Cases

  • Plaintiff's neighbor, a livestock rancher, shot plaintiff's sheepdogs after they escaped and trespassed on his property.  As a matter of first impression, the court construed the California Food and Agricultural Code provision that allows one to kill a dog that enters an enclosed or unenclosed livestock confinement area with threat of civil or criminal penalty.  The court affirmed defendant's motion with regard to the code provision, finding it gave them a privilege to kill the trespassing dogs.  Further, the court found defendants owed no duty to plaintiff thereby denying the claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress as a result of negligence in supervising the ranchhand who killed the dogs.  With regard to the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, plaintiffs cite the manner in which the dogs were killed and then dumped in a ditch and the fact defendant denied knowing the fate of the dogs.  Relying on the "extreme and outrageous conduct" test, the court held that the defendant's conduct did not fall within the statutory privilege and remanded the issue to the trial court for consideration. 

  • This Arizona based appeal arises out of a veterinary malpractice action filed by plaintiff/appellant David Kaufman against defendants/appellees, William Langhofer, DVM, and Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic over the death of Salty, Kaufman's scarlet macaw. The main issue on appeal is whether a pet owner is entitled to recover emotional distress and loss of companionship damages over the death of his or her pet. Plaintiff argues that the court here should “expand” Arizona common law to allow a pet owner to recover emotional distress damages and damages for loss of companionship in a veterinarian malpractice action. While the court acknowledged the emotional distress Kaufman suffered over Salty's death, it noted that Dr. Langhofer's negligence did not directly harm Kaufman. Thus, the court felt that it would not be appropriate to expand Arizona common law to allow a pet owner to recover emotional distress or loss of companionship damages because that would offer broader compensation for the loss of a pet than for the loss of a human.

  • Plaintiffs sued defendants in their official capacities as law enforcement officers for shooting and killing their five dogs after the dogs escaped from plaintiffs' residence and began roaming the streets.  The intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was dismissed because the court held that conduct could not reasonably be viewed as extreme and outrageous after receiving testimony that the dog were aggressive toward the officers.  However, the court remanded the negligent infliction of emotional distress claim for further consideration.  Plaintiffs asserted that two statutes conferred a duty upon the officers; one an anti-cruelty statute and the other a statute allowing officers to take custody of abandoned animals.

  • Plaintiff, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (KMWP), appealed an order of the Court of Claims concluding that PA 281 does not violate Michigan's Constitution or statutes, and the granting of summary disposition in favor of defendants, the State of Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Natural Resources Commission. The issue began in 2011 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the federal list of endangered species, returning management of wolf populations to Michigan. In 2012, the governor of Michigan signed PA 520 into law, which added the wolf to the definition of "game" animals. Plaintiff KMWP organized a statewide referendum petition drive to reject PA 520 at the November 4, 2014 general election, which would have rendered PA 520 ineffective unless approved by a majority of voters. In 2013, Michigan's Governor signed into law PA 21 and PA 22, which granted the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) authority to manage wolves. In addition, the laws also gave qualified members of the military free game and fish licenses. Another petition drive was initiated by plaintiff and required signatures were collected to place the issue on the November 2014 ballot. However, in December 2013, before this, Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management (CPWM) circulated a petition to initiate the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Management Act also known as PA 281. This new law would reenact PA 520 and 21, giving the NRC authority for designating game animals, offering free military hunting and fishing licenses, and appropriating $1 million to manage invasive species. In May of 2014, the CPWM certified this initiative petition and submitted directly it to the Legislature to enact or reject the law. The Legislature adopted the law, which became known as PA 281. Notably, at the November 2014 election, a majority of voters rejected PA 520 and PA 21. Regardless, PA 281, which included the voter-rejected designation of the wolf as a game species, was signed into law and the NRC designated wolves as a game species effective March 2015. Following this, plaintiff filed the underlying complaint that challenged the constitutionality of PA 281, specifically that it violated the Title–Object Clause of Michigan's Constitution, Const 1963, art 4, § 24, which states that (1) a law must not embrace more than one object, and (2) the object of the law must be expressed in its title. The Court of Claims granted defendants' summary disposition motion, holding the the general purpose of PA 281 is to “manage fish, wildlife, and their habitats” and that all of the law's provisions relate to this purpose, and concluded that the law did not violate the single-object requirement of the Title–Object Clause. The Court of Appeals found that some provisions of PA 281 did not violate the Title-Object Clause including (1) free licenses to military and (2) appropriating $1 million to respond to the threat of invasive fish species. However, the court did find that the free licenses to members of the military has no necessary connection to the scientific management of fish, wildlife, and their habitats violating the single-object rule of the Title-Object Clause. While the court noted that there is a severability option with provisions of laws that violate the Title-Object Clause, the court cannot conclude the Legislature would have passed PA 281 without the provision allowing free hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses for active members of the military. Thus, this provision cannot be severed from PA 281, and, consequently, the court found PA 281 is unconstitutional. The court noted that its decision rests solely under an analysis of the Michigan Constitution and related cases. However, the court noted that plaintiff's assertion that the initiating petition by defendant put "curb appeal" of free military licenses and invasive species control to "surreptitiously" reenact a provision that would ensure wolves would be on the game species list was an "accurate" assessment. The court even said that PA 281 "conjures up images of a Trojan Horse, within which the ability to hunt wolves was cleverly hidden." The order granting summary judgment for defendants was reversed and the matter was remanded.
  • This case focuses on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's preliminary objection that Petitioners' had taxpayer standing to request injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that regulations promulgated by the Department were in conflict with the mandates set forth in the Pennsylvania Dog Law Act. Petitioners asserted that the Department was not authorized to exempt nursing mothers from the statutory ban on metal strand flooring and from the statutory requirement of unfettered access to exercise areas. Department argued that Petitioners had not pled sufficient facts to show that those directly and immediately affected by the regulations were beneficially affected. The court found Petitioners were at least as well inclined and situated as any other entities to challenge regulations that might be in conflict with those provisions. The court therefore overruled the Department's preliminary objections to Petitioners' standing.
  • In this case, Kennedy House appealed the lower court’s decision in finding that it had violated Section 9–1108 of the Philadelphia Fair Practice Ordinance when it denied Jan Rubin’s request for a housing accommodation in the form of a waiver of its no-dog policy. Rubin applied for a housing accommodation at Kennedy House because she suffered from multiple physical aliments. In a meeting with Kennedy House, Rubin did state that her dog was not a trained service animal that helped with her physical and mobility issues but rather helped with reminding her to take medication and getting out of bed. The lower court determined that Rubin had satisfied her burden of proving that her dog was necessary in helping with her medical issues. After reviewing the lower court’s decision, the Commonwealth Court held that the lower court had erred in its decisions. Ultimately, the court found that because Ms. Rubin's physician described a disability related to her mobility, and there was no evidence establishing a nexus between her mobility-related needs and the requested assistance animal, Ms. Rubin did not meet her burden necessary for Kennedy House to waive its no-dog policy. As a result, the court reversed the lower court’s decision.

  • Plaintiff filed for a Writ of Certiorari requesting that his case be transfered from circuit court to county court.  He was seeking damages for emotional distress, following alleged veterinary malpractice by the defendant.  The Court held that Florida would not consider pets to be part of an actual family, that damages for emotional distress will not be permitted, and therefore the plaintiff did not have sufficient damages to met the circuit court jurisdictional amount.   Petition denied..

  • The Iowa Supreme Court held that a county ordinance regulating possession of dangerous and vicious animals did not violate the due process, equal protection, or takings clauses of the Constitution (in this instance, appellant was the owner of a lion). The regulation was a legitimate exercise of police power, which was rationally related to the legitimate government interest of protecting public safety.

  • The operator of a dog kennel brought an that alleged the Kansas Animal Dealers Act violated the Constitution. The District Court held that the Kansas Animal Dealers Act did not violate commerce clause and was, in fact, a valid exercise of the state's traditional police power.

  • Donald Ray Kervin was found guilty of felony animal cruelty stemming from a 2012 incident at his residence. Animal control officers arrived to find defendant's dog "Chubbie" in a small, hot laundry room a the back of his house that emitted a "rotten-flesh odor." Chubbie was visibly wet, lying in his own feces and urine, with several open wounds infested with maggots. After questioning Kervin about the dog's injuries, defendant finally admitted to hitting Chubbie with a shovel for discipline. The dog was ultimately euthanized due to the severity of his condition. In this instant appeal, Kervin contends that the lower court erred in using the 2014 revised jury instruction to instruct the jury on the charged offense rather than the 2012 version of the instruction. Kevin argued that the 2014 version expanded the 2012 version to include the “failure to act” in felony animal cruelty cases. Also, Kervin argued that the 2012 version should have been used because it was in place at the time the offense occurred. Ultimately, the court found that the lower court did not err by using the 2014 jury instruction. The court held that the 2014 jury instructions merely “clarified” the 2012 jury instruction and that the “failure to act” was already present in the 2012 jury instruction. As a result, the court upheld Kervin’s guilty verdict.
  • In an action for conversion of household goods kept for use and not for sale, it is not necessary to prove that such goods have no market value as a condition precedent to the right to introduce proof of actual value. If they have no market value, the measure of damages for their conversion is their value to the owner based on the actual money lost.

  • After neighbors shot a cat, the owners sued to recover costs of its medical care and punitive damages. The owner of an injured pet may recover the lesser of the diminution of the market value of the animal, or the reasonable cost of repair.  The Court of Appeal held that the owner could recover damages for costs incurred in treating the cat even if the costs exceeded the market value of the cat. The owner could also recover punitive damages upon a showing that the shooting was willful.

  • Plaintiff was kicked by a horse ridden by her friend while trail riding.  Plaintiff sued the Defendant who owned the horse and trail Plaintiff was riding on.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendant and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision holding Plaintiff assumed the risk.

  • Plaintiff was an employee of a dairy farm owned by defendants. In 2007, he was injured by a bull owned and controlled by defendants while working on the defendants' farm . The Appellate Court disagreed with the lower court, finding that the employee's allegations were sufficient to support a claim against the farm owners under the Animal Control Act. The court found it was a question of fact whether it was plaintiff's job to care for the bull, and whether that animal was in the care and/or custody of plaintiff at the time of the injury.

  • Horseback rider was bitten during a trail ride and brought suit in personal injury.  After removal to Federal Court, the Court held that Hawaii's recreational activity liability statute was applicable and that summary judgment was not appropriate.  Motion for summary judgment denied.

  • Plaintiff sued for damages after a cow was sent to slaughter after a veterinarian had determined that she was incapable of breeding. The court recognized “peculiar value” of the cow where there was evidence that she was slaughtered before she had completed a course of treatment meant to restore her to brood status, that she could have produced for another five or six years, that the three bull calves she had produced were outstanding, that defendant took a half interest in them as the breeding fee and exhibited them at shows, that the cow's blood line produced calves particularly valuable for inbreeding, that plaintiff needed this type of stock to build up her herd, and that defendant had knowledge of these facts. The value of the bull to which the cow had been bred was also material to the cow’s actual value.

  • A dairy farmer sued electric utility for trespass and damages after 14 cows were electrocuted by downed power lines. The Superior Court held that the dairy farmer was not entitled to loss-of-use damages because he chose to replace the electrocuted cows by raising others from his herd rather than by immediately buying mature milk-producing cows.

  • In this North Carolina case, defendant dog owners appealed from a decision of the County Board of Health that ruled their dog could not be returned home because of the dog's potential exposure to rabies as result of attacking a raccoon (the dog was scheduled for euthanization). After the Board denied the owners' appeal, they filed a complaint against county which contained motions for preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent dog's quarantine and for class certification. The Court of Appeals held that the owners' appeal of Board's decision to quarantine dog was moot because dog had already been returned home. The action against the animal control officers was dismissed because the officers were shielded by governmental immunity.

  • The state of New Mexico challenged the constitutionality of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act after they were ordered by the U.S. government to recover several wild horses they had rounded up from public lands within their state and sold at auction in violation of the WFRHBA.  The Supreme Court upheld the Act, finding it to be a valid exercise of federal power under the Article IV Property Clause of, which gave Congress the power to protect wildlife on state lands, state law notwithstanding. 

  • In this Illinois case, the Appellate Court considered, as a matter of first impression, under what circumstances does a landlord owe a duty of care to his tenant's invitees to prevent injury from an attack by an animal kept by the tenant on the leased premises?  A minor invitee (Alexus) of the tenants was bitten by tenants' dog and brought a negligence action against residential landlords.  It was undisputed that the tenants held exclusive control over the premises and paid $700 a month in rent to the landlords.  The Appellate Court held that even if landlords knew tenants' dog was dangerous, the landlords had no duty to protect the tenants' invitee because landlords retained no control over the leased premises where injury occurred.  "Here, the tenants' affirmative conduct of bringing the dog into the living space of the home, an area over which the landlords had no control, is what might have been the proximate cause of Alexus' injuries."

  • Plaintiffs brought suit against a ranch after their car struck two of the ranch's horses on the highway.  The trial court dismissed holding no duty of care was breached by the ranch because Iowa no longer had a statute prohibiting animals from roaming.  The Supreme Court of Iowa reversed reasoning that a duty of ordinary care still exists.

  • The United States Secretary of Agriculture (“Secretary”) fined Petitioner $395,900 after finding that he bought and sold regulated animals without a license, in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) and implementing regulations. In his petition for review, Petitioner argued that his activities were lawful, and that the Secretary abused its discretion in its choice of sanction. The petition was granted and denied in part.
  • Appellant operated a USDA-licensed exotic animal business in Texas. In February 2010, a United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service agent visited the business on a routine inspection and cited Appellant for several USDA regulation violations. After several subsequent inspections, several other violations were discovered and Appellant was presented with a Notice of Intent to Confiscate Animals. The next day, the animals were confiscated. Using Bivens, Appellant argued the agents violated her Fifth Amendment Due Process rights by (1) seizing her property without providing a method for challenging the seizure and (2) not allowing sufficient time to cure the cited violations prior to seizing her property. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. On appeal, the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision because the Appellant failed to assert factual allegations showing how each defendant, by his or her own individual acts, violated her constitutional rights.
  • Dog owners brought negligence action against veterinarian and animal hospital after their dog suffered injuries while under the veterinarian's and the hospital's care. The Appeals Court held that the trial court did not err by allowing the jury to consider plaintiff-owners' mental pain and suffering, and that the jury could reasonably have viewed defendants' neglectful conduct resulting in the dog's injury to have amounted to great indifference to plaintiffs' property.

  • In this Massachusetts case, the plaintiff, a concessionaire at the Brockton Fair intended to award goldfish as a prize in a game of chance. The defendant, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), asserted that such conduct would violate G.L. c. 272, s 80F. In the action for declaratory relief, the court considered whether the term "animal" in the statute includes goldfish. The court concluded in the affirmative that, "in interpreting this humane statute designed to protect animals subject to possible neglect by prizewinners," former G.L. c. 272, s 80F applies to goldfish.

  • Plaintiff pled damages that included plaintiff's pain and suffering, extreme fright, shock, mortification, and the loss of the companionship of his dog after negligent treatment by defendant animal hospital killed his dog.  The court noted that there is no Michigan precedent that permits the recovery of damages for emotional injuries allegedly suffered as a consequence of property damage.  Although this Court is sympathetic to plaintiff's position, it chose to defer to the Legislature to create such a remedy.

  • Applicants sought a zoning variance to operate a nonprofit dog-rescue shelter. The zoning board denied the application, concluding that the dog-rescue operation run by applicants was a non-permissible “kennel” under the township's zoning ordinance. Applicants appealed to a trial court. The trial court determined that because applicants did not receive “economic gain” or a profit for their efforts, their dog-rescue operation was not a “kennel” and, therefore, was not a prohibited land use under the zoning ordinance. The trial court therefore reversed the zoning board's order. Intervenors, the applicants’ neighbors, appealed from the trial court's decision. Upon review, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania concluded that the term “kennel,” as used in the zoning ordinance, was ambiguous, and had to be construed in favor of applicants to find that applicants' operation of a large dog rescue facility on their property did not constitute the operation of a kennel. The appeals court therefore affirmed the trial court's decision.

  • Environmental groups challenged the NMFS's use of data in its classification of the Hawaii longline fishery as a "category III" fishery.  Held:  the NMFS has discretion to consider reliability of only available scientific data in classifying fishery.

  • Defendants, the Macaks, owned two dogs being boarded at Chieftan Kennels. Plaintiff was outside on her deck when the dogs entered her property and attacked her cats, one of which died later from its injuries. The plaintiff rushed to defend the cats and suffered multiple bites from the dogs.  The trial court held that the plaintiff had “provoked” the dogs. The Court of Appeals reversed.  “The dogs were already provoked and, in fact, were in a state of attack, for whatever reason when plaintiff responded to their behaviors while on her own property.” 

  • The Secretary of Commerce issued a regulation authorizing appellant salmon federation to take a fixed number of porpoise in connection to commercial fishing for salmon.  Appellee commercial fishermen opposed the permit.  The federation sought review of a judgment which preliminarily enjoined the Secretary from issuing the permit.

  • Petitioner sought to have the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, set aside a Default Decision and Order of a United States Department of Agriculture Judicial Officer concluding that Petitioner had willfully violated multiple provisions of the AWA, including knowingly operating as a dealer without a license by delivering for transportation, or transporting, two lions for exhibition without a valid license to do so, causing injury to two lions that resulted in the death of one of the lions, and lying to investigators about Petitioner’s actions.   The Court affirmed the Judicial Officer’s Decision and Order, finding, among other things, that the USDA did not err in concluding that Petitioner failed to admit or deny any material allegations in the complaint and was thus deemed to have admitted all allegations, the Judicial Officer did not abuse his discretion by revoking Petitioner’s AWA license on a finding of willfulness, and that that the Judicial Officer’s Decision and Order did not violate fundamental principles of fairness as embodied in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Administrative Procedures Act, the Animal Welfare Act, and the USDA’s rules.

  • The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) (7 U.S.C. §§ 2131–2159) regulates the housing, sale, transport, treatment, and exhibition of animals. Defendants, United States Secretary of Agriculture, licensed Plaintiff, Lancelot Kollman, as an exhibitor under the AWA. However, after the death of two lions and Kollman’s failure to contest charges, the Secretary revoked Kollman's license. Still, Hawthorn, a company that holds an exhibitor license, hired Kollman to train a “tiger act” for performance at circuses throughout the United States. Hawthorn then asked Kollman to travel with the tigers and perform the act. However, the USDA received complaints about Kollman's participation in the act, despite having his license revoked. The USDA investigated and determined that Kollman was prohibited from exhibiting animals as an employee of Hawthorn. Kollman, sued Thomas J. Vilsack, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, and Chester A. Gipson, a deputy administrator of animal care.  Kollman sued for a declaration that, at a circus maintained by his employer, Hawthorn Corporation, he could publicly perform the tiger act. The Defendants moved for summary judgment.  The United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, held that the Defendants' motion for summary judgment was Granted. The court reasoned that Kollman was barred from presenting animals on behalf of Hawthorn because regardless of his status as a Hawthorn employee, Section 2.10(c) of the Animal Welfare Act clearly prohibited Kollman, as an individual with a revoked license, from exhibiting an animal. Secondly, Section 2.10(c) was unambiguous.

  • In Kondaurov v. Kerdasha , the Virginia Supreme Court held that the plaintiff-motorist could not recover damages for emotional or mental anguish she suffered either because of her concern for injuries sustained by her dog, who was riding in motorist's car at time of accident. Here, the plaintiff was clearly entitled to be compensated in damages for any emotional distress she suffered as a consequence of the physical impact she sustained in the accident. However, the court noted that Virginia still views pets as personal property, and plaintiffs cannot recover emotional distress damages resulting from negligently inflicted injury to personal property.

  • In 1999, President Clinton ordered the Forest Service ("FS") to initiate a nationwide plan to protect inventoried and uninventoried roadless areas in national forests, which eventually became termed the "Roadless Rule" (after extensive study was conducted in the 1970's).  The Kootenai Tribe, several livestock and recreational groups, and other plaintiffs filed suit contending that the Roadless Rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), claiming the rule would prevent access to national forests for proper purposes (e.g., fighting wildfires and threats from insects or disease).  On appeal of the grant of preliminary injunction, the Court held the Forest Service complied with the APA and NEPA in implementing the roadless rule, the court noted the extensive public notification process as well as the impact statements, which considered a full range of reasonable alternatives.  The court held that the district court erred in finding a strong likelihood that the Forest Service violated NEPA, as there was only minimal showing of irreparable harm ("restrictions on human intervention are not usually irreparable in the sense required for injunctive relief"). 

  • This case involved a petition by LaVeda Kovar, et al against the City of Cleveland to obtain an order to restrain the City from disposing of dogs impounded by the City Dog Warden by giving or selling them to hospitals or laboratories for experimental and research purposes.  The Court of Appeals held that the City of Cleveland, both by its constitutional right of home rule and by powers conferred on municipal corporations by statute, had the police power right to provide that no dog should be permitted to run at large unless muzzled, and any dog found at large and unmuzzled would be impounded.  Further, by carrying out the mandate of the city ordinance by disposing of these impounded dogs was simply the performance of a ministerial or administrative duty properly delegated to Director of Public Safety.

  • In this case, Corrine Kovnat filed suit against Xanterra Parks and Resorts (Xanterra) alleging that it was negligent in connection with the injuries she sustained while horseback riding in Yellowstone National Park. Kovnat argued that Xanterra was negligent because the cinch on the saddle was too loose and her stirrups were uneven. The district court reviewed the issue and granted summary judgment in favor of defendant, Xanterra. The court held that under Wyoming’s Recreational Safety Act, Xanterra owed no duty of care to protect Kovnat from the injuries she sustained. Kovnat appealed the district court’s ruling and the court of appeals affirmed in part and denied in part the district court’s ruling. Ultimately, the court of appeals found that summary judgment was only proper for Kovnat’s claim regarding the loose cinch but was not proper for the issue of the uneven stirrups. The court of appeals came to this conclusion after examining the Recreational Safety Act and finding that Xanterra cannot be held liable for any risks that are “inherent to the sport of horseback riding.” The court determined that the loose cinch was a reasonable risk that was inherent to the sport of horseback riding while the uneven stirrups were not. For this reason, the court of appeals remanded the case for further proceedings with regard to the issue of the uneven stirrups.

  • In Krasnecky v Meffen , the plaintiffs sought damages for emotional distress, loss of companionship, and society when defendant’s dogs broke into plaintiff’s backyard and killed their seven sheep. The plaintiffs loved their sheep like a parent would love a child, and went so far as to throw birthday parties for them. Plaintiff’s counsel, Steven Wise, Esq., also instructed the court to consult a text on veterinary ethics, which defined companion animals to include the plaintiff’s sheep within the definition. The court did not address the issue concerning the emotional distress claim, but instead stated that the class of persons authorized to recover were “persons” closely related to the injured person. Furthermore, Justice Jacobs noted that it would be irrational for plaintiffs to have greater rights in the case of a companion animal than in a case of the tortious death of an immediate family member.

  • The plaintiff, on behalf of her then seven-year-old son, brought an action against the defendant Elliot for injuries the child sustained resulting from a bite by defendant's golden retriever. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for a directed verdict reasoning that because this was the dog's first bite of a human, there was there was no cause of action under Georgia's “first bite” rule. The appellate court found that the excluded evidence did not indicate the owner had any reason to suspect that the dog had a propensity to bite and thus, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting defendant's motion or directing a verdict. 

  • In this case, a condominium owner, who suffered from an anxiety disorder and had been prescribed use of emotional support animal, brought action against condominium association, its board, and certain association members, alleging, inter alia, imposition of a fine for owner's violation of association's “no dogs” policy violated Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiff sent information about her emotional support dog and a letter from a licensed psychologist indicating that plaintiff was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder to defendant Association's office manager. Plaintiff alleged that the President of the Association shared the content of her documents with some of the Association members, and approximately one year later plaintiff received an e-mail stating plaintiff had violated the "no dogs" policy contained in the Associations Rules and Regulations. The defendants moved for summary judgment, On each of the counts, the could held that: 1) owner's initial request to have emotional support dog was not specific; 2) association's alleged delay in processing condominium owner's request to have emotional support dog did not constitute refusal to grant reasonable accommodation; 3) association's notice of fine did not subject owner to adverse action; 4) there was no causal link between association's implementation of “no dogs” policy and owner's request to have emotional support dog; 5) there was no causal link between alleged disclosure of owner's confidential information and owner's request to have emotional support dog; 6) neighbor's blog posts regarding owner did not rise to level of interference with owner's FHA rights; and 7) condominium building was not public accommodation under ADA. With regard to the ADA claim, the court noted that a condominium can be a place of public accommodation if it operates as a place of lodging. Here, the bylaws specifically provided that Cowpet Bay West was a place of residence and not one of public accommodation. In addition, a single advertisement for a temporary rental on a webpage by one tenant was insufficient to show that owners were likely to rent to the public. On the issue of the blog posts constituting harassment under Section 3617, the court found that they did not rise to the level of interference with plaintiff's rights under the FHA. Instead, they reflected more of a "dispute between neighbors, not unlawful discrimination." The court found that the Board, the Association, and Talkington are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Counts One, Three, Five, and Six. The Court declined to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over local counts, Seven through Eighteen, as against the Board, the Association, Talkington, Verdiramo, and Cockayne, as no federal counts remain as against any of said defendants; an appropriate Judgment was to follow this memorandum.
  • Appellant commenced an action against defendant boyfriend, the owner of the dog that bit her, and his business, which she held was strictly liable for the injuries she suffered, where the attack occurred. The claims against defendant boyfriend were dismissed with prejudice. A jury verdict, however, found that although the business was a “harborer” of the dog, appellant was barred from recovery because she was a “keeper of the dog in that she had physical care or charge of dog, temporary or otherwise, at the time of the incident.” Appellant appealed, raising seven assignments of error for review. In addressing appellant’s claims, the Ohio Court of Appeals held that the status of an individual as an owner, keeper or harborer was relevant when deciding if an individual was barred from availing him or herself of the protections afforded by liability statutes. The court of appeals also ruled that the trial court properly gave the jury instruction and that the jury’s verdict was not “defective.” Further the court held that the testimony established at trial demonstrated that appellant had a significant relationship with the dog and that there was competent and credible evidence presented at trial to support the business’s position that appellant exercised some degree of management, possession, care custody or control over the dog. The judgment of the lower court was therefore affirmed with Judge Kathleen Ann Keough concurring and Judge Melody Stewart concurring in judgment only.
  • Activist sued a state-created agricultural association under 42 USC § 1983 to challenge a rule that limited demonstrations to “free expression zones” outside a state-owned performance facility. The Court of Appeals held that the association was not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. It held that the parking lots and walkways were public fora, and thus time, place and manner restrictions on speech had to be content-neutral and narrowly tailored to serve an important government interest. The Court held that the state did not have a significant interest in restricting protestors to these zones. The rule was not narrowly tailored enough to promote the association's interest in preventing traffic congestion, and restricted more speech than was necessary. Therefore, the rule unduly infringed free speech on its face.

  • The issue before the Iowa Supreme Court was whether hog confinement buildings could be considered “agricultural” so as to fall within the state's agricultural zoning exemption. The court held that h og confinement buildings were within the agricultural building exemption and thus exempt from county zoning regulations.
  • Five Plaintiffs Tracey K. Kuehl, Lisa K. Kuehl, Kris A. Bell, Nancy A. Harvey, John T. Braumann, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a complaint against Defendants Pamela Sellner, Tom Sellner, and Cricket Hollow Zoo, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The Plaintiffs claimed that the Defendants violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), by holding captive endangered species specifically the lemurs and tigers housed at Cricket Hollow Zoo. The United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division ordered the Defendants, to transfer the lemurs and tigers in their possession “to an appropriate facility which is licensed by the USDA and is capable of meeting the needs of the endangered species.” The Defendants proposed transporting the lemurs to Special Memories Zoo in Hortonville, Wisconsin, and transporting the tigers to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Centerpoint, Indiana. The Plaintiffs claimed that the proposed placements did not comply with the Court's Order and proposed that the lemurs be placed with the Prosimian Sanctuary in Jacksonville, Florida, and the tigers be transported to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado. The Court held that the Special Memories Zoo was capable of meeting the lemurs' needs and should be transported there as the Defendant’s proposed. The court reasoned that even if the Court found Special Memories incapable of meeting the lemurs' needs, the Prosimian Sanctuary as proposed by the Plaintiff's was not licensed by the USDA. The Court also held that the endangered tigers should be transferred to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center as the Defendant’s proposed. The court reasoned that the center was capable of meeting of the needs of the tigers. Therefore the Court approved the Defendants' proposed placement of the lemurs and tigers.
  • Plaintiffs, including advocacy organization Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), brought suit against defendants the Sellners and the Cricket Hollow Zoo to enjoin defendants' mistreatment of their animals in violation of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq. Defendants ran a zoo with over 300 animals, including lemurs, tigers, cougars, monkeys and birds, among others. Several of the plaintiffs visited defendants' zoo and witnessed care that raised concerns about the animals' mental and physical well-being, including lemurs kept in isolation with insufficient climbing structures, and tigers kept in feces-filled cages with inadequate care/enrichment. The district court denied plaintiffs' requests for attorney fees and costs and also transferred the animals to a facility that was not proposed by plaintiffs. On appeal, defendants argued that plaintiffs lack standing, and, even if they had standing, defendants contend that they did not violate the ESA. Plaintiffs also appealed, challenging the district court's placement decision for the animals, as well as the court's denial of their request for attorney fees. The Court of Appeals disagreed with defendants that plaintiffs lacked standing because "[they] visited the Cricket Hollow Zoo for the purpose of looking for claimed violations." The court noted that "it is the violation itself" and not the search for it that has caused injury to the plaintiffs. As to defendants' argument that they could not have violated the ESA because the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) provides a "safe harbor" for licensed facilities, the court found that the AWA does not provide a blanket immunity to the ESA. Here, the defendants harassed the lemurs under the ESA by keeping them socially isolated with insufficient enrichment. The defendants also harassed the tigers under the ESA by failing to provide appropriate veterinary care and keeping them in unsanitary conditions. With regard to the placement of the animals at a facility chosen by defendants, this court found no clear error by the district court and, thus, there was no abuse of discretion in the placement decision. Finally, as to denial of plaintiffs' request for attorney fees and costs, the court found that plaintiffs were seeking fees to serve "as a vehicle to close Cricket Hollow." The court was concerned that the use of the ESA as a "weapon" to close small, privately-owned zoos was not envisioned by the Act. Hence, those circumstances justified the district court's decision to deny the motion for attorney fees. The lower court's decision was affirmed.
  • Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant for violation of the Animal Control Act and alleged negligence due to the broken leg that the Plaintiff suffered after she was kicked by Defendant’s horse while trying to pass the horse on a group ride.   At the time of the accident, the defendant was neither an “equine activity sponsor” nor an “equine professional” according to the Act.   The issue was whether the Act applied only to those two groups of people, and the court held that the Act does not preclude negligence liability for persons other than equine activity sponsors and equine professionals.

  • A California appellate court held that the plaintiffs’ nuisance claim, which was based on the defendants’ alleged failure to cease activity that resulted in the attraction of feral and domestic cats to the plaintiffs’ backyard, survived summary judgment.  The plaintiffs were members of a family residing in a home located next to an apartment complex.  Upon moving into the home, the family noticed that many domestic and feral cats were defecating and urinating in the plaintiffs’ yard.  The plaintiffs claimed that the cats were attracted due to the failure of the neighboring apartment complex to ensure that its tenants placed lids on the trash receptacles.  The appellate court partially reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, holding that the defendants could, in fact, be liable under a nuisance theory for damages arising from actions that caused “the presence of [a] large number of cats on Plaintiffs’ property.”

  • Action was brought to determine Indian tribe members' rights related to off-reservation hunting of white-tailed deer, fisher and other furbearing animals, and small game within the area of the state ceded to the United States by the plaintiff tribes.  The Court held that Indians and non-Indians were each entitled to one half of game harvest within each harvesting area rather than as a whole territory to accommodate the longer Indian hunting season.  With regard to hunting on private land in the ceded area, the Court held that plaintiffs' members have no more rights than non-Indian hunters to hunt or to trap on private lands, as tribal members who are hunting or trapping on private lands are still subject to state hunting and trapping regulations.  The Court also held that the state could properly prohibit Indians from hunting deer during the summer and at night due to the safety risk to humans.

  • In this Indiana case, a dog owner whose dog was attacked and killed by a neighbor's dog, brought an action against the neighbor to recover veterinary bills and emotional distress damages. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment in favor of defendant-neighbor, finding that however negligent the neighbor's behavior might have been in controlling his dog, his actions did not constitute outrageous behavior so as to give rise to claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court also refused to extend the bystander rule under plaintiff's negligent infliction of emotional distress claim to include the dog owner's witnessing the death of his dog.

  • The owner of a horse tried to enter his horse into the 64th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. Upon closer inspection of the horse, experts determined the horse was "sore," meaning the horse had an injury to or sensitization of its legs that induced a high stepping gait for which Tennessee Walkers are known. While the horse's owner contended that the soreness occurred as a result of  the West Nile Virus, he was eventually convicted with a violation of the Horse Protection Act, (15 U.S.C. §§ 1821-1831). This Court affirmed Lacy's conviction, finding that that substantial evidence supported the JO's conclusion that Lacy failed to rebut the statutory presumption of soreness.

  • Plaintiff motorist sued horse owner for negligence after he collided with the horse that was loose on the highway. The Court of Appeals sustained summary judgment for owner because the motorist produced no evidence that owner 1) had failed to act with reasonable care in enclosing his horses, 2) that horse had a propensity to escape or cause injury that gave rise to a heightened duty on owner's part, and 3) motorist produced no circumstantial evidence that would imply negligence, such as a dilapidated fence. This judgment was Reversed by Ladnier v. Hester, 98 So.3d 1025 (Miss., 2012).

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