Cases

  • A dog that was constantly in violation of local leash ordinances was held as a stray by the town.  The owner of the dog brought a section 1983 action claiming deprivation of the dog's companionship without due process and the trial court held in favor of the town.  The Court of Appeals affirmed reasoning that only a post-deprivation hearing was necessary under the statute (which defendant could have received had she filed a petition with the court).

  • Wallen appeals her convictions for six counts of violating Mobile, Alabama's public nuisance ordinances. The nuisance convictions stem from an anonymous complaint about multiple barking dogs at Wallen's property. After receiving the tip in March of 2016, an animal control officer drove to the residence, parked across the street, and, as he sat in his car, heard dogs bark continuously for approximately ten minutes. That same day, a local realtor went to house that was for sale behind Wallen's property and heard an "overwhelming" noise of dogs barking continuously for 30-45 minutes. For almost a year, officers received complaints about noise coming from Wallen's house. In May of 2017, Wallen entered a plea of not guilty for multiple charges of violating the public nuisance ordinance in Mobile Circuit Court. She also filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Mobile City Code was unconstitutionally vague. Her motion was later denied, and a jury trial was held where Wallen was found guilty of six counts of violating Mobile's public-nuisance ordinance. On appeal, Wallen first argues that the public nuisance ordinance is unconstitutionally overbroad because it regulates without reference to time, place, and manner. However, the court found that Wallen did not establish how the overbreadth doctrine applied to her case and how the ordinance was unconstitutional. As to her next vagueness challenge, Wallen contended that the ordinance had no objective standards to determine whether a dog's barking is disturbing or unreasonable. This court disagreed, finding the statute defines what are "disturbing noises" (which specifically states barking), and other courts previously established that the term "habit" in a dog-barking statute is not vague. Finally, the found that Wallen's last general argument, that the code is unconstitutional as applied to her, did not satisfy court rules with respect to issues presented and support with authority on appeal. The judgment of the lower court was affirmed.
  • Pitbull owner filed suit seeking compensatory damages arising from the shotting and killing of his dog by police.  Defendants removed the action based on federal question jurisdiction and moved for summary judgment, and the dog owner moved to amend the complaint.  Motions granted.

  • RSPCA inspectors attended Mr Ward’s smallholding to find two horses in a severely distressed condition, with a worm infestation. Veterinarian advice had not been sought following failed attempts to home treat. The farmer was convicted of unnecessary suffering pursuant to section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and disqualified from owning, keeping, participating in the keeping of, or controlling or influencing the way horses or cattle are kept for a three year period, pursuant to section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The defendant brought an appeal to the Crown Court and the High Court in respect of the disqualification. The High Court dismissed the appeal and held that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was intended to promote the welfare of animals and part of the mechanism of protection is the order of disqualification following convictions for offences under the Act.
  • In this Maryland case, a dog bite victim filed a negligence and strict liability action against the dog owners and their landlords.  In plaintiff's appeal of the trial court's granting of defendant's motion for summary judgment, the appellate court held that the landlords had no control over the premises where the "dangerous or defective condition" existed and thus had no duty to inspect.  The court found that first, no statute, principle of common law, or provision in the lease imposed upon the landlord the duty to inspect the leased premises to see if a vicious animal was being kept.  Second, there was no evidence presented that, at the time the lease was signed by the landlord, he knew, or would have had any way of knowing, that a vicious animal was to be kept on the premises.

  • In this Alabama case, defendant Walter Tyrone Ware was indicted on six counts of owning, possessing, keeping, and/or training a dog for fighting purposes, and one count of possessing a controlled substance.  Police were dispatched to defendant's residence after receiving an anonymous tip about alleged dogfighting.  Upon arriving, police found a bleeding dog on the ground next to an SUV, a puppy in the SUV, and 22 more pit bull dogs in the backyard.  Most of the dogs were very thin or emaciated, and at least two dogs had fresh cuts or puncture wounds.  On appeal, defendant claimed that there was no evidence that he had attended a dog fight or hosted one.  However, the court observed that Alabama's dogfighting statute does not require such direct evidence; rather, a case was made based on evidence of training equipment, injured dogs, and the dogs' aggressive behavior exhibited at the animal shelter after seizure. 

  • In its motion for summary judgment, Defendant argues Plaintiff’s accommodation request under the Federal Fair Housing Act (the “FHA”) to modify Defendant's “no pet” policy was unreasonable because Plaintiff's emotional support animal was a pit bull and pit bulls were banned by county ordinance. In denying the Defendant’s motion, the District Court found that changing a no pets policy for an emotional support animal was a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. The court also found that enforcing the county ordinance would violate the FHA by permitting a discriminatory housing practice. However, in line with US Department of Housing and Urban Development notices, the court found genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether the dog posed a direct threat to members of the condominium association, and whether that threat could be reduced by other reasonable accommodations.
  • The United States initiated an action seeking an interpretation of Indian fishing rights under treaties with Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest.  The Court held that the language of the treaties securing a "right of taking fish . . . in common with all citizens of the Territory" was not intended merely to guarantee the Indians access to usual and accustomed fishing sites and an "equal opportunity" for individual Indians, along with non-Indians, to try to catch fish, but instead secures to the Indian tribes a right to harvest a share of each run of anadromous fish that passes through tribal fishing areas.  Thus, an equitable measure of the common right to take fish should initially divide the harvestable portion of each run that passes through a "usual and accustomed" place into approximately equal treaty and nontreaty shares, and should then reduce the treaty share if tribal needs may be satisfied by a lesser amount.  The Court also held that any state-law prohibition against compliance with the District Court's decree cannot survive the command of the Supremacy Clause, and the State Game and Fisheries Departments, as parties to this litigation, may be ordered to prepare a set of rules that will implement the court's interpretation of the parties' rights even if state law withholds from them the power to do so.

  • The respondent had been acquitted of causing unnecessary suffering to rabbits (contrary to the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s. 1(1)) by releasing them into a fenced enclosure from which they had no reasonable chance of escape, before setting dogs after them. Dismissing the prosecutor's appeal, the Divisional Court held that the respondent's conduct fell within the exception provided for "hunting or coursing" by sub-s. (3) (b) of s. 1of the 1911 Act. From the moment that the captive animal is liberated to be hunted or coursed, it falls outwith the protection of the 1911 Act, irrespective of whether the hunting or coursing is humane or sportsmanlike.

  • In this Utah case, defendant Powell took his dog to a kennel managed by plaintiff Waters to be boarded for a few days. Waters took the dog to a play area to be introduced to the other dogs where the dog bit Waters. Waters filed a complaint against Powell alleging that he was strictly liable for the injury the dog inflicted. On interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals held that Waters was a "keeper" of the dog for purposes of the state's dog bite statute (sec. 18-1-1). Waters essentially conceded on appeal that if she is a keeper then she is precluded from asserting a strict liability claim against Powell. Thus, the district court's denial of summary judgment was reversed and the case remanded with instructions that Powell's summary judgment motion be granted.

  • Defendants were convicted of attack by dog resulting in death (Tex. Health & Safety Code § 822.005(a)(1)) after a 7-year-old was killed by several of defendants' pit bull dogs. On this appeal, appellants contend that the statute fails to define the terms “attack” and “unprovoked,” and that it fails to specify what conduct is prohibited, resulting in arbitrary enforcement. Thus, jurors could have determined different definitions of the elements of the offense, violating the unanimous jury guarantees of the Texas and United States Constitutions. The Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed, finding, "[t]he statute contains objective criteria for determining what conduct is prohibited and therefore does not permit arbitrary enforcement." The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the Court of Appeals decision stating that the Dog Attack statute did not violate Due Process and that the defendants' convictions did not violate the unanimous jury guarantees of the Texas or the U.S. constitution.

  • This is an appeal of a district court decision on property damages from plaintiff's car hitting defendant's cow.  On appeal, the Court determined that the animal owners did not violate a closed range statute merely because their cow was on a public highway, that the presence of an animal on a public highway does not establish that the animal owners were negligent, and that the driver of an automobile has a duty to maintain a reasonable outlook for animals on public highways.

  • The court applied the forum's traditional lex loci conflict-of-laws rule to determine what jurisdiction's law governed for both damages and recovery of possession. The "place of injury" for the tort/damages issue was Kansas since that's where the contract was signed. The court remanded the case to determine the law of the place where the dog was found to determine the right-to-possession since that was a personal property issue.

  • This case addressed the power of the court to make a contingent destruction order under Section 4B of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (as amended). These orders allow dangerous dogs to be released and kept under strict conditions. The court held that the 19991 Act is not clear as to the breadth of who these conditions apply to, but considered that dangerous dogs may only be released to their owners or other persons properly identified as being in charge. The case was remitted to the Crown Court for further determination. The court also addressed other aspects of the 1991 Act along with the Dangerous Dogs Exemption Schemes (England and Wales) Order 2015.
  • Veterinary costs and consequential losses are also allowed in determining damages, according this Kansas case. It should be noted that the animal at issue here was a domestic pig versus a companion animal, and the award of damages was secured by a statute that allows recovery for all damages for attacks on domestic animals by dogs.


  • Following the Tracey v. Solesky opinion, a nonprofit, nonstock cooperative housing corporation issued a rule that banned pit bulls on its premises.  Members and leaseholders who owned dogs believed to be pit bulls sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the corporation and the state of Maryland in an amended complaint. Although the district court found the plaintiffs had adequately demonstrated standing and ripeness in their claims, the court also found that some of the leaseholders and members' charges were barred by 11th Amendment immunity and by absolute judicial immunity. Additionally, the district court found that the leaseholders and members' amended complaint failed to plead plausible void-for-vagueness, substantive due process and takings claims. The district court, therefore, granted the state's motion to dismiss and held all other motions pending before the court to be denied as moot.
  • In this California case, damages were assessed beyond the purchase price of a dog involved in a hit and run case where the defendant negligently ran over and killed a 15 month old pure-bred Waeimaraner. After the defendant ran over the dog, he shot the dog and buried it. The next morning he contacted the veterinarian listed on the collar, as well as the owner of the dog. The court upheld the jury verdict of $1,500 since the purchase price was determined to not reflect the market value at the time of the dog’s death.

  • In this case, James Wemer appealed the lower courts decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant John Walker. Wemer initially filed suit against Walker alleging that the injuries he suffered from a horse-bite at Walker’s barn was due to negligence and wanton recklessness of Walker. The trial court reviewed the issue and granted summary judgment in favor of Walker based on the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court’s decision on appeal. However, the trial court once against granted summary judgement in favor of Walker and Wemer appealed. On the second appeal, the Court of Appeals determined whether or not Walker was immune from liability under the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals found that Walker was immune from liability under statute because of the fact that Walker had warned Werner that his horses had a tendency to fight and Wemer voluntarily chose to get involved in separating the horses which led to his injuries. The Court of Appeals focused on the fact that both parties had a knowledge regarding equine activity and that Wemer was unable to establish that Walker’s conduct was willful or wanton under the circumstances presented. As a result, the Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment in favor of Walker.

  • The plaintiffs, owners of a seven-year-old trained, registered full blood German Shepherd dog, sued the defendants for the loss of this dog from the kennels at the animal hospital owned and operated by the defendant. The dog had been boarded at defendant's place and while there escaped from the kennel and was never found. This case set the wheels in motion for companion animals damages in Florida when the court affirmed a verdict of $1000, for a purebred dog. The court declined in only applying the fair market value and held that recovery could include special or pecuniary value to the owner.

  • In this Oregon case, plaintiff filed this action to recover for personal injuries sustained when she was bitten by defendants' dog. The complaint alleged a cause of action for strict liability and another for negligence. The trial court granted a judgment of involuntary nonsuit on both causes of action. On appeal, this court found the previous biting, which had occurred only one hour before, could reasonably lead a jury to believe that the dog had dangerous propensities, and that the defendants had knowledge of them. Thus, the court found that the involuntary nonsuit on the strict liability cause was improperly granted. Further, the question of whether the owner, who knew the dog had bitten the guest while on her way into the owner's house, was negligent in failing to control or confine the dog, was for the jury. Reversed and remanded.

  • The plaintiff, Western Watersheds Project (WWP), is an environmental group that brought this lawsuit to ban livestock grazing in certain areas of the Jarbidge Field Office (1.4 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho and northern Nevada). WWP alleges that continued grazing destroys what little habitat remains for imperiled species like the sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, and slickspot peppergrass (deemed “sensitive species” by the BLM).  After ten days of evidentiary hearings, the court found that three sensitive species in the JFO are in serious decline and that livestock grazing is an important factor in that decline. However, the court found that a ban on grazing was not required by law at this point since the Court was "confident" in the BLM's ability to modify the 2009 season in accordance with the Court's interpretation of the existing RMP.

  • Plaintiff Western Watersheds Project filed the instant action challenging the “90-Day Finding” issued by the Defendants United States Fish and Wildlife Service that denied protection of the Interior Mountain Quail as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Service determined that the Petition had failed to provide information demonstrating that the Interior Mountain Quail population is discrete under the ESA. The District Court stated that, in order to qualify as a DPS, a population must “be both discrete and significant.” The court found that the Service's conclusion appropriately determined that this discreteness standard was not met and it provided a rational basis for concluding the Petition had failed to provide evidence of a marked separation between the populations of the same taxon.

  • Plaintiff environmental advocacy organization sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for revisions to nationwide grazing regulations for federal lands. Plaintiff argued that the 2006 Regulations violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The Court of Appeals found for the plaintiff, holding that BLM violated NEPA by failing to take a “hard look” at the environmental consequences of the proposed regulatory changes. BLM also violated the ESA by failing to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) before approving the revisions. The FLPMA claim was remanded.

  • Plaintiff environmental advocacy organization sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for revisions to nationwide grazing regulations for federal lands, arguing that the revisions violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The Court of Appeals held that BLM violated NEPA by failing to take a “hard look” at the environmental consequences of the proposed changes, and violated the ESA by failing to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) before approving the revisions. Opinion Amended and Superseded on Denial of Rehearing en banc by: Western Watersheds Project v. Kraayenbrink, 632 F.3d 472 (9th Cir., 2010).

  • This action considers motions for summary judgment by both parties. At issue here is a plan by a branch of the USDA called Wildlife Services (WS), which is responsible for killing or removing predators and other animals that prey on wild game animals, threaten agricultural interests, or pose a danger to humans. The decision to kill the animals comes from requests from individuals or other state and federal agencies rather than a decision by WS. For this case, the facts center on an expanded operation to kill game animals and protected species in Idaho (mainly coyotes and ravens) known as PDM. As part of this process, WS prepared and circulated a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to other federal agencies, stakeholders, and the public seeking comment to the expanded plan. However, instead of taking the criticisms and suggestions from the EA and then undertaking a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), WS instead rejected most responses and labeled them as unconvincing or invalid. This led plaintiff to file suit against WS, arguing that the agency acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner by not preparing the EIS after comments to the EA. For example, the BLM, the Forest Service, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), found that the EA was not an "objective analysis" and instead sounded "like a pre-decisional defense of lethal methods." These agencies warned WS that the predator control methods were "likely to be futile over the long-term" and did not consider cascading effects on both cyclic and non-cyclic prey populations. In analyzing the factors, this court found that WS failed to consider "several federal agencies with long experience and expertise in managing game animals and protected species" when proposing to expand the expanded PDM program. There was a lack of crucial data to support WS' assumptions in its modeling that was exacerbated by use of unreliable data, according to the court. In addition, the court found that WS failed to "explain away scientific challenges to the effectiveness of predator removal." Not only was the court troubled by the lack of reliable data used by WS, but the WS’ “unconvincing responses” to agencies that had substantial experience managing wildlife and land-use concerns demonstrated to the court that the PDM is controversial and the environmental impacts were uncertain. This in and of itself necessitated an EIS under NEPA. The court held that the lack of reliable data, the unconvincing responses from WS, combine to trigger three intensity factors that combine to require WS to prepare an EIS. The plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment was granted and the defendant's motion for summary judgment was denied (the motion by plaintiff to supplement the administrative record was deemed moot).
  • Defendant convicted of cruelty for intentionally or knowingly torturing his cattle by failing to provide necessary food or care, causing them to die. Defendant lacked standing to challenge warrantless search of property because he had no expectation of privacy under open fields doctrine.

  • In June 2010, Australia commenced proceedings against Japan at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), alleging that Japan has continued an extensive whaling program in breach of its obligations as a signatory to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW). At issue was the moratorium on commercial whaling agreed upon in the 1980s. According to Australia, though Japan claimed to be killing whales purely for scientific reasons, the true purpose of the program was commercial. Japan did not deny that it was killing whales in the Antarctic, but claimed instead that because the ICRW grants each nation state the right to issue licenses for scientific whaling as it sees fit, Japan’s whaling program was legal. The ICJ ruled that Japan's Antarctic whaling program was not actually for scientific whaling and must end.
  • Plaintiff's dog was picked up by animal control for running-at-large. The plaintiff expressed his intent to reclaim the dog but before doing so the holding period expired and the dog was euthanized. The plaintiff sued the veterinarian for conversion. The court held that the euthanasia was not conversion because the impoundment ordinance gave the animal shelter a right to euthanize the dog after the holding period expired.

  • Plaintiff Whelen was drunken, threatening and disorderly in defendant Barlow's hotel bar, where he kept guard dogs for the purpose of preventing break-ins and keeping the peace. After the plaintiff and friends were asked to leave the premises and not return, he later returned, making threatening gestures and was bitten on the face and arm by one of the guard-dogs. The court held that the plaintiff was 2/3 contributorily liable for his injuries, since when he returned he was trespassing; the defendant was 1/3 contributorily liable since the court held that keeping volatile guard-dogs as bouncers was not reasonable.

  • Plaintiff, Rosemary White brought action against the Defendant, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church seeking damages for injuries she sustained when she was bitten by a priests’ dog, at premises owned by the church. White brought the action claiming negligent supervision and retention of the priest who owned dog. The church moved to dismiss, and White moved for summary judgment. The New York Supreme Court, Erie County, granted the church's motion for dismissal, and denied White’s motion. White appealed and the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the church was not liable for negligent supervision or retention of the priest. The Appellate Division, reasoned that the Supreme Court, Erie County, properly granted the church’s motion to dismiss White’s complaint for failure to state a cause of action. The Court stated that to the extent White alleged a theory of negligent supervision and retention of the priest in her bill of particulars, the “purpose of the bill of particulars is to amplify the pleadings . . . , and [it] may not be used to supply allegations essential to a cause of action that was not pleaded in the complaint.” Therefore, the order from the Supreme Court was affirmed.
  • The Plaintiff-Appellants are citizens (show bird breeders, feed store owners, and game bird judges) who allege that the AWA amendments to § 2156 concerning animal fighting ventures have caused them various individual and collective injuries. The plaintiffs-appellants allege that these provisions are unconstitutional insofar as they constitute a bill of attainder; violate the principles of federalism contained in, inter alia, the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Amendments to the United States Constitution; and unduly impinge on the plaintiffs-appellants' First Amendment right of association, constitutional right to travel, and Fifth Amendment right to due process for deprivations of property and liberty. The district court dismissed the lawsuit for lack of Article III standing. The Sixth Circuit held that while economic injuries may constitute an injury-in-fact for the purposes of Article III standing, the plaintiffs' alleged economic injuries due to restrictions on cockfighting are not traceable only to the AWA. Additionally, because the AWA does not impose any penalties without a judicial trial, it is not a bill of attainder. The decision of the district court was affirmed.

  • This is an appeal brought by Susan and Peter White to a declaratory judgment that her son, Charles Matthews, was not covered under Susan's homeowner's insurance policy with the respondent.The incident that led to this case involved Matthews' dog causing injury to Susan while at the home covered by the policy. The policy covered the insurer and residents of their home who are relatives, so Susan attempted to collect from Vermont Mutual for the damage done by the dog. However, her claim was denied because Matthews was deemed to not be a resident of the home. This court affirms.
  • Appellant was tried by a jury and found guilty of four counts of cruelty to animals concerning four Arabian horses. On appeal, appellant raised a sufficiency of the evidence challenge and a Rule 404(b) challenge to the admission of testimony and pictures concerning the condition of appellant's dogs and her house. The court found the photographic evidence was admissible for purposes other than to prove appellant's character, e.g., to show her knowledge of neglect of animals within her house, and thereby the absence of mistake or accident concerning the horses that lived outside.

  • Defendant was a person with a psychiatric disability and living in public housing. Defendant claimed to have an emotional and psychological dependence on her cat. The court held that the housing authority discriminated against defendant under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for failure to waive the no pets policy as a reasonable accommodation for the mental disability. The court noted that there must be a narrow exception "to the rigid application of a no-pet rule, involving no untoward collateral consequences," because the handicapped person could fully receive the benefits of the program if provided the accommodation.

  • A dog owner had purchased a Newfoundland dog from a breeder and signed a contract that stated she would return the dog to the breeder if she could no longer care for it. After the dog attacked another dog, the owner had the obligation to return the dog to the breeder. A third party, the owner’s friend attempted to help the owner and contacted the breeder to notify her about the owner's intention to return the dog. The breeder was busy on that particular day. She was with another dog delivering another litter of puppies and could not come to pick up the owner's dog. The owner then sold the dog to the defendant, a dog breeder and co-chair of the Newfoundland Club of New England Rescue. The rescue worker had prepared a bill of sale, which the owner signed, and the rescue worker then handed the owner $100 to help with expenses. The trial court held that the transfer to the rescue worker was not a bona fide sale. The rescue worker took possession of the dog in her capacity as a member of the rescue organization and not as a bona fide buyer. The court also found that the original breeder had not given up her contract rights to the dog. The breeder was handling an emergency delivery of puppies with a different dog, which made it reasonable that she could not pick up the owner's dog that day. The defendant rescue worker knew the breeder had not relinquished her contractual ownership right to the dog and so the court held that the plaintiff was the sole owner and entitled to sole possession.
  • In Wilcox v. Butt’s Drug Stores , plaintiff came into pharmacy to purchase her usual laxative for her show dogs when pharmacist recommended a different brand that ended up killing one of the dogs. The New Mexico Supreme Court held that although sentimental value was not appropriate when calculating the dog’s value, it found recovery not to be limited to market value. Factors such as breed, special qualities, and purchase price were looked at to determine value.

  • This case dealt with a determination made by the New Mexico Livestock Board that a group of undomesticated, unowned, free-roaming horses (the Placitas horses) were “livestock” and “estray” rather than wild horses under the Livestock Code. The Wild Horse Observers Association filed suit against the Board, but their claim was dismissed by the District Court. The Court of Appeals held that 1) the horses were not “livestock”, as they had never been domesticated and therefore could not be “estray”; 2) the Board had a statutory duty to test and relocate wild horses captured on public land; and 3) the Plaintiffs did state a claim that was sufficient to survive the motion to dismiss. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings
  • Plaintiff Wild Horse Observers Association, Inc. (Association) appealed the District Court's dismissal for failure to state a claim. The Association claimed that Defendant New Mexico Livestock Board (the Board) had unlawfully treated a group of undomesticated, unowned, free-roaming horses near Placitas, New Mexico as “livestock” and “estray,” rather than as “wild horses” under the Livestock Code. The Appeals Court concluded that “livestock” did not include undomesticated, unowned animals, including undomesticated and unowned horses; therefore, undomesticated, unowned horses could not be “estray.” The court also concluded that the Board had to DNA test and relocate the Placitas horses, and that the Association pleaded sufficient facts in its complaint to withstand a motion to dismiss.
  • In its suit for declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that Defendant, the Secretary of the Interior, failed to comply with his mandatory duty under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) to make a preliminary 90-day finding on two ESA listing petitions brought by Plaintiff, Plaintiff moved for leave to amend its Complaint to include a new claim against Defendant stemming from Defendant’s denial of an additional petition submitted by Plaintiff requesting that a small subset of species which had been included in one of the petitions at issue in the original Complaint be given protection on an emergency basis.   The United States District Court, District of Columbia granted Plaintiff’s motion to amend the Complaint to clarify that only a total of 674 species are covered by the two non-emergency petitions, rather than the 681 as stated in the original Complaint, but denied Plaintiff’s motion for leave to supplement its Complaint with a new claim, finding that Defendant’s decision not to issue emergency listings is committed to agency discretion by law, and thus precludes judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.

  • Plaintiff, WildEarth Guardians, brought this action seeking judicial review of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s final agency actions pertaining to the Utah prairie dog. Specifically, Plaintiffs aver that the FWS erred in denying (1) their petition to reclassify the Utah prairie dog as an endangered species under the ESA and (2) their petition to initiate rulemaking to repeal a regulation allowing for the limited extermination (i.e., take) of Utah prairie dogs. With respect to Plaintiff’s challenge as to reclassification, the court concluded that Plaintiff’s motion for Summary Judgment should be granted on two grounds. However, the court denied Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (and granted Defendant’s cross-motion) insofar as Plaintiff asserted that the FWS’ refusal to initiate rulemaking was arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the ESA.

  • In this case, Wildearth Guardians filed suit to challenge the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s designation of critical habitat for the Canada lynx. Wildearth argued that United States Fish and Wildlife Service wrongly excluded geographical areas in its final critical habitat designation. The areas that Wildearth argued should have been included in the designation were the Southern Rockies in Colorado, the Kettle Range of northeastern Washington, the state of Oregon, and certain National Forest lands in Montana and Idaho. Ultimately, the court reviewed Wildearth’s arguments and held that the Fish and Wildlife Service did wrongly exclude the Southern Rockies in Colorado and the National Forest lands in Montana and Idaho. With regard to the areas in Washington and Oregon, the court found that the Fish and Wildlife Service did not err in excluding in those areas from the critical habitat designation. The Fish and Wildlife Service used “primary constituent elements” (PCE) to determine which areas should be designated as a critical habitat for the Canada lynx. The court found that with respect to Colorado, there was a close call as to one of the of PCE’s and that the Service should have favored the lynx according to the standard set in the Endangered Species Act. Lastly, the court found that the Service also erred with respect to Montana and Idaho because it failed to comply with previous court orders to inspect the lands to determine whether or not the lands contained “physical and biological features essential to lynx recovery.” The court found that had the Service complied with these orders, it would have found that Montana and Idaho should have been included in the designation. The plaintiffs motions were granted in part and the matter was remanded to the Service for further action consistent with this order. The final rule remains in effect until the Service issues a new final rule on lynx critical habitat, at which time the September 2014 final rule will be superseded.
  • In this case, the WildEarth Guardians brought a suit against the National Park Service for violating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Rocky Mountain National Park Enabling Act (RMNP)'s ban on hunting. The district court and the appeals court, however, held that the NPS did not violate NEPA because the agency articulated reasons for excluding the natural wolf alternative from its Environmental Impact Statement. Additionally, since the National Park Service Organic Act (NPSOA)'s detrimental animal exception and the RMNP's dangerous animal exception apply to the prohibition on killing, capturing, or wounding—not the prohibition on hunting, the use of volunteers to cull the park’s elk population did not violate the RMNP or the NPSOA.  

  • Plaintiffs, The Wilderness Society and the Alaska Center for the Environment, challenge a decision by Defendant United States Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) to permit a sockeye salmon enhancement project (the Project) at Tustumena Lake (within a designated wilderness area in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska). Plaintiffs argue that the Project violates the Wilderness Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1131- 1136, because it contravenes that Act's requirement to preserve the "natural condition" and "wilderness character" of the area, and because it constitutes an impermissible "commercial enterprise" within a wilderness area.  With regard to the "wilderness character" question, the court held that the Service permissibly interpreted the Act, and that the activities in question did not contravene the wilderness character of the Refuge, as the Service's decision that the Project is "compatible" with the purposes of the Refuge is entitled to deference.  With regard to the prohibition against "commercial activities," the Court held that the Service reasonably determined that non-wilderness commercial activities providing funding for a nonprofit organization conducting a project did not render project "commercial enterprise" barred by statute.

  • The respondent Minister made declarations under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) that particular plans relating to Bennett's wallabies and Tasmanian pademelons were approved wildlife trade management plans. The applicant questioned whether the plans permitted the inhumane hunting of wallabies and treatment of joeys as well as the basis upon which the quotas were derived. The tribunal found both matters satisfactorily addressed though further monitoring measures were deemed to be prudent.

  • In this Texas case, a deceased worker's estate and his four adult children brought a negligence action against the beekeeper and others, after the worker died from anaphylactic shock caused by bee stings.  On petition for review, the Supreme Court held that beekeeper did not owe worker, a commercial buyer's employee, any duty to warn him of dangers associated with bee stings or to protect worker from being stung.

  • Appellant was charged with violating Florida's Cruelty to Animals statute, Fla. Stat. ch. 828.12 (1979). He pleaded nolo contendere, reserving his right to appeal the trial court's order, which denied his motion to dismiss and upheld the constitutionality of the statute. The supreme court affirmed. Appellant argued that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because the statute failed to provide guidance as to what animals were included and what acts were unnecessary. The supreme court concluded that people of common intelligence would have been able to discern what were and were not animals under the statute and that the legislature clearly intended that a raccoon be included. Additionally, just because the statute did not enumerate every instance in which conduct against an animal was unnecessary or excessive did not render the statute void for vagueness. The conduct prohibited was described in general language. Finally, because appellant's conduct was clearly proscribed by the statute, he did not have standing to make an overbreadth attack.

  • Various owners of exotic and wild animals filed a lawsuit in order to obtain a temporary restraining order and a permanent/preliminary injunction against the Ohio Department of Agriculture and its Director, David Daniels. The owners of the exotic and wild animals argued the Ohio Dangerous Wild Animals and Restricted Snakes Act, which the Ohio Department of Agriculture and its Director were trying to enforce, was unconstitutional. The district court denied the owners’ motion for obtain a temporary restraining order and a permanent/preliminary injunction reasoning that the exceptions to the Act’s ban on owning wild and exotic animals does not violate the owners’ freedom of association rights, that the legislature had a legitimate purpose so as to not violate procedural due process with regards to micro-chipping wild and exotic animals, and that the Act did not constitute an unconstitutional takings. Significantly, the court recognized that owners of wild and exotic animals have a limited or qualified property interest in said animals.

  • Housekeeper tripped over the family dog, sustaining injuries. She and her husband sued homeowners and their insurer for damages. The Court of Appeal found for defendants, holding that the dog did not pose an unreasonable risk of harm because plaintiffs did not show that the risk of injury resulting from puppy-like behavior multiplied by the gravity of the harm threatened outweighed the utility of keeping the dog as a pet.

  • In this Alabama case, a motorcyclist and passenger were injured when they collided with defendant's dog while traveling on public roadway and brought an action for damages. The Circuit Court, Elmore County granted defendant's motion for summary judgment and the motorcyclist and passenger appealed. The Court held that there is no recover at common law, as no negligence was shown. The Court would not accept the proposal that all owners should be charged with the knowledge that dogs will chase cars.   “We hold that the owner of a dog may not be charged with the general knowledge that all dogs chase motor vehicles, and therefore that the law will not impute such general knowledge to dog owners in actions for injuries incurred. We, therefore, affirm the defendant's summary judgment.”

  • Appellant sought review of the circuit court's order upholding the Lexington County Board of Zoning Appeals' unanimous decision that the county zoning ordinance prohibits Appellant from operating a dog grooming business at her home. The appeals court found that the word kennel, as used in the Lexington County Zoning Ordinance for Resident Local 5 (RL5), included dog grooming. Since Appellant’s dwelling was zoned RL5 and the ordinance prohibited kennels in RL5, the appeals court upheld the circuit court’s decision.

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