Cases

  • Appellant Galindo pleaded guilty to cruelty to nonlivestock animals and a deadly-weapon allegation from the indictment. The trial court accepted his plea, found him guilty, and sentenced him to five years in prison. The facts stem from an incident where Galindo grabbed and then stabbed a dog with a kitchen knife. The indictment indicated that Galindo also used and exhibited a deadly weapon (a knife) during both the commission of the offense and flight from the offense. On appeal, Galindo argues that the deadly-weapon finding is legally insufficient because the weapon was used against a "nonhuman." Appellant relies on the recent decision of Prichard v. State, 533 S.W.3d 315 (Tex. Crim. App. 2017), in which the Texas Court of Appeals held that a deadly-weapon finding is legally insufficient where the sole recipient of the use or exhibition of the deadly weapon is a nonhuman. The court here found the facts distinguishable from Prichard. The court noted that Prichard left open the possibility that a deadly-weapons finding could occur when the weapon was used or exhibited against a human during the commission of an offense against an animal. Here, the evidence introduced at defendant's guilty plea and testimony from sentencing and in the PSIR are sufficient to support the trial court's finding on the deadly-weapons plea (e.g., the PSI and defense counsel stated that Galindo first threatened his girlfriend with the knife and then cut the animal in front of his girlfriend and her son). The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.
  • In this Pennsylvania case, the parents of a 7-month old child sued the landlords of tenants who owned a ferret that bit the child on the face causing injury. The court stated that the resolution of this motion for summary judgment depended first on whether the ferret is deemed a wild animal. In ruling that the ferret is indeed a wild animal, the court noted that ferrets have been known to return to a feral state upon escaping and people have kept ferrets as house pets only in recent years. In Pennsylvania, the general rule is that a landlord out of possession is not liable for injuries caused by animals kept by tenants when the tenant has exclusive control of the premises except where the landlord has knowledge of the presence of the dangerous animal and where he or she has the right to control or remove the animal by retaking possession of the premises. The court found that since a ferret is a wild animal, the landlords were aware of the presence of the ferret, and plaintiffs may be able to prove that the landlords had the ability to exercise control over the premises prior to the incident, the landlords may be held liable under a theory of negligence. The motion for summary judgment was denied.

  • Motorist injured when cattle strayed onto highway in violation of state law.  The lower court allowed the defendant's to assert the affirmative defense of comparative negligence, reducing Motorists damages, but the jury still found in favor of the Motorist.  Both sides appealed, and the Court held that (a) comparative negligence affirmative defense was valid; and (b) jury's damage configuration was legally inconsistent.

  • In 2008, defendants' dog allegedly left their yard by passing through an underground "invisible" electrical fence system and bit the plaintiff who was sitting on her bike on the adjacent property. Plaintiff filed suit seeking damages for injury based on common-law negligence and strict liability. The lower court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment based on the fact that they had no prior knowledge of the dog's alleged vicious propensities. On appeal, the court found that even defendants' own depositions raised an issue of fact as to notice of their dog's alleged vicious propensities. Specifically, one defendant admitted he used a "bite sleeve" obtained through his employment as a police officer to encourage the dog to bite and hold a perpetrator's arm. This evidence that the dog was encouraged to leap up and bite a human arm created a sufficient issue of fact for the jury despite defendants' claim that this was a "play activity" for the dog.

  • Plaintiffs appeal from a judgment upholding the constitutionality of an ordinance of the Village of Tijeras, New Mexico banning the ownership or possession of a breed of dog “known as American Pit Bull Terrier.” The District Court of Bernalillo County upheld the ordinance and plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals found that plaintiffs had notice that the ordinance proscribes the conduct in which they were engaged; thus, it was not void for vagueness. With regard to the argument that the ordinance violated substantive due process, the court found that ordinance was rationally related to legitimate village purpose of protecting the health and safety of the community. Finally, the court found that the ordinance did not violate procedural due process where the ordinance provides that a hearing is held after impoundment to determine whether the dog is a pit bull.

  • Carrollton, Texas municipal code prohibited the keeping of more than three pets on property within the city limits. Yvette Garza, a member of an animal rescue organization, challenged the determination that she had violated the city code by keeping more than three dogs. She argued that the code was unconstitutionally vague and that her actions were necessary. The court held that although the term "keep" was not defined in the statute, a person of ordinary intelligence would understand the law because "keep" has a common sense meaning. Garza also failed to produce evidence proving when the scheduled euthanasia of the dogs was going to occur, she therefore failed to establish the elements of her necessity defense.
  • In this New York case, plaintiffs surrendered their maltreated horse to defendant Sullivan County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. on March 4, 2005. Shortly thereafter, they commenced this action seeking return of the horse and damages, including punitive damages. Defendants' answer failed to respond to all paragraphs of the 38-paragraph complaint, which included six causes of action, prompting plaintiffs to move for summary judgment on the ground that defendants admitted "all" essential and material facts. At oral argument before this Court, plaintiffs' counsel consented to defendants filing an amended answer. The court found that since this amended pleading will presumably contain denials to all contested allegations in the complaint, plaintiffs' request for summary judgment on the procedural ground that defendants' failed to deny certain facts must fail. Moreover, as correctly noted by Supreme Court, conflicting evidence precludes summary judgment in plaintiffs' favor.

  • Defendant was charged with the possession of game birds, for the purpose of transporting them beyond the state, which birds had been lawfully killed within the state.   The sole issue which the case presents is, was it lawful, under the constitution of the United States (section 8, art. 1) (the Commerce Clause), for the state of Connecticut to allow the killing of birds within the state during a designated open season, to allow such birds, when so killed, to be used, to be sold, and to be bought for use, within the state, and yet to forbid their transportation beyond the state?  The Court held that, aside from the authority of the state, derived from the common ownership of game, and the trust for the benefit of its people which the state exercises in relation thereto, there is another view of the power of the state in regard to the property in game, which is equally conclusive. The right to preserve game flows from the undoubted existence in the state of a police power to that end, which may be none the less efficiently called into play, because, by doing so, interstate commerce may be remotely and indirectly affected.  This decision was later overruled in Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322.

  • In this case, the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied the Georgia Aquarium’s application for a permit under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to import 18 beluga whales from Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk for public display. The Aquarium challenged the defendant National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) decision to deny a permit to import the beluga whales as arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The Court found that defendant National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was correct in following the statutory mandate of the MMPA after it found that the Sakhalin-Amur stock of the whales is likely declining and is experiencing adverse impacts in addition to Russian live-capture operations. Further, some of the beluga whales destined for the import were potentially young enough to still be nursing and dependent upon their mothers.
  • The President of the New Jersey SPCA brought an action to have several county SPCA certificates of authority revoked.  The county SPCAs brought a counterclaim alleging the revocation was beyond the state SPCA's statutory authority.  The trial court revoked one county's certificate of authority, but the Court of Appeals held the revocation was an abuse of discretion.

  • In this Connecticut case, a tenant, who was bitten by a neighbor's dog, brought a common law negligence action against the landlord, the housing authority of the town of Wallingford. The tenant then appealed after the lower court granted the landlord's motion to strike the complaint. On appeal, this Court held that the tenant properly stated a claim under common law negligence against the landlord. Relying on Auster v. Norwalk United Methodist Church, 286 Conn. 152, 943 A.2d 391 (2008) , the court concluded that a common-law negligence action brought against a landlord in a dog bite case should not be striken simply because the landlord was the the owner or keeper of the dog.

  • Plaintiff brought various claims against Defendants after Plaintiff’s cat was euthanized prior to the standard 72 hour waiting period.   On Defendants’ motion to dismiss, the United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania found that Defendants were not acting under color of law.   Because any and all claims for which the Court had original jurisdiction were being dismissed, the Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s State law claims.  

  • This case dealt with a condo owner and his son who lived in a condo and relied on a service dog for treatment of PTSD. The Plaintiffs filed suit against the condo trust, Board of Trustees, Board members, and others, alleging violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by not allowing the Plaintiffs to keep the dog in their condo unit. The father attempted to communicate with the Trustees about a reasonable accommodation for the service dog, but was met with silence from the Trustees. After the dog had already moved into the condo, the Board sent correspondence stating that fines would be assessed if the dog was not removed after a certain date. After complications with securing the requisite medical info, the dog was ultimately allowed to say, but fines had accrued. The Court held that 1) plaintiffs stated claim that defendants violated FHA; 2) owner was an aggrieved person under the FHA, and thus owner had standing to bring claim; 3) district court would decline to dismiss claim on exhaustion grounds; and 4) under Massachusetts law, claims against attorney and law firm were barred by the litigation privilege. Thus, the court the Court denied the Board and Trust's motion to dismiss and granted Attorney Gaines and the Law Firm's motion to dismiss.
  • This Rhode Island Supreme Court case centers on a disagreement among former spouses concerning the ex-husband's visitation with their two dogs acquired during marriage. Before the Court is an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided. After review, the Court concluded that cause was not shown and affirmed the order of the Family Court. The couple entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) formalizing the terms of the dissolution of Diane and Paul Giarrusso's marriage and giving Diane all title and interest to the dogs and Paul twice a week visitation. The weekly visitation proceeded according to the agreement for over a year, when Diane ceased allowing Paul's visits. Paul then filed a motion for post-final judgment relief citing breach of the agreement and Diane counterclaimed. A justice of the Family Court held a hearing on the issue, where each party testified and submitted associated texts and emails. In one recounted incident, a dog was missing for some time at Paul's house. Ultimately, the dog was found to be accidentally locked in a closet. At the conclusion of the hearing, Diane argued that the justice should withdraw approval for the MSA because Paul failed to care for the dogs and showed bad faith, while Paul argued that Diane had breached the terms. The hearing justice affirmed the visitation schedule of the MSA, denied Diane's requested relief, and awarded attorney fees to Paul. On appeal here, Diane argues that the hearing justice was "clearly wrong and overlooked material evidence when she found that Paul had acted in good faith." In particular, Diane contends that the dogs are chattel and Paul failed to provide safe conditions and return them to her in an undamaged condition. The Supreme Court held, in noting that the MSA retains the characteristics of a contract, that it would not overturn the hearing justice's determination in absence of mutual mistake in the contract (the MSA). There was no mutual mistake in the MSA's visitation provision and no basis for the hearing justice to conclude that the MSA needs to be reformed. Further, this court found no evidence of bad faith on Paul's part and that the hearing justice's findings were support by the evidence. Thus, it was not inequitable to enforce the visitation term in the MSA as written. The order of the Family Court was affirmed and the matter returned to Family Court.
  • Defendant, a Native American, challenged the constitutionality of the limitation of eagle parts through the permit system to members of federally recognized tribes.  The limitation under the federal eagle permit system to federally recognized Indian tribes does not violate RFRA because the government has a compelling interest in protecting a species in demise and fulfilling pre-existing trust obligations to federally-recognized tribes in light of the limited supply of eagle parts.  For further discussion on free exercise challenges under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

  • Plaintiff was injured when she was thrown from her horse while she was riding her horse in a city field.   Plaintiff sued Defendant for her injuries because she was thrown from her horse after the horse was startled by the Defendant’s dogs, which were chasing the horse.   The Defendant claimed that she was immune from liability under Ohio’s Equine Activity Liability Act.   However, in this case of first impression, the court found that the EALA did not apply to Defendant because Plaintiff was not engaged in an “equine activity” at the time of the injury and the statute is not meant to apply to all third parties involved in an accident in which an equine was present.

  • The prospective buyer of a home was bitten by the homeowner's dog.  The prospective buyer filed a claim against the homeowners, real estate agents, real estate brokers and the real estate agency.  The State Court entered summary judgment in favor of Defendants and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.

  • This is a record review case in which the Appellants, an assortment of environmental organizations, challenge six biological opinions (BiOps) issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The BiOps in question allowed for timber harvests in specified Northwest forests and also authorized incidental "takes" of the Northern spotted owl, a threatened species under the ESA.  With regard to appellants' challenge of the jeopardy analysis under the ESA, the court concluded that the jeopardy analysis conducted by the FWS in the six BiOps at issue in this case was permissible and within the agency's discretion.  However, the critical habitat analysis in the six BiOps was fatally flawed because it relied on an unlawful regulatory definition of "adverse modification."  The Court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded the case to the district court to grant summary judgment to the Petitioners on the critical habitat inquiry.

  • This is an appeal of a trial court's ruling in favor of a landlord finding that the tenant violated two material terms of her residential rental agreement. One of the material violations involved the keeping of a pet in violation of a no-pets policy. The facts show that the dog, "Dutchess," initially came to the tenant's apartment in 2009 with the tenant's son. While the dog never attacked another person or pet, it did display aggressive behavior, including lunging, baring her teeth, and rearing up on her hind legs. Other tenants expressed fear of Dutchess. After the son moved out in 2013, the dog stayed, and, in 2014, the landlord sent tenant a letter indicating the keeping of the dog was a violation of the lease. Two months after that notice, an informal meeting was held and tenant then claimed the dog as a reasonable accommodation for her disability. The landlord's attorney sent paperwork to effectuate this request, which the tenant said she never received. Months later, the landlord served the tenant with an eviction action to which tenant responded with a request to keep her dog as a reasonable accommodation. The request to keep a pet as a reasonable accommodation was granted shortly thereafter by landlord; however, the landlord did not approve of Dutchess as the specific animal due to concerns of behavior and hostility toward other residents. At an eviction hearing in June of 2016, the landlord's request to terminate the tenant's lease was granted by the court, which concluded that the reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal did not extend to Dutchess. On appeal, the Vermont Supreme Court noted that a request for an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation may be denied if "the specific assistance animal in question poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others." While there was no dispute in this case that the tenant has a disability-related need for an ESA, there was credible evidence that supported the lower court's decision that Dutchess posed a threat and/or would cause substantial physical damage to the property. This included testimony from other tenants and tenant's own statements that she might not be able to control Dutchess. The court stated: "[l]ike the trial court, we acknowledge tenant's attachment to Dutchess and her need for an emotional support animal, but the court properly weighed the evidence regarding Dutchess's aggressive behavior against landlord's concerns for the safety and wellbeing of the other residents." The court concluded that the lower court did not err in affirming landlord's denial of tenant's reasonable accommodation request.
  • Plaintiffs sought to recover property damages and damage and for mental anguish sustained when Brown allegedly shot and killed a donkey owned by the Gills.  By alleging that Brown's conduct was reckless and that they thereby suffered extreme mental anguish and trauma, the court held that the Gills have alleged facts that, if proven, could permit recovery under an intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action. Accordingly, the court held that the district court erred by striking the Gills' claim for damages caused by mental anguish and the cause was remanded.

  • In this Georgia case, the Court of Appeals held that, on issue of first impression, an alligator farm was not a "farm" within meaning of the state statute that exempted "farm laborers" or their employers from coverage under the Workers' Compensation Act (Gill was bitten while cleaning out a pen and subsequently developed both a bone infection and salmonella). In construing the relevant statutes, the court found that in the chapter on Employment Security Law (ESL), the legislature meant that individuals who raise or tend wildlife perform "agricultural labor," but only when they do so on a "farm," which is "used for production of stock, dairy products, poultry, fruit, and fur-bearing animals." Accordingly, the court concluded that when Gill cleaned out the alligator pens, he was caring for wildlife and thus performing "agricultural labor." However, his employer, an alligator farm, was not a "farm" because alligators are "wildlife," not "[live]stock ... [or] fur-bearing animals." 

  • The Slensky's took their ill beagle to Defendant's Animal Hospital for routine vaccinations and examinations due to the dog's loose stools for four days.  X-rays of the dog were taken, and when the dog was returned to the Slensky's, where it then collapsed.  Defendant instructed them to take the dog to the emergency clinic, where it later died.  The family filed a complaint with the Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, and Defendant was later convicted of gross negligence and incompetence, an ethics violation, and for using an unlicensed veterinary technician.  His license was suspended and he was placed on probation.  The Court held that Defendant:  (1) could be assessed costs of the proceeding; (2) he could not be assessed attorney's fees; (3) the Board could award expert witness fees above the statutory cap; (4) the Board failed to justify the imposition of costs for an investigator; and (5) statutes did not permit the employment of an unlicensed veterinary technician.

  • While pet sitting for Defendants Bruce and Jodi Smith, Plaintiff Josephine Gilreath was attacked and injured by the Smiths' rooster, which caused a serious infection with long-term consequences. Plaintiff Gilreath filed suit, but the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants on the ground that Gilreath assumed the risk. Gilreath appealed to the Court of Appeals of Georgia. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court and reasoned that Gilreath assumed the risk of injury based on the state statutes of owners of land under OCGA § 51-3-1, as keepers of a vicious or dangerous animal under OCGA § 51-2-7, and as required by a Roswell city ordinance. The Court reasoned that at prior pet-sittings at the Defendants home, Gilreath had been warned that the rooster would attack and that a garbage can lid was useful for controlling the rooster. Second, Gilreath has not raised an issue of fact regarding whether the Smiths had superior knowledge of the risks associated with the danger. Gilreath, a professional pet sitter with at least nine years of experience, admitted that she had a responsibility to educate herself about the animals she takes care of yet she failed to do so for roosters. Third, Gilreath admitted that she chose to take the job knowing that she had been told that the rooster would attack. Gilreath also contends that the Smiths violated a Roswell city ordinance, but she failed to introduce a certified copy of the ordinance and thus failed to prove this claim.

  • In this case, Sylvia Weber filed suit against Monika Glover for injuries sustained when Weber’s daughter fell off a horse owned by a third party and boarded on Glover’s land. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Weber. Glover appealed the trial court’s decision, arguing that she was immune from liability under the Equine Activities statute. The court of appeals reviewed the issue and reversed the trial courts decision and granted summary judgment in favor of Glover. The main issue of the case whether or not Glover fell under the definition of “equine activity sponsor” provided in the act. Weber argued that Glover was not an “equine activity sponsor” because she was not participating in a public or group-based equine activity or a professional equine activity. The court of appeals disagreed with Weber’s argument and determined that noting in the plain language of the statute requires the equine activity to be public or group-based or professional to be covered under the statute. For this reason, the court of appeals found that Glover was considered a “equine activity sponsor” under the act and was therefore immune from liability.

  • Plaintiff sued American Airlines for emotional distress damages, inter alia , after his dog suffered a fatal heatstroke while being transported in the cargo hold of defendant's airliner (the temperature reached 140 degrees Fahrenheit in violation of the airline's cargo hold guidelines).  Plaintiff relied on the state case of Brousseau v. Rosenthal  and Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hosp., Inc  in support of his negligent infliction of emotional distress claim.  The court observed that none of the decisions cited by plaintiff, including Corso, recognize an independent cause of action for loss of companionship, but rather, they provide a means for assessing the "intrinsic" value of the lost pet when the market value cannot be determined.  As a result, the court rejected plaintiff's claim for loss of companionship as well as pain and suffering without any prior authority that established the validity of such claims. 

  • Joel and Kim Goldberger owned residential rental property in Flagstaff that was insured by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company under a rental dwelling policy. The Goldbergers filed a claim asserting that their tenant allowed feral cats to access the property and cause approximately $75,000 in “accidental damage.” State farm subsequently denied the claim asserting that feral cats are domestic animals and therefore the damage was not covered under the policy. The Goldbergers filed suit alleging breach of contract and insurance bad faith. State Farm moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. State Farm claimed that the policy stated that accidental losses caused by “birds, vermin, rodents, insects, or domestic animals” were not covered by the policy. The superior court granted State Farm’s motion and this appeal followed. The Goldbergers argued that the superior court erred in dismissing their complaint due to the fact that the term “domestic animals” is reasonably susceptible to differing interpretations and must be construed against State Farm. State Farm argued that the exclusion in the policy was only susceptible to one reasonable interpretation. The Court stated that there were two interpretations to the term “domestic animal.” The first definition is a species-based definition that says that domestic animals are animals belonging to a broader class of animals that have been domesticated at some point in history. The second definition is an individualized definition that says that domestic animals are animals that are kept by a person for any of various purposes, including as pets. The Court ultimately decided that the individualized definition makes more sense in terms of the insurance policy itself as well as case law. In making this determination, the court noted the "nonsensical" outcome that would arise for exotic or nontraditional pets were a species-based definition adopted. Domestic animals encompass animals that are subject to the care, custody, and control of a person. On the facts alleged in the complaint alone, the Court could not say that the tenant was keeping the feral cats in such a manner that the exclusion would preclude coverage. The court therefore resolved all reasonable inferences in the Goldberger’s favor and presumed that the cats were feral. Because the feral cats that caused the damage are not domestic animals under all reasonable interpretations of the facts alleged in the complaint, the court erred in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss. The Court reversed the superior court’s order dismissing the Goldberger’s complaint and remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.
  • Plaintiff, Stuart Goldman, was the former chief humane law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Plaintiff alleged that in May of 2015, he learned from a resident of Matawan that Critter Control of New Jersey had trapped a female adult raccoon and removed it from the roof of a house. A few days later, baby raccoons were found in the gutters of that same house. Those baby raccoons allegedly went without sustenance for a week. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Critter Control for violation of New Jersey law. The case was dismissed with prejudice and the court stated that the statute only provided for organizations to seek a civil remedy under the New Jersey statute and that Plaintiff had brought his complaint in his individual capacity and, therefore, lacked standing. Plaintiff had also filed a second case in which the he alleged that Simplicity Farms was mistreating horses. This was ultimately dismissed by the trial court. Plaintiff appealed both cases which were ultimately consolidated on appeal. Plaintiff contended on appeal that he had standing to sue in the name on Monmouth SPCA as a qui tam action and that the court erred by not granting his motion for reconsideration to allow him to amend the complaint with the proper caption. Plaintiff also contended that his complaint against Simplicity Farms should not have been dismissed. Plaintiff argued that the N.J.S.A. 4:22-26 authorized qui tam suits because it provided that “any person in the name of the New Jersey [SPCA] or county SPCA can sue for civil penalties.” Based on the legislative history and the amendments to the PCAA, the Court concluded that the PCAA did not authorize qui tam lawsuits as the Plaintiff contended. The Court found no misapplication of discretion by the trial court denying Plaintiff’s motions to amend his complaints because the amendments would have been futile in light of his lack of standing. The Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
  • Josh Gomez took his dog, Pilot, to Pet First Animal Hospital because Pilot was lethargic and throwing up. Gary Innocent, the veterinarian, diagnosed Pilot with parvo virus that could have killed him if left untreated. Innocent gave Gomez an estimate of $1,453.25 for the dog’s care. The animal hospital required full payment up front, but Gomez could not afford to pay so Innocent accepted $400 for one night’s care. Gomez left the dog for the night and called the following day. He was informed that he owed an additional $751.25. Gomez paid the $751.25 on the following day. Upon picking up Pilot from the animal hospital he was informed that he owed an additional $484.80. Gomez could not pay the $484.80 so Innocent asked Gomez to leave Pilot at the animal hospital until the bill was paid. Gomez obliged and left Pilot there. After Pilot was at the animal hospital for 20 days, a good Samaritan paid the dog’s accrued bill of $972. Gomez sued, alleging that Innocent and PetFirst breached their contract by refusing to return the dog after he paid the amounts agreed to, but before he paid “additional sums not agreed to by the parties in their initial contract.” The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Innocent and PetFirst. This appeal followed. Gomez claimed that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment because genuine issues of material fact existed as to the validity of the veterinary lien statute. The Court stated that Innocent was a licensed veterinarian who, at Gomez’s request, treated Gomez’s dog. Gomez signed a treatment authorization form and was informed that all professional fees were due at the time services were rendered. A detailed written estimate of the expected treatments and costs was given to Gomez which stated that the total final bill could vary from the estimate. Gomez did not present any evidence creating an issue of material fact as to the accuracy or validity of any of the charges on the itemized bill that Innocent produced. Innocent met his burden by showing that he acted properly in relying on the veterinary lien statute to retain the dog when Gomez failed to pay. The Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.
  • This Louisiana case concerns an action for personal injuries sustained by an animal control officer who was mauled about the head and neck by defendants' dog while investigating a complaint of an attack by the dog from the previous day. The dog's owners argued on appeal that the trial court failed to apply the Professional Rescuer's Doctrine, sometimes referred to as the “fireman's rule." Because under the facts here, where the dog had previously escaped after being confined in the house and the defendants failed to properly lock the house and/or restrain the dog, the court did not find that Ms. Gonzales' recovery for injuries was barred by the Professional Rescuer's Doctrine. The court held that based upon the record before this court, there was no error on the part of the trial court that warranted reversal of the plaintiff's motion for a partial summary judgment as to the liability of the dog's owners.

  • Veterinarian contacted State Police after allegedly observing deplorable conditions in Plaintiff's barn. The premises were subsequently searched, and a horse and three dogs were removed and later adopted. Plaintiff commenced an action in City Court for, inter alia, replevin, and several defendants asserted counterclaims based on Lien Law § 183. The Lockport City Court entered partial summary judgment in favor of owner and ordered return of animals. On appeal, the Niagara County Court, reversed and remanded. Owner appealed to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York. The Court found the Niagara County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Inc. (SPCA) was not required to bring a forfeiture action to divest Plaintiff of ownership of the seized animals because the animals were kept in unhealthful or unsanitary surroundings, the plaintiff was not properly caring for them, and the plaintiff failed to redeem the animals within five days before the SPCA was authorized to make the animals available for adoption. The city court’s order was affirmed as modified.
  • Plaintiff acquired an indoor/outdoor cat with an unknown medical and vaccination history. Plaintiff took cat to defendant for treatment and the cat received a vaccination. The cat soon developed a golf-ball-sized mass that contained a quarter-sized ulceration which was draining “matter” on the cat's right rear leg. When plaintiff returned the cat to the defendant, defendant diagnosed the cat with an infection, prescribed an antibiotic for treatment, and instructed Gonzalez to return if the cat's symptoms did not improve. When the cat's symptoms did not improve, plaintiff took the cat to another veterinarian who diagnosed the cat with vaccine-associated sarcoma. The cat had to be eventually euthanized. Acting pro se, the plaintiff filed suit, alleging that defendant failed to: (1) inform her of vaccine-associated sarcoma risk; (2) adhere to feline vaccination protocols; and (3) properly diagnose vaccine-associated sarcoma in the cat, which resulted in the loss of her life. On appeal, plaintiff asserted that the trial court erred by granting defendant's no-evidence and traditional motions for summary judgment. After examining the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff and disregarding all contrary evidence and inferences, the court concluded that the plaintiff brought forth more than a scintilla of probative evidence establishing the relevant standard of care to prove her malpractice claims. The trial court, therefore, erred by granting the no-evidence summary judgment. On the traditional summary judgment claim, the court held that that the defendant's evidence did not conclusively prove that a veterinarian complied with the applicable standard of care in light of another veterinarian's report to the contrary. The trial court, therefore, erred by granting defendant's traditional motion for summary judgment. The case was reversed and remanded.
  • This Vermont case answered whether noneconomic damages are available when a companion animal dies due to negligent acts of veterinarians and a pharmaceutical company, and also whether a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is allowed for the death of a pet. The Vermont Supreme Court answered both questions in the negative. Plaintiffs' cats died after taking hypertension pills produced by defendant pharmaceutical company Vetpharm, which contained a toxic level of the medication (20 times the labeled dose). After the cats were brought into defendant-veterinarians' office, plaintiff contends that defendant veterinarians negligently or wantonly failed to diagnose the toxicity in the cats, and improperly treated the cats as a result. While the plaintiffs and amici urged the court to adopt a special exception to recover noneconomic damages for the loss of their personal property (to wit, the cats), the court found that to be a role more suited to the state legislature. With regard to the NIED claim, the court held that plaintiffs were never in the "zone of danger" necessary to establish a claim.

  • The issue of county versus local control over livestock regulations came to a head when the Iowa Supreme Court invalidated a series of ordinances that had been enacted by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to add additional regulations to the livestock industry and to address problems created by confined animal feeding operations in the county. The court ruled that the ordinances were inconsistent with state law and invalid under the doctrine of implied preemption. 

  • This instant action is a motion to dismiss by Defendant Sims in a § 1983 action and state law claims by plaintiff Goodwin against several Crawford County, Georgia officials. The case started with the shooting of plaintiff's dog, allegedly by Defendant Crawford County Officer Neesmith. After the dog was shot in his driveway, plaintiff alleges that Neesmith consulted another officer named Hollis who arrived on scene. Neesmith then called Defendant Sims, who was an employee of the Crawford County Health Department. Sims explained to Neesmith by phone that Plaintiff Goodwin could be liable for the cost of a rabies shot if the dog's head was not removed and that the cost of the shot was approximately $20,000. After this call, Hollis order plaintiff to cut off his own dog's head to be tested for rabies or face criminal charges and the cost of the rabies shot. In the presence of plaintiff's wife and children, the plaintiff relented and cut off the dog's head with a knife, but was too emotionally distraught to take the dog's head to the Crawford County Health Department (Plaintiff Dakon did so). As to only Defendant Sims' motion to dismiss, this court found that her economic coercion was not arbitrary and thus did not violate plaintiff's substantive due process rights. Further, the court found that Sims did not actually coerce or force plaintiff to do the decapitation. Regarding plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress against Sims, the court found that Sims' alleged use of "financial pressure" did not amount to extreme and outrageous conduct. Instead, the court said "she did her job," which was to communicate the rabies control procedures and did not actually require plaintiff to personally decapitate his dog. Accordingly, the Court granted Sims' Motion to Dismiss.
  • Plaintiff brought her dog into a store. The dog fought with the store owner's cat. After the fight was over, and the animals were calm, plaintiff reached down and grabbed the cat's front paw. The cat scratched and bit plaintiff, who brought a negligence action against the store owner. The court held that plaintiff could not recover because plaintiff did not exercise due care when she interfered with a strange animal, and there was no evidence that the cat was vicious.

  • Appellants Stephen Gordon and the Diamond G Ranch, Inc. challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service's control of gray wolves introduced under the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan near the Diamond G in the Dunoir Valley of northwestern Wyoming. Seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, they filed this action in federal district court alleging violations of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause and the regulations promulgated under the Endangered Species Act. The district court dismissed the takings claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the ESA claims as not yet ripe for review. This court affirmed the lower court.

  • After leaving a sliding glass door open for her service dog and her neighbor's dog, the plaintiff in this case was mauled by two pit bulls. Plaintiff sued the dogs' owners under a strict liability statute and the county for negligently responding to prior complaints about the dogs. At trial, a jury not only found all defendants guilty, but also found the plaintiff contributorily negligent.  Upon appeal, the court affirmed the judgment the lower court entered based on the jury verdict.  Chief Judge Worswick concurred in part and dissented in part.

  • The court held that the adoption of a dog from an animal shelter was invalid unless the dog was found in "the city" pursuant to the shelter's contract with the local government.

  • The State allows for two methods of protecting animals from cruelty: through criminal prosecution under the Penal Code or through civil remedy under the Health & Safety Code.

  • Mr Gray appealed against the police seizure of 115 horses from his horse trading premises, pursuant to section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Gray had been convicted of numerous counts of cruelty, specifically under sections 4 and 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Mr Gray argued that an offence under sections 4 and 9 required either actual knowledge or a form of constructive knowledge that the animal was showing signs of unnecessary suffering, and that negligence was not sufficient. It was held that the plain effect of section 4(1) of the Act is to impose criminal liability for unnecessary suffering caused to an animal either by an act or omission which the person responsible knew would, or was likely to, cause unnecessary suffering, or by a negligent act or omission. Further, it was held that section 9(1) of the Act sets a purely objective standard of care which a person responsible for an animal is required to provide.
  • A German Shepherd dog owned by the appellees escaped through an open garage door of the appellees' home. Animal control impounded the dog for violations of city ordinances. When the appellees did not redeem the dog, instead of being euthanized, animal control turned the dog over to a rescue society for adoption. The dog was then sterilized and micro chipped. After learning what happened, appellees made a request to transfer the dog to them. When they were refused, the appellees filed suit. The trial court ruled in favor of the appellees on their conversion cause of action and their requests for declaratory and injunctive relief, which ordered appellant to turn the dog over to the appellees. On appeal, the court held that since the appellees did not redeem the dog in compliance with city ordinances, they did not have an entitlement to the dog, which was required to establish a conversion claim. Further, since the rescue organization was a recognized city rescue partner, animal control could lawfully transfer the dog to the rescue organization. The court also held the ordinance setting forth an additional 30-day redemption period did not apply to owners. The appeals court therefore reversed the judgment of the trial court, rendered judgment that appellees take nothing, and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, including an appropriate order restoring possession of the dog to appellant.
  • Coalition sued for a review of a United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) final rule to remove grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) threatened species list. The Court of Appeals held that there was no rational connection between data that showed a relationship between pine seed shortages, increased bear mortality, and decreased female reproductive success and FWS’ conclusion that whitebark pine declines were not likely to threaten grizzly bears. FWS could reasonably conclude that National Forest Plans and National Park Compendia (Plans) provided adequate regulatory mechanisms to protect grizzlies as recovered species. The portion of the District Court's ruling vacating the Final Rule was affirmed.

  • Carl Green III, owned a dog, which was seized by the Mercer County Dog Warden in Ohio because it was running at large and was not wearing a current registration tag. The Animal Protection League of Mercer County (“APL”), purchased the dog from the Mercer County Dog Warden and placed the dog up for adoption. Appellant, Lori Winner adopted the dog. Green then filed a complaint in the Municipal Court, Celina County, asserting claims for replevin and conversion. The municipal court granted replevin and ordered Winner to return the dog to Green. Winner appealed this decision in the instant action arguing that (1) Green's ownership interest was terminated by operation of law; and (2) the trial court erred by failing to find that the Mercer County Dog Warden Was an Indispensable Party to the Litigation. The Court of Appeals agreed with Winner on the first assignment of error, finding that, because replevin is a statutory remedy in Ohio, the trial court's conclusion that the dog should be returned to Green is against the manifest weight of the evidence. The trial court exercised its equitable powers to award possession to Green, and that it was "in the best interest of the dog" to return it to Green. The Court of Appeals found that the statute does not provide for this type of remedy. As to the second error, this Court overruled Winner's claim, finding that there was no claim raised that the Mercer County Dog Warden wrongfully sold the dog to the APL. Thus, the dog warden had no interest in the action and the trial court did not err by failing to join the warden as a party. The judgment was reversed and remanded.
  • Plaintiffs were tenants of a county housing authority and alleged that the housing authority violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, by failing to reasonably accommodate their request for a waiver of a "no pets" policy to allow for a hearing assistance animal in the rental unit to reasonably accommodate a hearing disability. The housing authority argued that the dog was not a reasonable accommodation for the tenant's specific disability because the dog was not certified as a hearing assistance animal. The court granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, holding that the housing authority violated the federal statutes when it required proof from the tenants that the dog had received hearing assistance training.  

  • In this Oregon case, defendant appeals a judgment of $700 in damages obtained against him after he shot plaintiff’s dog. The dog had gone onto to defendant’s property and was chasing his chickens. On appeal, the Supreme Court found that because it was a general verdict, there was no way to determine a basis for the jury’s verdict; specifically, whether erroneous instructions on exemplary damages and the proper measure of damages influenced the verdict. Because the Court had the whole record before it (and in the interest of “harmony between neighbors”), the Court fixed the damages at the true market value of the dog ($250).

  • While completely disoriented at a hospital, the plaintiff was asked by deputies to sign a form releasing his two yellow labs to animal control in the event of the plaintiff's demise. The plaintiff was allegedly informed that if he did not die, he could retrieve his dogs in 7 to 10 days; he therefore signed the form without reading the terms. Later, the nurse informed him that his dogs had been euthanized and plaintiff filed suit. The trial court granted all of the defendants' motions for summary judgment, so the plaintiff appealed. The appellate court found an issue of material fact existed towards all defendants and therefore concluded that the trial court erred in granting all motions for summary judgment.

  • While completely disoriented at a hospital, the plaintiff was asked by deputies to sign a form releasing his two yellow labs to animal control in the event of the plaintiff's demise. The plaintiff was allegedly informed that if he did not die, he could retrieve his dogs in 7 to 10 days; he therefore signed the form without reading the terms. Later, the nurse informed him that his dogs had been euthanized and plaintiff filed suit. The trial court granted all of the defendants' motions for summary judgment, so the plaintiff appealed. The appellate court found an issue of material fact existed towards all defendants and therefore concluded that the trial court erred in granting all motions for summary judgment. This opinion was vacated and superseded by Greenway v. Northside Hosp., Inc., 730 S.E.2d 742 (Ga. App. 2012) .

  • In this case, the plaintiff’s dog was shot by a police officer who was responding to the plaintiff’s call for police assistance in investigating a bank fraud matter. Upon arrival at the home, the officer entered the low-fenced front yard and two of the plaintiff’s dogs approached. The officer, the only eyewitness to the encounter, then shot and killed one of the plaintiff’s dogs. The plaintiff filed suit against the officer and municipality, and alleged, inter alia, violations of her Fourth Amendment rights, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of state statutes. The court held that enough factual issues were disputed to deny the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, specifically that there was a genuine dispute as to whether the killing of the dog was reasonable.
  • Cattle breeders sued veterinarian who negligently vaccinated two cows leading to slaughter of one and quarantine of the herd was quarantined. The Court of Appeals held that breeders: (1) could not recover lost profits from unborn and future unborn calves; (2) could not recover damages for injury to business reputation; (3) could not recover for default in payment of financial obligations or collection procedures brought against them; (4) were properly allowed to present evidence as to the loss of net profits as result of cancellation of spring production sale and subsequent delay in selling animals; and (5) interest expense was not a variable cost for purposes of action.

  • This suit was filed after Grey and Johansson entered into a disagreement about who was the rightful owner of Johansson’s late wife’s horse, Navy. Grey was Johansson’s lawyer and was left responsible for caring for and handling all sales regarding her horses after her death. Grey filed suit for fraud and defamation against Johansson after he publicly referred to Grey as a “horse stealer.” Ultimately, the court held that Grey did not produce enough to evidence to establish a case for either fraud or defamation against Johanasson. Although Johanasson did call Grey a “horse stealer,” the court found that this comment was protected by judicial privilege.

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