating against that circus. They were also found guilty of nuisance resulting from their demonstration outside that circus. On appeal, the injunctions were overturned although the finding of nuisance was upheld.  
The Duck Shooting Case   (1997) 189 CLR 579   The plaintiff was charged with being in an area set aside for hunting, during hunting season, without a licence. The plaintiff argued that he was there in order to collect dead and wounded ducks and endangered species and to draw media attention to the cruelty associated with duck shooting. The Court found that although the regulation under which the plaintiff was charged restricted the implied freedom of political communication, it was appropriate to protect the safety of persons with conflicting aims likely to be in the area.  
Oshannessy v Heagney   [1997] NSWSC 482   The case focuses primarily on the procedural requirements for stating a case. However, there is also discussion concerning what are the appropriate steps that a motor vehicle driver, who has hit and injured an animal with their vehicle, must take. In this case, the trial judge found that a refusal to stop and inspect the animal did not constitute a failure to take reasonable steps to alleviate that animal's pain.  
Mark, Stoner, Setter and Pearson v Henshaw   (1998) 155 ALR 118   The four appellants, members of Animal Liberation, entered premises containing battery hens without permission. This was done allegedly on concern as to the treatment of those battery hens and the appellants claimed this constituted a reasonable excuse. After a second appeal, the convictions were upheld and it was found that the appellants did not have a reasonable excuse for trespass.  
Holland v Crisafulli   [1998] QSC 199   A dog, on two separate occasions, entered residential premises, turned over a cage and killed a guinea pig. The applicant claimed that this was insufficient evidence for the dog to be declared 'dangerous'. The judge found that a dog's propensity to pursue one animal should not be distinguished from a propensity to pursue all animals and that the finding of the dog as 'dangerous' should stand.  
Yanner v Eaton   (1999) 201 CLR 351   The appellant was a member of the Gunnamulla clan of Gangalidda tribe from Gulf of Carpentaria and killed estuarine crocodiles by harpooning. He was charged under the Fauna Conservation Act 1974 (Qld) with taking fauna without holding a licence. The Court ultimately found that the appellant's right to hunt crocodiles in accordance with the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) were not extinguished by the Fauna Conservation Act.  
Fleet v District Court of New South Wales   [1999] NSWCA 363   The appellant's dog was removed by police officers and later euthanised. The dog was emaciated and suffering from numerous ailments. The appellant was charged and convicted with an animal cruelty offence and failure to state his name and address when asked. On appeal, it was found that the court had failed to address the elements of the animal cruelty offence and that the charge of failing to state name and address could not stand.  
RSPCA v Harrison   (1999) 204 LSJS 345   The respondent was the owner of a dog which was found with skin ulcerations, larval infestations and saturated in urine. On appeal, it was found that the trial judge failed to give proper weight to cumulative circumstantial evidence as to the respondent's awareness of the dog's condition. It was also found that 'illness' was intended to cover a wide field of unhealthy conditions and included the larval infestation. The respondent was convicted and fined.  
Takhar v Animal Liberation SA Inc   [2000] SASC 400   An ex parte injunction was granted against the applicants preventing distribution or broadcasting of video footage obtained while on the respondent's property. The applicants claimed they were not on the land for an unlawful purpose and that they were there to obtain evidence of breaches of the Prevention of cruelty to Animals Act 1985 (SA). The injunction restraining distribution or broadcasting of the footage, which was applicable to the applicants only, was removed on the balance of convenience as the media outlets were at liberty to broadcast.  
Perpetual Trustees Tasmania Ltd v State of Tasmania   [2000] TASSC 68   A testatrix bequeathed a part of her estate to be used in support of 'animal welfare'. It was held that this constituted a charitable trust as the purpose was so predominantly charitable that the intention was to be assumed and that even if that portion of the estate could be used for non-charitable purposes, this was in a manner allowed under the Wills Act 1992 (Tas).  
Australian Broadcasting Corporation v Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd   (2001) 208 CLR 199   The respondent was successful in obtaining an injunction against the appellants from publishing a film displaying possums being stunned and killed at an abattoir. The film had been obtained from a third party while trespassing. The Court found that it was not unconscionable for the appellants to publish the film and a corporation did not have a right to privacy.  
Brayshaw v Liosatos   [2001] ACTSC 2   The appellant had informations laid against him alleging that he, as a person in charge of animals, neglected cattle 'without reasonable excuse' by failing to provide them with food. The appellant had been informed by a veterinarian that his treatment of the cattle was potentially a breach of the Animal Welfare Act 1992 (ACT) and that they were in poor condition. The evidence admitted did not rule out the possibility that the appellant's feeding of the cattle accorded with 'maintenance rations' and the convictions were overturned.  
Joyce v Visser   [2001] TASSC 116   The appellant was convicted of failing to provide food and water to dogs who were chained to a spot. Citing the extreme nature of the neglect and the need for general deterrence, the trial judge sentenced the appellant to three months' imprisonment. On appeal, the appellate judge found the sentence to be manifestly excessive and reduced the sentence.  
Veterinary Surgeons Investigating Committee v. Lloyd   2002 WL 31928523, 134 A Crim R 441   Appeal of agency determination of veterinarian malpractice for failure to detect ring worms in a cat. Long case with full discussion of process of administrative hearing and the standards by which to decide if an action is malpractice.  
Pearson v Janlin Circuses Pty Ltd   [2002] NSWSC 1118   The defendant deprived an elephant in a circus of contact with other elephants for years. On a particular day, the defendant authorised three other elephants to be kept in the proximity of the elephant for a number of hours. It was claimed that this act constituted an act of cruelty as it caused distress to the elephant. On appeal, it was determined that mens rea was not an element of a cruelty offence under the statute.  
RSPCA v. Stojcevski   2002 WL 228890, 134 A Crim R 441   Appeal against the order of the Magistrate dismissing a complaint - prevention of cruelty to animals - respondent charged with ill treating an animal in that failed to take reasonable steps to alleviate any pain suffered by the animal who had a fractured leg bone contrary to sec 13(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1985. Dismissal was upheld and court found that defendant did not understand dog was in pain and had and was going to take reasonable steps.  
Turner v Cole   [2005] TASSC 72   RSPCA officers found a horse belonging to the applicant on the applicant's property and, after preparing the horse for transport, had to euthanise the animal when it collapsed. The applicant was convicted of failing to feed a horse which led to its serious disablement and eventual euthanisation. The applicant was unsuccessful on all issues on appeal and was liable for a fine of $4000 and prevention from owning 20 or more horses for five years.  
Daniele v Weissenberger   2002 WL 31813949,136 A Crim R 390   Court uphold conviction for failure to provide food and water for horses. Even thought not the owner, he was the responsible party. Sentence of $3,000 fine and suspended 3 month was not excessive.  
Song v Coddington   (2003) 59 NSWLR 180   The appellant was charged and convicted of being a person in charge and authorising the carriage of a number of goats in cages which did not allow those goats to stand upright. The appellant was a veterinary doctor employed by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service and authorised under the Export Control (Animals) Orders 1987 to certify animals for export. On appeal, it was determined that for the purposes of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 1996, the appellant was not a person in charge of the goats.  
Animal Liberation Ltd v National Parks & Wildlife Service   [2003] NSWSC 457   The applicants sought an interlocutory injunction to restrain the respondent from conducting an aerial shooting of goats as part of a 'cull'. The applicants claimed that the aerial shooting constituted cruelty as the goats, once wounded, would die a slow death. An injunction was granted to the applicants pending final hearing of the substantive action against the aerial shooting.  
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Western Australia Inc v Hammarquist   (2003) 138 A Crim R 329   The respondents were charged with nine counts of inflicting unnecessary suffering on an animal, a cow, and one count of of subjecting 50 cows to unnecessary suffering. The trial judge found the respondents wrongly charged and dismissed the charges without the prosecution clearly articulating its case. The trial judge was incorrect to dismiss the charges for want of particulars. The trial magistrate was also incorrect to dismiss the tenth charge for duplicity. In some circumstances it is possible to include multiple offences in the same charge where the matters of complaint are substantially the same.  
Re Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc. and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts   [2004] AATA 1383   The Minister for the Environment approved plans for the 'harvesting' of Kangaroos in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. The Tribunal found that the killing of joeys, where the mother was also killed, was sanctioned by the Model Code relating to kangaroos and that any licences issued under the plans authorised those killings. The Tribunal found that the likelihood of compliance with the code, which stipulated the manner of killing of kangaroos, would be in the range of 95-99%. The Tribunal approved each of the plans but made a recommendation that future plans should involve a greater element of public consultation.  
Beaumont v Cahir   [2004] ACTSC 97   The appellant landed a hot air balloon in a paddock occupied by a dressage horse belonging to the respondent. The horse was spooked and impaled itself on fencing. The appellant was liable for the cost of reinstating the horse to health and was not permitted to euthanise the horse and find a replacement.  
Mansbridge v Nichols   [2004] VSC 530   The appellant was convicted of seven offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (Vic) related to the appellant's treatment of merino sheep in her care. The appellant was successful in overturning three of the charges on the basis that they were latently duplicitous or ambiguous. The appellant was unsuccessful in arguing that the trial judge failed to give adequate reasons.  
Anderson v Ah Kit   [2004] WASC 194   In proceedings for defamation, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant published information giving rise to the imputations that the plaintiff left animals to starve and that the Northern Territory government had to intervene to feed those animals. The defendant pleaded, inter alia, the defences of Polly Peck and fair comment. The Court ruled that the Polly Peck defense was sufficiently justified to survive the plaintiff's strike out application. It was held, however, that although animal welfare generally was a matter of public interest, the welfare of some animals held on private property was not, and could not be made by extensive media coverage, a matter of public interest.  
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Australia) Pty Ltd and Minister for Environment and Heritage   (2005) 93 ALD 594  

Zoos in New South Wales and Victoria sought to import asian elephants for conservation and exhibition. The Tribunal considered whether the elephants were being imported "for the purposes of conservation breeding or propagation", the zoos were "suitably equipped to manage, confine and care for the animals, including meeting the behavioural and biological needs of the animals", the importation of the elephants would "be detrimental to, or contribute to trade which is detrimental to ... the survival .... or ... recovery in nature of" Asian elephants and whether the elephants were "obtained in contravention of, [or] their importation would ... involve the contravention of, any law". The importation was allowed.

 
Australian Wool Innovation Ltd v Newkirk (No 2)   [2005] FCA 1307   The respondents, including PETA, engaged in a campaign to boycott the Australian wool industry on the bases of the cruelty incurred by the practice of mulesing and because of its link to the live export industry. The applicants, including Australian Wool Innovation who represented the Australian wool industry, sought to bring an action against the respondents for hindering trade under the Trade Practices Act (Cth) s 45DB and conspiring to injure the applicants by unlawful means. The respondents were successful in having these claims struck out.  
Re The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Australia) Pty Ltd and Ors and Minister for Environment and Heritage   (2006) 42 AAR 262   Zoos in New South Wales and Victoria sought to import five Asian elephants. After an initial hearing, further evidence was sought in relation to the condition and nature of the facilities at the zoos. The Tribunal decided that the importation of the elephants should be in accordance with a permit issued under s 303CG of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).  
Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc and Minister for Environment and Heritage and Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc and Animals Australia and Flinders Council   [2006] AATA 953   The respondent Minister made declarations under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) that particular plans relating to Bennett's wallabies and Tasmanian pademelons were approved wildlife trade management plans. The applicant questioned whether the plans permitted the inhumane hunting of wallabies and treatment of joeys as well as the basis upon which the quotas were derived. The tribunal found both matters satisfactorily addressed though further monitoring measures were deemed to be prudent.  
Crump v Equine Nutrition Systems Pty Ltd t/as Horsepower   [2006] NSWSC 512   The plaintiffs claimed that they purchased horse feed from the first respondent and that the feed was contaminated with monensin. The second respondent manufactured the feed. They claimed that as a result, one of their horses died and five others were permanently injured so that they could not be used for the desired purpose. After addressing several factual issues, the trial judge found for the plaintiffs in regards to the issue of negligence by the second respondent and proceeded to assess damages with regard to the economic value of the horses to the plaintiffs, the cost of replacement, loss of profits and maintenance.  
Re Nature Conservation Council of NSW Inc and Minister for Environment and Water Resources   (2007) 98 ALD 334   The Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Water Resources declared an Ocean Trap and Line Fishery to be an approved wildlife trade operation. This permitted the export of sea life from the fishery. The Nature Conservation Council claimed that the fishery was detrimental to the survival of east coast grey nurse sharks. The Tribunal found that the operation would not be detrimental to the survival of the east coast grey nurse population.  
Rural Export & Trading (WA) Pty Ltd v Hahnheuser   (2007) 243 ALR 356   The applicants held sheep in a pen pending live export. The respondent broke into that pen and put pork products in their feed rendering them unfit for export to countries whose markets had religious proscriptions against eating pork products. The court found that the respondent's conduct did not amount to 'hindering' as defined in the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and that his action was for the dominant purpose of environmental protection, which included protecting sheep from the conditions suffered during the live export trade.  
Adams v Reahy   [2007] NSWSC 1276   The first respondent claimed that despite their best efforts their dog was unable to gain weight and appeared emaciated. When proceedings were instituted, the first respondent was successful in being granted a permanent stay as the appellant, the RSPCA, failed to grant the first respondent access to the dog to determine its current state of health. On appeal, it was determined that a permanent stay was an inappropriate remedy and that the first respondent should be granted a temporary stay only until the dog could be examined.  
Animal Liberation Ltd v Department of Environment & Conservation   [2007] NSWSC 221   The applicants sought to restrain a proposed aerial shooting of pigs and goats on interlocutory basis pending the outcome of a suit claiming the aerial shooting would constitute cruelty. It was found that the applicants did not have a 'special interest' and as such did not have standing to bring the injunction. The application was dismissed.  
Towers-Hammon v Burnett   [2007] QDC 282   The respondent pleaded guilty to bashing several cats with an iron bar causing four deaths. The dead cats, along with one severely beaten but still alive kitten, were placed in a bag and disposed of in a charity clothing bin. On appeal, it was held that the trial judge failed to have sufficient regard to the callous nature of the respondent's actions and the respondent was sentenced to three months' imprisonment.  
RSPCA v O'Loughlan   [2007] SASC 113   The appellant, the RSPCA, relied on the fact that a horse, once in RSPCA care, had a significantly improved condition in comparison to that described as 'emaciated' while in the respondent's care. The respondent claimed that the horse's condition fluctuated depending on the presence of mares in heat during summer and that she had tried several changes to the feed to counter a loss in weight. On appeal, the appellate judge did not disturb the trial judge's finding and confirmed that the respondent's conduct was reasonable in the circumstances.  
Anderson v Moore   [2007] WASC 135   The appellant ignored advice to make available reasonable amounts of food to feed sheep. The appellant claimed to be acting under veterinary advice and further that the trial judge erred in taking into account the subjectivity of the appellant's actions. All claims were dismissed.  
Humane Society International Inc v Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd   (2008) 244 ALR 161  

The applicant, an incorporated public interest organisation, sought an injunction to restrain the respondent Japanese company which owned several ocean vessels engaged in, and likely to further engage in, whaling activities in waters claimed by Australia. It was found that the applicant had standing to bring the injunction and the respondent engaged in activities prohibited by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). Orders were entered against against the respondent even though it had no assets in Australia and the likelihood of being able to enforce judgment was very low.

 
Re Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc. and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts   (2008) 106 ALD 123   The Minister for the Environment declared the New South Wales Commercial Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan 2007-2011 to be an approved wildlife trade management plan within the meaning of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (Cth). The Tribunal considered aspects of the plan including: ecological sustainability; conservation of biodiversity; humane treatment; response to environmental impact; precautionary principles; ethical research; and state legislation. The plan was ultimately approved by the Tribunal with a caveat that it include a trigger to suspend the 'harvest' if population levels dropped by 30% or over.  
Rural Export & Trading (WA) Pty Ltd v Hahnheuser   (2008) 249 ALR 445   The trial judge held that the respondent's placing of a ham mixture in the feed of sheep prior to live export was covered by the defence of dominant purpose for environmental protection under the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth). On appeal, the court held that the respondent's actions were not an attempt at environmental protection but rather sought to prevent what he believed would be cruelty to those animals on board the ship during live export and upon arrival. The case was referred back to the Federal Court for assessment of damages.  
Rural Export & Trading (WA) Pty Ltd v Hahnheuser   (2009) 177 FCR 398   The respondent placed ham in food to be fed to sheep prior to live export. This action resulted in delay of live export and constituted a breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) without falling under the defence of 'environmental protection'. The second applicant was entitled to damages from the respondent falling under the following heads: purchasing sheep; transport; killing fees; processing fees; freezer storage fees; cost of resale; and travel expenses. The total loss was calculated at $72,873.73.  
Larobina v R   [2009] NSWDC 79  

The appellant appeal against a conviction for animal cruelty sustained in a lower court. After an examination of the elements of the statutory offense, it was found that the charge upon which the conviction was sustained was unknown to law.

 
City of Armidale v Kiraly   [2009] WASC 199   The respondent, an owner of a brindle boxer dog, was charged with the dog attacking a person and for having the dog in a public place without a leash. The dog had escaped from the respondent's house and allegedly ran to and lunged at a lady delivering pamphlets. On appeal, the question of whether the dog's behaviour constituted an 'attack' for the purposes of the Dog Act 1976 (WA) s 33D(1) was a question of fact to be determined by the trial judge and, accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.  
Windridge Farm Pty Ltd v Grassi   [2010] NSWSC 335   The defendants entered the plaintiff's land, containing a piggery, with the intention of taking photographs and film footage to establish that the plaintiff failed to meet certain standards. The defendants' argument that the plaintiff was not entitled to injunctive relief because of 'unclean hands' was dismissed by the court. The court also found that the defensive argument based on 'implied freedom of political communication' did not have application in the circumstances.  
Robertson v Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries   [2010] QCA 147   An Inspector of the RSPCA entered premises occupied by the respondent and seized 104 dogs under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 which were then forfeited to the state. These actions were confirmed when the respondent sought an administrative review of the decisions and leave to appeal was refused. The respondent sought to raise numerous grounds of appeal against the prior refusal of leave to appeal, however, the appeal was struck out.  
Dart v Singer   [2010] QCA 75   The applicants pleaded guilty to a number of charges under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) following the seizure of 113 live dogs, one cat, 488 rats, 73 mice, 12 guinea pigs and 11 birds from their premises due to unsanitary and inappropriate living conditions. The applicants claimed that RSPCA officers were acting ultra vires and that a stay preventing the RSCPA from parting with the animals should be effected. The applicants' argument failed.  
Suica - Habeas Corpus    

First case to consider that a chimpanzee might be a legal person to come before the court under a petition for Habeas Corpus.

 
SuiÁa     impetraram este HABEAS CORPUS REPRESSIVO, em favor da chimpanzÈ "SuiÁa" (nome cientifico anthropopithecus troglodytes), macaca que se encontra enjaulada no Parque Zoobot‚nico Get˙lio Vargas (Jardim ZoolÛgico de Salvador), situado na Av. Ademar de Barros  
Richard v. Hoban   1970CarswellNB126  

The child plaintiff was attacked and bitten by a chained German Shepherd after she put her arm around the dog's neck to hug or play with it; she sustained scarring lacerations of her head, cheek and eyelid that required 5 days' hospitalization after plastic surgery. The trial judge earlier held that because the dog, had two months previously, bitten a young boy on the face and ear in an unprovoked attack, the owner had prior knowledge of the dog's propensity to bite children, yet he kept the dog regardless. The owner was thus strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter. The Court of Appeal reversed this holding, with two judges finding that the boy in the earlier attack had been injured accidentally by the dog's dew-claw, rather than being bitten, so that there was insufficient notice to the dog's owner of any vicious propensity; thus he was not strictly liable in scienter.

 
Whelen v. Barlow   1975 CarswellAlta 242   Plaintiff Whelen was drunken, threatening and disorderly in defendant Barlow's hotel bar, where he kept guard dogs for the purpose of preventing break-ins and keeping the peace. After the plaintiff and friends were asked to leave the premises and not return, he later returned, making threatening gestures and was bitten on the face and arm by one of the guard-dogs. The court held that the plaintiff was 2/3 contributorily liable for his injuries, since when he returned he was trespassing; the defendant was 1/3 contributorily liable since the court held that keeping volatile guard-dogs as bouncers was not reasonable.  
Morsillo v. Migliano   1985 CarswellOnt 786   The child plaintiff Morsillo was attacked and bitten by a neighbour's pet German Shepherd, which tended to 'bark savagely' at local children, had bitten once before, and was kept in a secure fenced yard and only taken out on a leash and choke-chain. The boy was playing cops and robbers with the owner's son on the owner's front lawn, while the owner's teenaged daughter was taking the leashed dog to the garage, when it escaped and attacked. No provocation of the dog was proven so the owners were found strictly liable under the Dog Owner's Liability Act (which abrogates scienter in that province) and also liable in negligence, with no contributory negligence by the plaintiff; the provincial Ontario Health Insurance Plan was entitled to recover the costs of the plaintiff's care from the defendants.  
Bates (Guardian of) v. Horkoff   1991 CarswellAlta 229   The child plaintiff was at her daycare under appropriate supervision while in the playground when she was bitten on the hand by a neighbouring German Shepherd. The dog squeezed through an unmended gap in the fence and bit the child while she was on the swings; daycare staff were not negligent in supervising the children. While the dog had no history of biting, it was excitable and barked aggressively towards strangers outside the yard; the fence was in poor repair, but the owner had not thought it necessary to use the secure dog run that existed on his property. he was found negligent for not better securing and supervising the dog.  
R. v. Baird   1994 CarswellNWT 58  

The defendant, George Baird, was charged on indictment that he caused bodily harm to Amelia Debogorski by criminal negligence stemming from his keeping of dangerous dogs. While the dogs self-evidently proved to be highly dangerous to the victim, there was little evidence of their prior dangerous intent simply because they ran at large. As a result, the court then found that there was reasonable doubt whether the danger was known and recognized by Mr. Baird prior to the attack. The court found that there insufficient proof to find that Baird acted with "wanton and reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.” The court also observed that while there may or may not have been civil negligence, this was not enough to sustain a conviction for criminal negligence.

 
Bacon (Litigation Guardian of) v. Ryan   1995 CarswellSask 540   The child plaintiff was bitten on the face by a pitbull owned by the defendants, requiring reconstructive surgery and two days hospitalization and causing permanent scarring. The dog had bitten the owner's young son two weeks earlier while he played near the dog's food dish'; they contemplated having the dog euthanized but decided against it. The plaintiff's mother had heard about the bite incident but brought her daughter of the same age as the owner's son to visit, placing her on the floor where the dog bit her shortly after. The judge held that the defendants knew of the dog's propensity to bite young children but kept it ''at their peril" (suggesting strict liability or scienter, which was not however mentioned); such fault was sufficient to make the owners 2/3 liable for the child's $12,000 plastic surgery costs, pain and mental anguish. The plaintiff's mother was held 1/ contributorily liable for letting her child visit and play on the floor near the dog, knowing of its propensity.  
Fisher v. Liptak   1996CarswellAlta33   Two pet llamas owned by the plaintiff Fisher were attacked on two separate occasions by dogs, including by a dog owned by the defendant Liptak, causing the death of one llama and, two weeks later, injury to the second llama. After the first attack, Liptak's dog returned covered with saliva and blood, although it had no bleeding wounds; he suspected the dog had been in a fight or attack but did not investigate. His dog was later discovered injuring the second llama. The court ruled that Liptak's finding indications of  the first attack put him on notice that the dog had a 'vicious or mischievous propensity to attack other animals,' sufficient to make him strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter, for the second llama's injuries, but not for the first, for which Liptak lacked the requisite knowledge. Similarly, Liptak was not liable in negligence in the first attack, since in that rural area all the local owners let their dogs run at large and Liptak had no prior reason to suspect his dog would attack; the judge did not discuss whether Liptak was liable in negligence for the second attack.  
Shelvey v. Bicknell   1996CarswellBC1131  

Both plaintiff (appellant) Shelvey and the defendant (respondent) dog owners were guests of an unnamed third party at that party's beach cabin, where the defendants left their Rottweiler unrestrained on the cabin's deck overnight. The friendly dog jumped over the deck railing to follow the plaintiff to the beach where she was walking; the large, energetic dog bumped her legs while playfully chasing a seagull, knocking her down and leaving her unconscious. The dog had previously knocked its owner and a child down at one time due to its large size and weight. A trial judge earlier found that the defendant owners were not liable to the plaintiff in negligence as the freak accident was not reasonably foreseeable; the Court of Appeal concurred, finding no negligence. Scienter was not argued or discussed at either level.

 
Janota-Bzowska v. Lewis   1997CarswellBC1957   The respondent Janota-Bzowska was an invited guest at the home of the appellant Lewises, where another guest (appellant Holtzman) had tied his Labrador dog outside; the dog lunged at the respondent, causing her to fall and break her finger. A trial court earlier found both dog-owner and home-owners liable to Janota-Bzowska under the doctrines of scienter (strict liabilty) and negligence. On appeal, the court held that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the dog had a propensity to lunge at people, or that the owner knew of such propensity, although the dog was known to chase deer. However, this was not sufficient to allow recovery under scienter. On the issue of negligence, the court also held that the dog's behaviour being 'unexpected and out of character' showed no suggestion of a risk for which the owner had failed to take reasonable precautions, so there was no negligence shown.  
Tulloch v. Melnychuk   1998 CarswellAlta 573  

In this case, the Plaintiff seeks damages from the Defendants for trespass to chattels. She alleged that the Defendants shot her valuable dog. The Defendants countered that they were justified in shooting the dog since it was on their land chasing and worrying their cattle contrary to the Stray Animals Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. S-23, Part 3. Here, the court found credible the testimony from the defendant cow-operator that the dog was chasing a lame cow to the point where the cow was exhausted. The action by plaintiff was dismissed.

 
Montier v. Hall   2002 CarswellAlta 156  

This is a Provincial Court Civil Claims appeal from an award to plaintiffs/respondents for $865.00 in veterinary expenses as against defendant/appellant. This matter arose out of the sale of a black female Belgian Sheepdog that was eventually euthanized by the respondents at four months of age, two months after it was purchased due to serious hereditary defects. The purchase agreement signed by respondents warranted the puppy against serious hereditary defects or illness until 25 months of age, but limited the damages to replacement of the puppy with another puppy. In affirming the award of damages, this court found that the contract does not specifically exclude compensation for veterinary expenses or for consequential damages; hence, it does not exclude liability by the supplier for the purchaser's veterinary expenses incurred as a result the defective dog.

 
Harvard College v. Canada (Commissioner of Patents)   2002 SCC 76  

The respondent applied for a patent on an invention entitled “transgenic animals”.  In its patent application, the respondent seeks to protect both the process by which the "oncomice" are produced and the end product of the process, i.e. the founder mice and the offspring whose cells contain the oncogene.  The process and product claims extend to all non‑human mammals.  The process claims were allowed by the Patent Examiner, while the product claims were rejected.  The appellant Commissioner confirmed the refusal of the product claims.  The Federal Court, Trial Division, dismissed the respondent’s appeal from the appellant’s decision.  At the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court held the appeal should be allowed. A higher life form is not patentable because it is not a “manufacture” or “composition of matter” within the meaning of “invention” in s. 2 of the Patent Act.

 
Prasad v. Wepruk   2004CarswellBC946  

Plaintiff Prasad, an elderly newpaper-deliverer, was attacked in the street by defendant owner Wepruk's usually chained guard-dog, which escaped due to a rusted chain. The court found the defendant strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter's subjective test: he knew the dog was aggressive, but kept it anyway and it harmed Prasad. He was also liable under the objective test for negligence, for not taking reasonable precautions to ensure the dog's chain was in good repair, in order to prevent foreseeable harm to others.  damages of $35,000 were awarded for Prasad's injuries and lost future earnings.

 
Ferguson v. Birchmount Boarding Kennels Ltd.   2006 CarswellOnt 399  

In August 2002, plaintiffs’ dog escaped while being exercised at defendant-kennel’s boarding facility. Birchmount appeals from the judgment claiming the court applied the wrong standard of care, and that the court erred in law in awarding the plaintiffs damages for pain and suffering. The reviewing court found that the evidence would likely have led to the same conclusion regardless of whether a “bailment” standard was used. Further, this court was satisfied that the trial judge did not err in law or in fact in making findings and in awarding general damages where there was evidence that the plaintiffs experienced pain and suffering upon learning of the dog’s escape.

 
R. v. McConkey   2008 CarswellAlta 156  

In this case, the defendants pleaded guilty to violations of the Animal Protection Act after a peace officer for the humane society found four dogs in distress due mainly to a lack of grooming. On appeal, the defendants did not contest the amount of the fines, but suggested that the court should consider the economic status of the defendants (both were on government assistance). The court found that the conduct of the defendant and the level of the distress experienced by the dogs over a long period of time was an aggravating factor in determining the fine. With regard to a Section 12(2) prohibition to restrain future animal ownership, the court was reluctant to inflict stress on the animals still residing at the home by removing them from their long-time home.

 
Xu v. Chen   2008 CarswellBC 1693  

The Claimant's six-month old sheltie puppy, "Diamond,” suffered a serious limb injury outside the front yard of the family home. Claimant seeks to recover the veterinarian costs she incurred to treat the dog's injury against Defendants, the owners of the other dog that allegedly attacked claimant’s dog. The court found that there was evidence that Defendant was previously contacted by Animal Control as well as a neighbor about an incident where Angus lunged at another dog. The Claimant has established, on a balance of probabilities, that Angus had manifested a propensity to cause the type of harm occasioned that night. Claimant was 25% liable for the incident where she left Diamond in an unfenced yard that gave other dogs access. The court denied Xu’s claim of $5500 for future medical costs for the care of Diamond because there was no evidence what these would be and the dog was currently living with another family.

 
Friesen v. Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals   2008 CarswellSask 438  

An animal protection officer received a complaint that two dogs were not receiving proper care. Officer Barry Thiessen, an animal protection officer employed by the S.S.P.C.A., observed that dogs appeared malnourished and in distress from lack of food and water. Upon returning the next day, Thiessen determined that the conditions were unchanged and the dogs were then seized pursuant to the warrant. The appellant dog owner brought an application for declaration that the officer seized dogs in contravention of an owner's rights under s. 8 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and in excess of officer's authority. In dismissing his application, the court found that the warrant was lawfully obtained pursuant to provisions of the Animal Protection Act, 1999. The officer had a legitimate reason to come to property of the dog owner to investigate after he received a complaint, and it was there that he saw the dogs’ condition in "plain view" according to the court.

 
McAllister v. Wiegand   2009CarswellOnt189   The plaintiff, a 55-year old woman and recent acquaintance of the defendants, was bitten on the cheek by the defendant's bull mastiff dog, resulting in a spreading infection and loss of all her teeth. The plaintiff was an invited guest in the defendant's home where she had been on 3-4 prior occasions. There was a question over whether the incident arose when the plaintiff startled the dog from sleep by petting it while bending over it, or whether the dog had just awakened when it was petted and bit her. The court found that dog and plaintiff were familiar with each other and there was nothing provocative that should have caused the dog to retaliate. Thus according to Ontario's Dog Owner Liability Act, where owners are strictly or absolutely liable for their dogs' injuries to others, the defendants were strictly liable to the plaintiff for her injuries.  
Jippes v. van Landbouw   Case C-189/01(ECJ)   Jippes, an ECJ case from 2001, involved a legal dispute over the hoof and mouth pandemic ravaging Europe at the time.  To stem spread of the disease, the EU passed a community directive banning the use of preventative vaccinations and mandating compulsory slaughter. The plaintiff—or “applicant,” as plaintiffs are referred to in Europe—owned a variety of farm animals, and, loathe to kill them,  argued that European law embraced a general principle that animals were shielded from physical pain and suffering. Such a principle, the applicant argued, could only be overridden when absolutely necessary; and the compulsory slaughter directive was in direct conflict with this principle. The ECJ, however, rejected the applicant’s argument, holding that the Animal Welfare Protocol of 1997 did not delineate any new important animal-friendly principles in European law, but merely codified old ones.   
Noah v. Attorney General   appeal 9232/01   Court held that the forsed feeding of geese for making foie Gras was a violation of the laws of Israel.(In Hebrew)(English language .pdf- translated by CHAI)  
Let the Animals Live v. Hamat Gader Recreation Enterprises   LCa 1684?96   Court held that holding a fighting match between a human and an alligator was a violation of the Israel Anti-Cruelty laws.  
Ward v RSPCA   [2010] EWHC 347 (Admin)   This appeal concerns the conviction of Anthony Ward for two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to two ponies contrary to Section 4(1)(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Under Section 34 of the Act, Ward was disqualified from owning and keeping, or participating in keeping, or being a party to an arrangement under which animals are kept for a period of 10 years. This appeal concerns the disqualification. In upholding the disqualification, the court felt that it was justified where defendant had two previous convictions and the last disqualification expired only three years before this offence.  
R. (on the application of Petsafe Ltd) v Welsh Ministers   2010 WL 4503327   Pet product manufacturer challenged a Welsh ban on the use of electric collars on cats and dogs  under the Animal Welfare Regulations 2010. The High Court held that the Regulations were not beyond the powers of the Welsh Ministers, and that the ban was not irrational, unreasonable or perverse. The High Court also held that any restriction on the free movement of goods under Article 34 of the EU Treaty was proportional and necessary, due to the fact that it was not targeted at trade, but rather meant to further social policy promoting animal welfare. Similarly, any interference with Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was also justifiable.  
R. v. Senior   [1899] 1 QB 283  

Held: The word "wilfully", when used in the context of an offence prohibiting cruelty to children, "means that the act is done deliberately and intentionally, not by accident or inadvertence, but so that the mind of the person who does the act goes with it" (per Lord Russell of Killowen C.J.). Note: the word "wilfully" is occasionally an element of animal welfare offences, such as that of wilfully, without any reasonable cause or excuse, administering a poisonous drug or substance to an animal (Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(d)).

 
Johnson v. Needham   [1909] 1 KB 626  

The Court upheld a decision of local justices to dismiss an information that the defendant "did cruelly ill-treat, abuse, and torture a certain animal" contrary to the Cruelty to Animals Act 1849, s. 2 (1). The Act made it an offence to ill-treat, abuse, or torture an animal, and thereby established three separate offences from which the prosecutor should have elected. Note: Although the 1949 Act has been repealed, similar language appears in the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(a), and presumably the same reasoning applies to that statutory provision.

 
Waters v. Meakin   [1916] 2 KB 111   The respondent had been acquitted of causing unnecessary suffering to rabbits (contrary to the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s. 1(1)) by releasing them into a fenced enclosure from which they had no reasonable chance of escape, before setting dogs after them. Dismissing the prosecutor's appeal, the Divisional Court held that the respondent's conduct fell within the exception provided for "hunting or coursing" by sub-s. (3) (b) of s. 1of the 1911 Act. From the moment that the captive animal is liberated to be hunted or coursed, it falls outwith the protection of the 1911 Act, irrespective of whether the hunting or coursing is humane or sportsmanlike.  
Nye v. Niblett   [1918] 1 KB 23   Three boys who had killed two farm cats were charged with an offence which could only have been committed if the cats were kept for a "domestic purpose". Local justices had acquitted the boys, in part because there no evidence was before them that the cats that were killed had been kept for a domestic purpose. Allowing the prosecutor's appeal, the Divisional Court held that there was no need to prove that a particular animal was in fact kept for a domestic purpose if it belonged to a class of animals which were ordinarily so kept.  
McQuaker v. Goddard   [1940] 1 KB 687   A camel is not to be regarded as a wild animal by the common law as a camel 'is, in all countries, a domestic animal, an animal that has become trained to the uses of man, and a fortiori accustomed to association with man.' Whether an animal is to be regarded as wild or domestic is a question of law, and is to be judged according to the genus or class of which it belongs, not the characteristics of the individual animal.  
Rowley v. Murphy   [1964] 2 QB 43   A deer being hunted with a pack of hounds jumped onto a road and fell under a stationery vehicle. Members of the hunt dragged the deer from under the vehicle to a nearby enclosure, where the Master of the hunt slit the deer's throat and killed it. The Divisional Court held that the Master could not be convicted of an offence of cruelty under the 1911 Act because, for the purposes of that Act, which protects only captive and domestic animals, a mere temporary inability to escape did not amount to a state of captivity.  
Hopson v. DPP   [1997] C.O.D. 229   The owner of a bird of prey had kept it in a wire aviary for at least six weeks, during which it had injured itself by repeatedly flying into the wire mesh. Having been convicted on these facts of an offence of cruelly ill-treating the bird contrary to the first limb of s 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911, he appealed, contending that under that limb, unlike the second limb, he should only have been convicted if he was guilty of a positive act of deliberate cruelty. Dismissing the appeal, the Divisional Court held that a person could be guilty of cruel ill-treatment of an animal he was responsible for by allowing it to remain in a situation where it was continuing to injure itself, even if he did not desire to bring about the harm.  
Isted v. CPS   (1998) 162 J.P. 513   The appellant was a keeper of livestock who had shot and injured a neighbor's dog that had strayed into the appellant's pig pen. He had been convicted of doing an act causing unnecessary suffering to the dog contrary to the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(a) (second limb). Dismissing the appeal, the Divisional Court held that the local justices were entitled to find as a matter of fact that it had not been reasonably necessary to shoot the dog.  
Taylor v. RSPCA   [2001] EWHC Admin 103   Two women, who had been disqualified from keeping horses by a court, transferred ownership of the horses to their niece, but had continued to make arrangements for the accommodation of the horses and to provide food and water for them. The women were convicted in the Magistrates' Court of the offence of "having custody" of the horses in breach of the disqualification order, and appealed. Dismissing the appeal, the Divisional Court held that, what amounted to "custody" was primarily a matter of fact for the lower court to decide, and that the local justices had been entitled to conclude that, notwithstanding the transfer of ownership, the two women had continued to be in control, or have the power to control, the horses.  
Ford v. Wiley   23 QBD 203   A farmer who had caused the horns of his cattle to be sawn off, a procedure which had caused great pain, was liable to conviction for cruelty. For an operation causing pain to be justifiable, it had to be carried out in pursuit of a legitimate aim that could not reasonably be attained through less painful means, and the pain inflicted had to be proportionate to the objective sought. The mere fact that the defendant believed that the procedure was necessary did not remove him from liability to conviction if, judged according to the circumstances that he believed to exist, his actions were not objectively justifiable.  
Barnard v. Evans   [1925] 2 KB 794   The expression "cruelly ill-treat"" in s 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 means to "cause unnecessary suffering" and "applies to a case where a person wilfully causes pain to an animal without justification for so doing". It is sufficient for the prosecution to prove that the animal was caused to suffer unnecessarily, and the prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant knew that his actions were unnecessary.  
Bandeira and Brannigan v. RSPCA   CO 2066/99   Where a person has sent a dog into the earth of a fox or sett of a badger with the result that a confrontation took place between the dog and a wild animal, and the dog experienced suffering, it will be open to the tribunal of fact to find that the dog has been caused unnecessary suffering and that an offence has been committed under section 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911.  
Barrington v. Colbert   CO/1273/97   A net was placed over one opening of a land drain and a terrier dog sent into the other entrance with the objective of prompting a fox to run into the net. Magistrates acquitted the defendants of doing an act causing unnecessary suffering to the fox contrary to the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(a). The Divisional Court dismissed the prosecutor's appeal, holding that, applying Rowley v Murphy [1964] 2 QB 43, the fox was not a "captive animal" within the meaning of s 15(c) of the 1911 Act, mere confinement not being sufficient, and was therefore outside the protection of that Act.  
Rapa Ltd. v. Trafford Borough Council     Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act 1951 states that a person shall be guilty of an offence if he "carries on a business of selling animals as pets in any part of a street or public place, [or] at a stall or barrow in a market". Small transparent cubes containing water and live fish were sold as novelty items, known as 'aquababies', from a barrow in a thoroughfare of a large indoor shopping mall. The Court found that this activity involved the carrying on of a business of selling pets in a "public place" and was therefore prohibited by section 2.  
Rogers v. Teignbridge District Council     A planned event called "The Creepy Crawly Show" was to have been held at a racecourse and to have involved the display and sale of small exotic animals by a number of different breeders, dealers and enthusiasts. The event's organizer applied to the local council for a pet shop licence under the Pet Animals Act 1951. The application was refused on the ground that the event was prohibited by section 2 of the Act which states that a person is guilty of an offence if he "carries on a business of selling animals as pets in any part of a street or public place, [or] at a stall or barrow in a market". The organizer's appeal to the local magistrates court was dismissed. Held: the holding of the event would have involved the carrying on a business of selling pets in a "public place". It would also have involved the selling of animals in a market. The event was therefore prohibited by section 2 and that it would have been unlawful for the local authority to have licensed it.  
R. v. Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council, ex parte Tesco Stores Ltd.   CO/467/93  

Although a local authority may not adopt a policy of not enforcing certain laws or not enforcing them against certain types of parties, it may nevertheless make rational choices with respect to the use of its enforcement powers in order to deploy its limited resources in the most efficient and effective manner.

 
Chalmers v. Diwell   74 LGR 173   Defendant was an exporter of pet birds. He kept birds at a premises in the course of his business. Usually the birds remained on the premises for less than 48 hours before continuing their journey to their purchasers but on occasion birds had remained on the premises for up to 12 days. A magistrates' court acquitted him of keeping a pet shop without a licence (contrary to Pet Animals Act 1951, s.1). Prosecutor appealed. Result: appeal allowed. Held: even though the premises was being used as no more than a holding center, the defendant was carrying on from that premises a business of selling pets and the premises therefore required a pet shop license.  

Back to top