Cases

  • In this Utah case, the State sought review of the court of appeals' decision vacating the convictions of defendants. Reber was convicted of aiding or assisting in the wanton destruction of protected wildlife in violation of state law for killing a mule deer without a license or permit. On appeal, defendant contended that the state had no jurisdiction because he was an Indian hunting in Indian country. However, the court held that the State has jurisdiction over these defendants because the State has jurisdiction over crimes committed in Indian country when a non-Indian commits a victimless crime. Defendants are not Indians, as that term has been defined by federal law, and the crimes in these cases were victimless.

  • Defendant, Jose Reyes, was convicted of one count of rape of a child and sentenced to thirty-two years at 100%. On appeal, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the verdict and that the trial court erred in denying his motion in limine to prevent the Child Advocacy Center facility dog from being present with the victim as he was testifying. The appellate court reviewed prior relevant cases including Dye, Chenault, and Tohom, and stated that “we cannot conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in permitting the use of the facility dog, Murch, during the trial.” The attempt to assign error to the procedure was determined to be “without merit.” Other defense arguments on appeal having been similarly rejected, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
  • The defendants were convicted and sentenced upon an information under section 1609, Revised Statutes of 1879, charging them with unlawfully, wilfully and cruelly overdriving a horse, and thereupon prosecute this appeal. The court held that the evidence that a horse was overdriven does not warrant a conviction under Revised Statutes, 1879, section 1609, in the absence of proof, that the overdriving was wilful and not accidental. Thus, the court reversed the lower court.

  • The court reaffirmed the tenet that it is a proper exercise of state police power to adopt measures to protect wild animals as a resource for all citizens.  In doing so, the court held that it was a proper exercise of police power for the legislature of Ohio to enact a wild animal "shining" prohibition.  Appellants challenged the law as unconstitutional because it ostensibly outlawed otherwise innocent conduct, as an individual can shine for wild animals without the purpose of hunting those animals.  The court disagreed, finding that the statute's purpose was to counteract the problems related to enforcement, since it was difficult to ascertain which individuals shining from vehicles also carried hunting implements. 

  • This Minnesota lawsuit arose from the enforcement of a Little Canada ordinance prohibiting the keeping of more than three adult dogs in any residential dwelling within the city's residentially zoned districts.  In reviewing a challenge to the law, the court first noted that a city's police power allows it both to regulate the keeping of animals, and to define nuisances and provide for their abatement.  Further, municipal ordinances are presumptively constitutional and the burden rests on the party challenging it.  Here, Schuler failed to offer evidence that regulating the number of dogs per household was unrelated to controlling the problems of dog noise and odor as they affect the health and general welfare of the community.

  • The appellant pled guilty to one count of animal fighting, one count of cruelty to animals, and one count of keeping unvaccinated dogs, and asked for probation. The trial court denied the appellants request for probation and sentenced him to incarceration. The appellant challenged the trial court's ruling, and the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision to deny probation, stating that the heinous nature of the crimes warranted incarceration.
  • Fifteen horses were seized by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) because the animals were in poor condition. The SPCA sent bills to the owners for feeding, upkeep, and veterinary care, but the owners did not pay the bills. After 30 days of nonpayment, the SPCA became the owners of the horses, and the prior owners were not entitled to get the horses back.

  • This is the Montana Supreme Court's denial of appellant Shook's petition for rehearing in State v. Shook, 313 Mont. 347 (2002).

  • Defendant Shook (a non-tribal member) shot and killed a whitetail buck on private property within the exterior boundaries of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Under Wildlife and Parks Commission hunting regulations, big game hunting privileges on Indian Reservations are limited to tribal members only, thereby closing the hunting season to non-tribal members.  On appeal, Shook contended that the regulation was a violation of equal protection because it discriminated based on race.  The court disagreed, finding the classification was political rather than racial because it was established through treaty with the federal government and recognized the unique federal obligation toward Indians.  Thus, the court found the regulation was an "entirely rational" means to preserve wildlife populations for hunting by Indians. 

  • In this Tennessee case, the defendant, Jennifer Siliski, was convicted of nine counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Williamson County Animal Control took custody of over two hundred animals forfeited by the defendant as a result of her criminal charges and convictions. Third parties claiming ownership of some of the animals appeared before the trial court and asked for the return of their animals. This appeal arises from third parties claiming that they were denied due process by the manner in which the trial court conducted the hearing regarding ownership of the animals and that the trial court erred in denying their property claims. The appellate court concluded that the trial court did not have jurisdiction in the criminal case to dispose of the claims, and reversed the judgment.

  • The defendant operated a dog breeding business, “Hollybelle's Maltese,” in which she bred purebred Maltese dogs in her Franklin home, advertised the resulting puppies on an Internet website, and shipped the puppies to buyers located around the country. She was convicted by a Williamson County Circuit Court jury of eleven counts of animal cruelty. The main issue on appeal concerned the imposition of sentence, which included both consecutive terms of probation and a permanently prohibition from engaging in any commercial activity involving animals. The appellate court affirmed the defendant's convictions but concluded that the trial court erred by ordering consecutive periods of probation in conjunction with concurrent sentences. However, the court found that  the trial court's permanent prohibition against her buying, selling, breeding, or engaging in any commercial activity involving animals  was authorized by the animal cruelty statute. As the court stated, "Given this proof and the court's findings, we cannot conclude that the trial court erred in ordering that the defendant be permanently barred from engaging in commercial activity with respect to dogs."

  • In this case, the defendant was found guilty on multiple counts of animal abuse after failing to provide minimally adequate care for his herd of alpacas. The defendant was charged with a felony count (Count 1) and a misdemeanor count (Count 6) of first-degree animal abuse. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court erred by not merging the multiple guilty verdicts into a single conviction. The state agreed that the trial court did err in its decision not to merge the verdicts; however, the state argued that the mistake should not require resentencing. The defendant argued that the court should follow its previous decisions and order a remand for resentencing. Ultimately, the court remanded the case for resentencing under ORS 138.222(5)(b). The state argued that language of ORS 138.222(5)(b) should be interpreted not to include merger errors. The court disagreed with this argument and relied on its decision in previous cases that interpreted the language of the statute more broadly. Additionally, the court held that if the state’s disapproval of the ORS 138.222(5)(b) is something that should be dealt with by the legislature and not the court. 

  • This case involves the construction of a Hoboken, New Jersey dangerous dog ordinance in light of the state Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Act.  The owner's dog that was the subject of this case was ordered by the municipal court to be destroyed after it bit a person on the hand.  In applying the relevant preemption test, the court found that the Act preempted any city ordinance purporting to cover same subject.  As noted by the court, it was the procedural conflict that caused the most concern.  Thus, because the procedural/jurisdictional defect in the ordinance was not cured, the municipal court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.

  • In this Washington case, defendant Smith appealed his conviction for first degree animal cruelty following the death of his llama. Smith claims he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to (1) discover information before trial that may have explained the llama's death and (2) seek a lesser included instruction on second degree animal cruelty. This court agreed. It found that defense counsel's "all or nothing strategy" was not a legitimate trial tactic and constituted deficient performance where counsel presented evidence to call into question the State's theory on starvation, but not evidence related to the entire crime. The court found that the jury was "left in an arduous position: to either convict Smith of first degree animal cruelty or to let him go free despite evidence of some culpable behavior." The case was reversed and remanded.

  • A defendant was charged and convicted of one count of permitting a dog to roam at large. Upon appeal, the defendant argued the statute he was convicted under was unconstitutionally vague and that he was convicted under insufficient evidence. Defendant contended that simply having his dog off-leash did not mean that it was roaming at large and not under his control where the dog responded to verbal commands. The court rejected both of defendant's arguments, finding that the plain language of the statute clearly prohibits an owner allowing a dog to move freely on another's property unrestrained and not under the owner's direct influence.

  • In 2006, appellant was charged with one count of animal cruelty after 149 dogs were seized from her rescue shelter. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that, since the appellant (1) entered into a valid plea agreement which "specifically and unequivocally reserved a restitution hearing" and (2) "attempted on numerous occasions to challenge the amounts she was required by the magistrate court to post in separate bonds," that the final order of the Circuit Court of Berkeley County should be reversed. Accordingly, the court found that the plaintiff was entitled to a restitution hearing to determine the actual reasonable costs incurred in providing care, medical treatment, and provisions to the animals seized.

  • The court held that admission of photographs of the victim was harmless because based on the overwhelming evidence against defendant, the jury would have found him guilty without the photographs.

  • The State of New Jersey, through the Borough of Haddonfield, appeals from the final judgment of the Law Division, which reversed the finding of the municipal court that defendant's dog is a potentially dangerous dog pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:19-23(a) as well as the imposition of certain measures to mitigate any future attacks. Defendant, a resident of Haddonfield, owns, breeds, and shows four Rhodesian Ridgebacks kept at his home in a residential neighborhood. The Superior Court concluded that the Law Division's did not properly defer to the trial court's credibility determinations and were not supported by sufficient credible evidence. The court found that the dog's dual attacks causing bodily injury to two individuals were undisputed, and along with evidence of more recent intimidating activity in the neighborhood, the municipal court could have reasonably concluded that the dog posed a more serious threat to cause bodily injury to another.
  • Defendant was charged with a violation of Section 822.005(a)(2) of the Texas Health and Safety Code - the dog attack statute. The trial court dismissed the indictment stating that Section 822.005(a)(2) was unconstitutional because it fails to set forth any required culpable mental state. The Court of Appeals, however, found that the statute was constitutional because it does set forth a culpable mental state. "[B]oth the plain language of Sections 822.005(a)(2) and 822.042 impose upon the owner of a dangerous dog the duty to restrain or secure his or her animal."   

  • Defendant was convicted of killing a non-game bird (owl) while defending his collection of exotic and native birds.  The court finds that defendant rightfully engaged in conduct to defend his property against depredation by owls.  The court carefully notes the owl is an abundant species in Ohio, and that the burden on the property owner would be greater if the species at issue were endangered or threatened, like an eagle.
  • The owner of severely damaged orchards was convicted for shooting some of the responsible animals after repeated requests for state remedies were unsuccessful. The damage to defendant's orchard (with estimated losses of over $200,000 for future cherry production) occurred in 1998 and 1999, when herds of elk repeatedly came through inadequate fencing constructed by the State. The Supreme Court held that when a property owner charged with unlawful hunting or waste of wildlife presents sufficient evidence that he exercised his constitutional right to protect his property from destructive game, the burden shifts to the State to disprove this justification. In this case, the defendant was denied jury instructions regarding his constitutional right to reasonably protect his property.

  • A dog owner was placed on probation which limited him from having any animals on his property for five years.  While on probation, bears on the owner's property were confiscated after getting loose.  The trial court ordered the dog owner to pay restitution for the upkeep of the confiscated bears, but the Court of Appeals reversed holding the trial court did not the authority to require the dog owner to pay restitution for the upkeep of the bears because the forfeiture of animals penalty did not apply to conviction for failure to confine or restrain a dog.

  • The court affirmed a conviction for stealing a dog by holding that it was a "thing of value" despite the traditional common law rule to the contrary and even though it was not taxable property.

  • Defendant was convicted of violating Ohio's animal fighting statute, and appealed. He challenged the conviction, arguing that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The court upheld the conviction. The court ruled that although a portion of the statute was overly vague and broad, that portion was severable from the remainder. The court also held that defendant did not demonstrate that the statute was unconstitutional as applied to him.
  • In this Iowa case, the defendant, West, shot his neighbor's dogs after the dogs were seen running the perimeter of his deer-pen, agitating 15 of his deer in the process. Defendant was subsequently convicted of two counts of animal abuse charges and fifth degree criminal mischief.  On appeal, West argued that the section 351.27 (a provision that allows a person to kill a dog caught in the act of worrying livestock) provides an absolute defense to the charges of animal abuse and that he had the right under the facts and this statute to summarily kill Piatak's dogs because they were worrying and chasing his deer. He also contended that the statute has no additional “reasonableness” requirement, and the trial court was incorrect to graft the “reasonably acting” standard from the animal abuse law. The appellate court agreed, finding that section 351.27 provides an absolute defense to a charge of animal abuse under section 717B.2.

  • In this Florida case, the state appeals a county court order that granted appellee's motion to dismiss two counts of an information and which also declared a state statute to be unconstitutional. Defendant-appellee was arrested for having approximately seventy-seven poodles in cages in the back of a van without food, water and sufficient air. In her motion to dismiss, defendant-appellee alleged that the phrases “sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water” and “[k]eeps any animals in any enclosure without wholesome exercise and change of air” as contained in sections 828.13(2)(a) and (b) were void for vagueness. In reversing the lower court, this court held that the prohibitions against depriving an animal of sufficient food, water, air and exercise, when measured by common understanding and practice, are not unconstitutionally vague.

  • A man ran over his girlfriend's cat after having a fight with his girlfriend.  The trial court found the man guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals.  The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the trial court, holding the aggravated cruelty to animals statute was not unconstitutionally vague.

  • Plaintiff entered an oral agreement for defendant to board and train her horse, Talladega.  The horse died within  two months from starvation, and the Harnett County Animal Control found three other horses under defendant's care that were underfed, and seized them.  The jury trial resulted in a conviction of two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty from which the defendant appeals.  However, this court affirms the jury's conviction, stating that the assignment of error is without merit and would not have affected the jury's conviction. 

  • Defendant was indicted on three counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted aggravated murder, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated robbery, and one count of kidnapping in an incident following a dogfight. Following a jury trial, d efendant was found guilty of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and kidnapping. The court reversed and remanded the case to the trial court.
  • Defendant was convicted of four counts of aggravated animal abuse in the first degree after he drowned all six cats that lived with him in a water-filled trash can. On appeal, defendant challenged the exclusion of evidence that he had an intellectual disability and that he had a character for gentleness toward animals. Defendant asserts such evidence would have shown he did not act with the requisite malicious intent that the state was was required to prove. It would have been relevant in demonstrating his mental state when committing the offenses, according to defendant. The appellate court found that the lower court did not err with regard to excluding defendant's reference to an intellectual disability. The testimony at trial describing his "intellectual disability" was more of a general reference and not relevant to his mental state. On the issue of character evidence of defendant's gentleness toward animals, the appellate assumed the lower court erred because the state conceded it was harmless error in its brief. In agreeing with the state that the error was harmless, the court found any further evidence would have been cumulative because other testimony spoke to defendant's gentle character toward animals. The matter was remanded for resentencing due to errors in sentencing.
  • The petitioner-defendant challenged her criminal conviction for cruelly neglecting several horses she owned by asserting that her Fourth Amendment rights were violated. However, the court of appeals side stepped the petitioners claim that she had a legitimate expectation of privacy in a farmstead, that she did not own or reside on, because she leased the grass on the farmstead for a dollar by invoking the “open fields” doctrine.    The court held that even if such a lease might implicate the petitioners Fourth Amendment rights in some circumstances, the petitioner here was only leasing a open field, which she cannot have a legitimate expectation of privacy in.

  • Court found that milk consumers failed to prove that milk gained from rBST-treated cows contains higher levels of antibiotics, tastes different, or differs in any noticeable way from "ordinary" milk. That consumers might demand mandatory labeling was not enough to require labeling; rather, the FDA was required to ensure that products are not misbranded and consumer demand could not require the FDA to forgo this duty.

  • In this case, Gary and Lori Steagald sued the Eason family, alleging that the Easons failed to keep their dog properly restrained and were therefore liable under OCGA § 51-2-7. Lori Steagald suffered injuries after the Easons dog attacked her while she was visiting the Easons home. The Easons filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that they had no reason to know that the dog was vicious or dangerous and therefore were not liable under the statute. Both the trial court and Court of Appeals affirmed the motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed the lower court’s decision. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of Georgia found that the Eason family was liable under the statute because they did have reason to believe that the dog could potentially be vicious or dangerous. The Court focused on the fact that the dog had previously “growled and snapped” at the Easons while being fed. The Court held that although the dog had never bit anyone prior to Lori Steagald, it was reasonable to assume that the dog could potentially bite and injure someone given the fact that it had a history of snapping and growling. As a result, the Court reversed the Easons motion for summary judgment and determined that the question of whether or not the Easons are liable under the statute is a question for the jury. 

  • Defendants were charged with knowingly and willfully, with intent to defraud the United States, smuggling and clandestinely introducing into the United States merchandise, namely, psittacine birds, which should have been invoiced; by fraudulently and knowingly importing merchandise and by knowingly receiving, concealing and facilitating the transportation and concealment of such merchandise after importation, knowing the same to have been imported into the United States contrary to law.  Appellants contend that the birds mentioned in count 1 were not merchandise, within the meaning of 18 U.S.C.A. § 545. The court found there was no merit in this contention.  Further, this importation subjected defendants to the felony provision of the Lacey Act and defendants were properly sentenced under the felony conspiracy portion of the Act.

  • Plaintiff Stennette was providing in-home nursing care while she was bitten multiple times by Defendant Miller's dog. Stennette appeals from the trial court's grant of summary judgment to Miller in Stennette's personal injury action. This Court affirmed that decision because Stennette failed to provide adequate evidence showing triable issues on whether the dog had a vicious propensity and whether Miller knew of that propensity. However, the Court reversed the grant of summary judgment as to Miller on Stennette's claim that Miller negligently performed a voluntarily-undertaken duty to keep the dog away from her when she was at the house, because the evidence created genuine issues of material fact as to this claim.

  • Before the court here is defendant's motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's motion to certify a class. Plaintiffs claim is based on Spokane's "barking dog" ordinance" for which they were each issued an infraction by animal control officers. Plaintiffs contend the ordinance is void for vagueness. The court disagreed, finding that the ordinance has incorporated the reasonableness standard and is presumptively constitutional. In the ordinance, the citizen of average intellect need not guess at the prohibition of allowing an animal to unreasonably disturb persons by “habitually barking, howling, yelping, whining, or making other oral noises.”

  • The Mississippi Cruelty to Animal statute was applied to the Defendant who killed several hogs that were eating his crops.  The lower court refused to instruct the Jury that they should find him not guilty, if they believed that he killed the hogs while depredating on his crop and to protect it, and not out of a spirit of cruelty to the animals.  The Supreme Court of Mississippi found it to be an error by the court to refuse to give such instructions because if the defendant was not actuated by a spirit of cruelty, or a disposition to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering, he was not guilty under the statute.

  • Defendant was accused and convicted of 17 counts of cruelty to animals for harboring fighting dogs in deplorable conditions. Defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence and the probation terms. The appellate court found, in light of the evidence, any rational trier of fact could have found the elements of cruelty to animals beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, defendant failed to overcome the presumption that the probation the trial court imposed was correct.

  • Lamp owners sued the lamp’s manufacturer and seller under Washington Products Liability Act, alleging that  lamp caused a fire that injured their dog. The District Court held that Plaintiffs could not recover damages for emotional harm arising from injury to their dog. The appropriate measure of damages for personal property is market value, but if it has none, then the value to the owner is the proper measure. Plaintiffs' recovery was limited to the actual or intrinsic value of the dog.

  • Plaintiffs brought the instant suit contending that their Condo Board's refusal to accommodate the need for an emotional support animal forced them to sell their condo. The Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state claims upon which relief could be granted. After finding that Plaintiffs were not entitled to unrestricted access for their dog despite a no pet waiver and after needing more facts to determine whether Defendants restrictions on Plaintiffs’ access to the building were reasonable, the District Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims under the Federal Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). The District Court also found Plaintiffs' interference or intimidation allegations sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. However, the District Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ nuisance claim because Plaintiffs had not contended that Defendants unreasonably used their own property to interfere in Plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their home, but rather, contended that Defendants made rules that interfered with the Plaintiff's ability to use the common areas of the property as they wished. Plaintiffs’ intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was also dismissed because Plaintiffs had not sufficiently alleged that Defendants' conduct was extreme or outrageous. Finally, the constructive eviction claim was dismissed because more than a year had past between the owners’ accommodation request and the sale of their condominium. In sum, Counts I, II, and III went forward, but the remainder of the complaint was dismissed. Additionally, Defendant Sudler Building Services was dismissed from the complaint.
  • An owner of a horse farm acquired a new horse that had only recently been broken in and got a woman with some health problems to ride the horse. The horse bucked and threw the defendant off the horse causing injury. The court held that even though riders assume the risk of most injuries, a horse owner can be liable for failure to take reasonable measures to match the rider to a suitable horse.

  • After home owner’s roommate was attacked by a pit bull inside the home, the victim filed suit against owner under the vicious animal and the premises liability statutes. The Court of Appeals held that, because the roommate knew about the dog’s vicious propensity to the same extent as the owner, the owner was not liable. Plaintiff must present evidence that the owner had superior knowledge of the dog's temperament for the owner to be liable.

  • This Washington discrimination case was brought by a dog owner (Storms) with psychiatric conditions against a store and its managers who refused to allow her to stay in store with her alleged service dog. The dog was trained to  put herself between Storms and other people so as to keep an open area around Storms and alleviate her anxiety (a symptom of her post-traumatic stress syndrome). The appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of discrimination against Fred Meyer for refusing to allow her to shop accompanied by her dog. Testimony showed that Brandy had been specifically trained to help Storms with her particular disability by placing herself in between Storms and others in a way that alleviated her anxiety, which was further corroborated by testimony that Brandy engaged in such behavior. Thus, evidence showed that the defendants' violated RCW 49.60.215 by not allowing Storms to do her own shopping within the store because she was accompanied by a service animal.

  • Plaintiff ranch owners grazed cattle within the Murderer's Creek Wild Horse Territory (WHT), an area in which the threatened Middle Columbia River steelhead was present. The Forest Service approved a wild horse management plan in the area, but failed to prepare a Biological Assessment (BA) to determine whether the plan was likely to affect the threatened species, and whether formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was necessary. The Forest Service’s failure to comply with section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was arbitrary and capricious, and was ordered to consult with NMFS on its plan.

  • Coast Guard vessels struck and killed Northern Right whales. Plaintiffs claim that these incidents constitute takings in violation of the ESA and MMPA. Court holds that the Coast Guard could implement reasonable and prudent alternatives that would reduce the striking of whales.

  • Plaintiff sued defendant dog breeders after defendants misrepresented that the dog had been vaccinated as a newborn against Parvo.  In affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendants on the issue of negligent infliction of emotional distress the court noted that dogs are considered property in Ohio.  While the court sympathized "with one who must endure the sense of loss which may accompany the death of a pet; however, we cannot ignore the law . . . Ohio law simply does not permit recovery for serious emotional distress which is caused when one witnesses the negligent injury or destruction of one's property."

  • Petitioner, an animal rescue organization, filed suit seeking the enforcement of the Animal Shelters and Sterilization Act. The court held that the act does not provide for a private right of action for money damages. Instead, the legislative history reveals the law was designed to benefit the general public in New York City as well as stray cats and dogs. The court affirmed the lower court's decision with costs.

  • A case involving an automobile accident in which the court declared that photographs may be authenticated by a party having personal knowledge of the location and who can verify that the photos substantially represent the conditions as they existed at the time in question.

  • The Supreme Court of Texas considers petitioner's appeal from the court of appeals' decision holding that a dog owner may recover intangible loss-of-companionship damages in the form of intrinsic or sentimental-value property damages. The facts underlying the action involved the improper euthanization of respondents' dog, Avery. They sued for Avery's “sentimental or intrinsic value” because the dog had little or no market value and was irreplaceable. The trial court found that Texas law barred such damages, and dismissed the suit with prejudice. The Court of Appeals of Texas became the first court to hold that a dog owner may recover intangible loss-of-companionship damages in the form of intrinsic or sentimental-value property damages. The Supreme Court reverses that decision here, ruling that dogs are ordinary property, with damages limited to market value, and noneconomic damages based in relational attachment are not permitted.

  • The appeal in this case does not contest the denial of a permit to conduct dolphin feedings cruises. The position of the plaintiffs-appellees is that the Secretary of Commerce has no authority to consider feeding to be a form of harassment or to regulate it. The court disagreed with the plaintiffs-appellees and found it clearly reasonable to restrict or prohibit the feeding of dolphins as a potential hazard to them.

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