Cases

  • 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. 

  • 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.
  • Defendant was indicted under Ga. Penal Code § 703, which prohibited one from instigating, engaging in, or doing anything furtherance of the an act or cruelty to a domestic animal. Ga. Penal Code § 705 defined cruelty as every willful act, omission or neglect, whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, or death is caused or permitted. The court affirmed the conviction, finding that the law provided that a domestic animal, such as a horse, should be sheltered and cared for by his owner. The jury was authorized to find that the defendant willfully abandoned the horse by turning the horse out to the elements, and failing to feed, shelter, or care for the animal. Such conduct was "willful." The court affirmed the judgment of the superior court on the jury's conviction of defendant for cruelty to animals.

  • The Defendant was charged under the Arkansas cruelty to animal statute for the killing of a hog that had tresspass into his field.  The Defendant was found guilty and appealed.  The Supreme Court found that the lower court commited error by instructing the jury that all killing is needless.  The Court reveresed the judgment and remanded it for further consideration.

  • In this Missouri case, the defendant-farmer appeals an award of $12,250 to plaintiff-motorist, whose vehicle was struck by another vehicle after a horse coming from defendant's farm collided with the first vehicle. Defendant asserts that the Stock Law (Section 270.010) was inappropriately applied to him where he did not own the livestock (the horse) in question. Since plaintiff relied on the language of the Stock Law, which unambiguously refers only to "owners," in submitting her verdict directing instruction that allowed her to recover damages without proof of Defendant's negligence, the case must be reversed and remanded. This cause was Ordered Transferred to Mo.S.Ct. November 16, 2010.

  • An eleven-year-old boy was at a YMCA camp when a pig—which had never injured anyone or exhibited any dangerous propensities—stuck its head between the bars of its pen and grabbed the boy's hand, causing injuries. The boy and his mother sued the camp, and the camp filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the camp. On appeal, the boy and his mother asked the court to change the standard for liability of owners of domestic animals to that of strict liability when the animal was not a cat or dog. Since the Indiana Supreme Court precedent was clear that this general rule applied to all domestic animals—and not just cats and dogs—the court declined their invitation to alter the standard. The trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the camp was therefore affirmed.
  • Plaintiffs sued the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and its related entities on the grounds that they failed to comply with environmental and regulatory procedures in the administration and implementation of a federal export program that allows certain animal pelts and parts to be exported from the United States pursuant to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (“CITES”). Defendant-Intervenors intervened, and now seek to dismiss this action pursuant to Rules 12(b)(7) and 19 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on the grounds that the Plaintiffs have not joined and cannot join as indispensable parties certain states and Native American tribes. The court held that because the states and tribes are not “required” under Rule 19(a), dismissal is not appropriate. Accordingly, the court ordered that that Defendant-Intervenors' motion be DENIED.
  • Appellants sought review of a denial of a special-use permit to build a large campground adjacent to a bald eagle nesting site.  They contended that the denial by the county board was arbitrary and capricious.  The court held that the denial was reasonable where the county proffered two legally valid reasons for denying the permit:  the danger to the sensitive nesting eagle population and the detrimental effect the increased human activity would have on the unspoiled nature of the property.

  • In this case, plaintiff filed suit challenging the California Penal Code, specifically sections 653o and 653r. Plaintiff manufactured boots from the hides of animals, including the hides of the African elephant, the Indonesian python, and the Wallaby kangaroo. Section 653o and 653r of the California Penal Code prevented plaintiff from selling his boots in California because the provisions forbid the sale of products made from dead bodies, or any part of the elephant, python, or kangaroo. Plaintiff challenged these provisions arguing that the provisions were preempted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, thus making the provisions unconstitutional. The plaintiff also argued that the provisions were unconstitutional because of the burden placed on interstate commerce which violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Ultimately, the court held that the provisions of the California Penal Code were not unconstitutional and dismissed plaintiff’s claim. The court looked to whether or not the provisions were expressly or impliedly preempted and determined that because the provisions were not expressly preempted the court needed to do an analysis of implied preemption. Looking to legislative history, the court found that Congress did not intend to preempt the provisions of the California Penal Code with the enactment of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Lastly, the court held that the California statue was not a burden on interstate commerce because Congress was aware of the existence of the California provisions and decided that the Endangered Species Act would not affect the California provisions. As a result, the court dismissed plaintiff’s claim and held for the defendant.
  • The U.S. Claims Court upheld its jurisdiction over an action brought by individuals who had their Private Maintenance and Care Agreements (PMCA) revoked by the Bureau of Land Management and their adopted wild horses repossessed when the agency learned that the individuals intended to sell the horses to slaughter once they obtained full legal title to them under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.  The court found that the PMCA agreement constituted a contract between the government and the adopter, and thus that the Claims Court had jurisdiction to hear the case. Though the court noted that individual adopters would have to overcome the suggestion that they violated the terms of the PMCA by intending to sell the horses to slaughter.   

  • Prior to October 2010, the North Piceance Herd Area served as a home to approximately 60 wild horses. The horses, however, were removed by the BLM, giving rise to this litigation. Plaintiffs assert that the BLM’s decision to remove the wild horses violates the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, NEPA, the Information Quality Act, and the FLPMA. The District Court concluded that, while Plaintiffs did establish irreparable harm, they were not likely to succeed on the merits.

  • Two Irish setters knocked down a neighbor while playing outside.   Previously no one had seen them run into anyone while playing.   They were not shown to have been more boisterous than dogs usually are.   There was no evidence that these dogs were vicious. The court found that there was no foreseeable risk of harm and therefore no duty upon which to base a claim of negligence.

  • This is an owner's appeal of the city order which ordered her dog be euthanized or banished from city limits because the dog bit a person without provocation. The order had been affirmed by the superior court and is now in front of the state Supreme Court. Haggblom argues that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it does not provide meaningful process, and is too vague because it does not explicitly offer the alternative of banishment from city limits. This court found that due process was satisfied and that the ordinance is constitutionally clear, and thus affirms the order.
  • A dog was impounded and adopted after being picked up by animal control officers.  The owners of the dog brought suit over the adoption of their dog.  The trial court dismissed the suit and the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding the dog's owners failed to state a claim.

  • Louisiana appeals court affirmed trial court's finding that plaintiff failed to adequately link her stomach ailment with a burger purchased from Burger King and thus could not sustain an action that sought recovery of alleged damages suffering due to food poisoning.

  • The custody of an eleven year old German wirehaired pointer was the central issue in this Vermont divorce case. While both parties testified to their strong emotional ties to the dog and to the care that each spouse provided, the Superior Court awarded custody to the husband. The wife appealed the Superior Court’s decision arguing that the court erred in refusing a joint arrangement, that the court’s finding was not supported by the evidence, and that this finding provided an arbitrary basis for award. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Vermont held that the family court division could consider factors not set out in 15 V.S.A. § 751(b); specifically, the welfare of the animal and the emotional connection between the animal and each spouse. The court found that both parties were afforded an opportunity to put on evidence regarding both factors without restriction in the Superior Court. The Supreme Court of Vermont also held that the Superior Court was correct in its statement that the family division could not enforce a visitation or shared custody order for companion animals. Unlike child custody matters, the court said, there is no legislative authority for the court to play a continuing role in the supervision of the parties with respect to the care and sharing of a companion animal. The Superior Court’s decision of awarding custody to the husband was therefore affirmed.
  • In this Florida case, the 82-year-old defendant was convicted of a third-degree felony animal cruelty violation (section 828.12(2)) and sentenced to three years' imprisonment. Defendant had his dog on leash and approached too close to a cat, whereupon the leashed dog began to attack the cat. In reversing the decision, the appellate court found that defendant's conduct did not rise to a criminal level, as it was "objectively unlikely" that a leashed dog walking with his owner would inflict such damage. Further, while the issue of sentencing was rendered moot by the reversal, the court found the consideration of a petition with approximately 3,000 signatures demanding the maximum sentence, "an affront to the very notion of due process of law . . ."

  • Plaintiff was walking her dog in an area of state where dogs go off-leash. Plaintiff and defendant were back in the parking lot talking when defendant's dog, who was still off-leash, ran into her, causing her to fall and sustain injuries. The appellate court found that plaintiff's evidence was insufficient to meet the burden establishing that the dog had a proclivity to run into people and knock them over. While testimony showed that the dog (Quinn) routinely ran up to people and put his paws on their chest to "greet" them, this was different than a propensity to knock people down. The court found that the behavior of jumping on people "was not the behavior that resulted in plaintiff's injury, and plaintiff failed to produce any evidence that defendant had notice of a proclivity by Quinn to run into people and knock them over. . ." The court also noted that the dog's rambunctious behavior, occurring at a dog park where dogs freely run around, was insufficient to establish vicious propensities. Summary judgment for the defendants was affirmed.

  • Plaintiff Jon Hammer is the owner of a pure-bred Brittany Spaniel which has a natural, undocked tail approximately ten (10) inches long.  He contends that tail docking is a form of animal cruelty, and that the practical effect of defendant American Kennel Club's tail standards for Brittany Spaniels is to effectively exclude his dog from meaningfully competing shows unless he complies with what he perceives as an unfair and discriminatory practice.  Specifically, his amended complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that the complained-of standard (1) unlawfully discriminates against plaintiff by effectively precluding him from entering his dog in breed competitions, (2) is arbitrary and capricious, (3) violates Agriculture and Markets Law § 353, and (4) is null and void as in derogation of law; he further seeks an injunction prohibiting defendants from applying, enforcing or utilizing the standard.  The court held that plaintiff lacked standing to obtain any of the civil remedies he sought for the alleged violation of Agriculture and Markets Law Section 353.  The Legislature's inclusion of a complete scheme for enforcement of its provisions precludes the possibility that it intended enforcement by private individuals as well.  The dissent disagreed with the majority's standing analysis, finding that plaintiff's object is not to privately enforce § 353, insofar as seeking to have the defendants' prosecuted for cruelty.  Rather, plaintiff was seeking a declaration that the AKC's standard for judging the Brittany Spaniel deprives him of a benefit of membership on the basis of his unwillingness to violate a state law and, thus, he wanted to enjoin defendants from enforcing that standard against him.  The dissent found that whether tail docking for purely cosmetic reasons violates § 353 is solely a question of law and entirely appropriate for a declaratory judgment.  Cosmetic docking of tails was wholly unjustifiable under the law in the dissent's eyes.  While plaintiff pointed out that docking may serve some purposes for hunting dogs, it is not a justification for docking the tails of non-hunting dogs, such as plaintiff's, for purposes of AKC competitions.

  • Plaintiff sought both declaratory and injunctive relief against the American Kennel Club (AKC) for use of standards in dog show competitions for Brittany Spaniel dogs that require the docking of their tails.  The issue in this appeal is whether Agriculture and Markets Law § 353 grants plaintiff, who wishes to enter his dog and compete without penalty in breed contests, a private right of action to preclude defendants from using a standard that encourages him to "dock" his Brittany Spaniel's tail.  The Court of Appeals concluded that it would be inconsistent with the applicable legislative scheme to imply a private right of action in plaintiff's favor because the statute does not, either expressly or impliedly, incorporate a method for private citizens to obtain civil relief.  In light of the comprehensive statutory enforcement scheme, recognition of a private civil right of action is incompatible with the mechanisms chosen by the Legislature.

  • The five-year-old child hopped a fence, which was in disrepair, into his neighbor's yard to retrieve a ball. As he was trying to leave, he was severely bitten by a pit bull that the neighbor was keeping for his son. In reversing the judgment in part, the court held that the keeping of a pit bull might be a violation of Tulsa, Okla., Rev. Ordinances tit. 2, ch. 1, § (2)(d) (1973), so the child's negligence per se theory was actionable. The court held that the neighbor was the dog's owner as a matter of law under the dog-bite statute, Okla. Stat. tit. 4. sec. 42.1 (1981).

  • This case held that a state statute permitting the control and ultimate destruction of dangerous animals does not preclude municipal controls that add to the breadth of public powers without regulating conditions expressly prohibited by statute.  In the case, a dog owner sought review of municipal animal control division's order for destruction of his dog.  The Court of Appeals held that the ordinance providing for destruction of dangerous dog did not conflict with statute and thus was not preempted by statute.  The court stated that, after comparing the ordinance with the state statute, it was evident that the local provision is merely additional and complementary to the statute, permitting local action that the state statute does not prohibit.  In fact, state law expressly provides for local regulation, giving municipalities full authority to regulate "potentially dangerous dogs," as long as the regulations are not breed-specific.

  • While walking his dog one evening, the plaintiff's husband was attacked by fire ants. In an attempt to remove the ants off his person, the plaintiff's husband collapsed in the shower. Two days later, he died. As a representative for her husband's estate and in her own capacity, the plaintiff filed a negligence suit against her landlord. After the trial court granted the landlord's motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff appealed. Affirming the lower court's decision, the appeals court reasoned that since the landlord did not harbor, possess, or introduce the fire ants onto the premises, the landlord owed no duty to the plaintiff.

  • Judie Hansen petitions for review of a final decision of the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture. Because the 8th Circuit has no jurisdiction over the matter, the petition is dismissed.
  • Plaintiffs claim their pet dog, Gabby, died of medical complications after she was negligently subjected to extreme heat for an extended period of time at The Barkery, a dog grooming business.  The Court observed that there is no New Jersey precedent permitting a pet owner to recover non-economic damages when a pet is negligently injured or killed; therefore, the court looked policy and rationale which underlies similar cases in this and other jurisdictions.  The Court concluded that the difficulty in quantifying the emotional value of a companion pet and the risk that a negligent tortfeasor will be exposed to extraordinary and unrealistic damage claims weighed against allowing damages.  Most significantly, the court found that public policy mitigated against allowing emotional distress and loss of companionship damages, which are unavailable for the loss of a child or spouse, for the loss of a pet dog.

  • In January of 2005, the Detroit City Council passed an ordinance granting special police powers to officers working in the Animal Control Division (ACD). The ordinance allowed ACD officers to have “the right of entry without a warrant” for the purpose of capturing or restraining any animal. Detroit residents filed a petition arguing that the ordinance was unconstitutional and the court granted a petition for a preliminary injunction on the basis that the ordinance violated the Fourth Amendment. Following the injunction a number of residents filed suit seeking damages against the City of Detroit arguing that the City improperly seized their pets and failed to provide adequate post-deprivation remedies. Lastly, the residents argued that the City operated its animal shelter in a “grossly negligent manner” after numerous dogs suffered severe illnesses after having been taken to the shelter for quarantine by the ACD. The court reviewed the testimonies of the individual residents who claimed that their pets had been improperly seized and determined that the seizures of the pets were “objectionably reasonable.” In order to determine whether the seizures were “objectionably reasonable” the court stated that it “must balance the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individuals Fourth Amendment interests against the countervailing governmental interests at stake by analyzing the totality of the circumstances.” Ultimately, the court found that it was reasonable for the officers to have seize the pets in each situation based on the facts presented and therefore granted summary judgment in favor of the City of Detroit. Finally, the court reviewed the residents’ arguments pertaining to the Fourteenth Amendment and held that because the vast majority of the pets were found “unrestrained, unlicensed, abandoned by their owner, or accused of biting another animal or human,” the City’s interest in protecting the public was far greater than any “pre-seizure due process owed to the plaintiffs.” As a result, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the City. With regard to the residents’ claim about the state of the City’s animal shelter, the court declined to assert supplemental jurisdiction and therefore dismissed the claim.
  • In this Indiana case, the Hardsaws appeal a jury verdict in favor of the Courtneys stemming from their complaint for damages against the Hardsaws after their daughter Kimberly was attacked and bitten by the Hardsaws' dog who was under the supervision of the Hardsaw's 12-year-old daughter at the time of the attack. The Courtneys alleged negligent entrustment. On appeal, the Hardaws argue that, as a matter of law, absent evidence of prior viciousness, they could not have been negligent in entrusting Buster to their daughter and, thus, that this case should not have been submitted to the jury. The court found that the question of whether owner's entrustment of the control and restraint of a dog to a child was reasonable under the circumstances is a question for the jury. Here, the dog was restrained in the yard by a chain, but he was left under the care and supervision of a twelve-year-old child who had no previous experience supervising him. The judgment was affirmed.

  • Defendants were convicted by the Mitchell Superior Court, Robert Culpepper, Jr., Senior Judge, of dogfighting and gambling and two of the defendants were convicted of commercial gambling, and they appealed. The Supreme Court, Clarke, J., held that: (1) the statute prohibiting dogfighting is not unconstitutionally vague, and does not violate equal protection; (2) penalty provided for violating the dogfighting statute does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment; (3) evidence was sufficient to support convictions; (4) dogfighting is not as a matter of law a lesser included offense of commercial gambling; and (5) dogfighting was not as a matter of fact a lesser included offense of commercial gambling.

  • Plaintiff brought suit for damages based on his allegedly unlawful discharge from employment in Department of Air Force.  U.S. Supreme Court reviewed immunity issues and held that while presidential aides are entitled to qualified immunity, government officials performing discretionary functions are shielded only where their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights.

  • In this South Carolina case, the court considered the meaning of the term "or" in the state's dog bite statute, SC ST 47-3-110, and whether that word allows a plaintiff to pursue a statutory claim against the owner of the dog while that dog is in the care of another. The facts concerned a veterinary assistant who sued a county sheriff's officer after she was bitten by a police dog while the dog was kenneled at the veterinary clinic where she worked. The lower court granted summary judgment for the sheriff's office. The Supreme Court disagreed with this interpretation. Based on a plain language reading of the statute, the Court concluded that the Legislature intended to allow a claim against the owner of the dog when another person has the dog in his care or keeping.

  • A mail carrier was attacked by two dogs, and sued the dogs’ owners for negligence. The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the defendants, holding that a dog owner is not liable unless there is evidence that the dog had a vicious propensity and that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous.

  • Plaintiffs filed suit against a veterinarian and a number of police officers who were involved in their prosecution of animal cruelty. Plaintiffs Switf and Hatlee worked together on a Echo Valley Ranch where they provided care and boarding for horses. In February 2012, Officer Smith went to Echo Valley Ranch to conduct a welfare check on the horses. Officer Smith noticed that the horses seemed to be in poor condition, so he requested that a veternarian visis the ranch to inspect the horses. Dr. Olds, a local veterinarian, visited the ranch and wrote a report that suggested that the horses be seized due to their current state. Officer Smith initially served plaintiffs with a warning but after returning to the ranch and noticing that the horses’ condition had worsened, the horses were seized and plaintiffs were charged with animal cruelty. In this case, plaintiffs argued that the veterinarian had wrote the medical report for a “publicity stunt” and that this report influenced Officer’s Smith’s decision to seize the horses and charge plaintiffs with animal cruelty. The court ultimately found that the veterinarian’s report was not made as a “publicity stunt,” especially due to the fact that the report was filed privately and not made available to the public. Also, the court found that there was no evidence to suggest that the veterinarian and the officers were working with one another in a “conspiracy” to seize the horses and charge plaintiffs with animal cruelty.

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

  • This is a case involving a train hitting a cow.  This case involves a judgment for defendant based upon plaintiff's common-law negligence complaint in that defendant ran its train upon and killed the plaintiff's cow.  The appellate court upheld defendant's motion for a directed verdict where plaintiff alleged negligence on the part of defendant for failing to fence in its track.

  • While the Moneys (Defendants) were on vacation, they boarded their dog at Peppertree Animal Clinic (Peppertree). On June 16, 1990, Julie Hass (Plaintiff), an employee of Peppertree, was bitten by the dog while walking him.  The Court reverses the Defendants' summary judgment and remands to the trial court because the dog bite statute applies a strict liability standard and that the owner of a dog is only the person who has legal right to the dog. 

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