Cats: Related Cases
|Douglas Furbee, et al. v. Gregory L. Wilson, et. al.||--- N.E.3d ----, 2020 WL 1503236 (Ind. Ct. App. Mar. 30, 2020)||Shelly Linder lived in an apartment complex with a no-pet policy. Linder asked if she could have an emotional-support animal and provided a letter from a licensed family and marriage therapist, which stated that Linder had a disability and required an emotional-support animal to help alleviate her symptoms. The letter did not identify a specific disability and the landlord subsequently requested more information from Linder. Linder did not provide any additional information and instead brought her cat into her apartment as her emotional-support animal. The landlord charged Linder a fine after discovering the cat on the premises and gave her seven days in which to remove the cat. Linder failed to comply which led to Linder’s eviction. The Indiana Civil Rights Commission filed a complaint against the landlord on behalf of Linder in Delaware Circuit Court alleging that the landlord failed to accommodate her request for an emotional-support animal in turn violating the Indiana Fair Housing Act. The trial court denied summary judgment for the landlord and this appeal followed. The landlord conceded that Linder was disabled and requested a reasonable accommodation, however, the landlord argued that it was not given enough information from which to “meaningfully” review Linder’s request. The Delaware Court of Appeals agreed that the Landlord did not have sufficient information to meaningfully review Linder’s request and because Linder did not inform the Landlord about her disability and her need for the cat, she was acting in bad faith. The Court ultimately reversed and remanded the case to the trial court.|
|Jackson v. Mateus||70 P.3d 78 (Utah 2003)||Plaintiff filed suit against the defendant after she was bitten by the defendant’s cat and required medical attention as a result of the bite. Plaintiff found the defendant’s cat on her property and mistakenly started petting the cat, thinking that it was one of her own cats. As plaintiff was petting the cat, it bit her causing her injury. Plaintiff filed a negligence claim against defendant for not restraining the cat. The court held in favor of the defendant because the court found that this incident was not foreseeable and because it was not foreseeable, the defendant did not owe a duty to restrain the animal under the common law, municipal law, or state law.|
|Just Puppies, Inc. v. Frosh||--- F.Supp.3d ----, 2020 WL 607026 (D. Md. Feb. 7, 2020)||The State of Maryland passed a “No More Puppy-Mill Pups Act” which went into effect January 1, 2020. The Act prohibits retail pet stores in Maryland from offering for sale or otherwise transferring or disposing of cats or dogs. Four pet stores, a dog breeder, and a dog broker filed suit against Brian Frosh, the Attorney General of Maryland, the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Maryland Attorney General (CPD), the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee, and the Maryland State Senate Finance Committee seeking an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the Act as well as a declaration that it is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The Defendants were all entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment, unless an exception were to apply. Under the Ex parte Young exception “private citizens may sue state officials in their official capacities in federal court to obtain prospective relief from ongoing violations of federal law.” The CPD and Committee Defendants were not State officials and, therefore, they did not fall within the Ex parte Young exception. The Ex parte Young exception, however, applied to Mr. Frosh as he was the Attorney General of Maryland since he had some connection with the enforcement of the Act. In Counts I, II, and III, the Plaintiffs alleged that the Puppy-Mill Act violated the Constitution's Commerce Clause. The Court found that the Plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege that the Act discriminated against out-of-state breeders and brokers in its text, in its effect, or in its purpose. Count IV alleged that the Puppy-Mill Act was preempted by the AWA. The Court found that prohibiting Maryland pet stores from selling dogs or cats had no effect on the operation of the AWA. The Puppy-Mill Act's impact on pet stores did not clash with the AWA, because pet stores were explicitly exempt from the AWA. Count V alleged that the Puppy-Mill Act deprived Plaintiffs of their constitutional right to the equal protection of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Court found no merit in this argument. Count VI asserted that the Act created a monopoly prohibited by Article 41 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. The Court found that the Puppy-Mill Act did not constitute an exclusive right to sell cats and dog in Maryland. Although the Act prohibited brick and mortar stores from participating in the sale of cats and dogs, consumers still had a plethora of choices when seeking to obtain a pet, including rescue shelters, animal control units, USDA licensed breeders and brokers, and unregulated hobby breeders. The Court ultimately dismissed all claims against the CPD and the Committee Defendants and allowed the claims against Brian Frosh to proceed.|
|Madero v. Luffey||--- F.Supp.3d ----, 2020 WL 733766 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 13, 2020)||Ronald Madero allegedly took care of abandoned cats in his neighborhood by giving them food, shelter, and occasional medical care. Madero lived in a duplex in which his son owned both halves of the building. A neighbor contacted Animal Care and Control (ACC) and complained about abandoned kittens in front of her residence. On or about June 15, 2017, Officer Christine Luffey of the Pittsburgh Police Department arrived at Madero’s residence with a non-officer volunteer, Mary Kay Gentert. Officer Luffey requested to inspect the inside of both sides of the duplex. Madero refused and Luffey claimed she had a search warrant. Madero believed that Gentert was present to assist with spay and neuter services for the cats and consented to allow Gentert to inspect the premises while Luffey waited outside. Gentert took photographs inside. Some time afterwards, Luffey executed a search warrant. Madero asserted that the information gathered and photographs taken by Gentert were used to obtain the search warrant. A total of forty-two cats were seized. Madero asserts that after the cats were seized the cats were left for hours on the hot concrete in direct sunlight with no water and that snare catch poles were used to strangle the cats and force them into carriers or traps. Madero further asserted that the cats were not provided with veterinary care for several weeks and were kept in small cages in a windowless room. Some of the cats were ultimately euthanized. On August 7, 2017, Officer Luffey filed a criminal complaint against Madero accusing him of five counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals and thirty-seven summary counts of cruelty to animals. Madero pled nolo contendere to twenty counts of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to ninety days of probation for each count with all twenty sentences to run consecutively. Madero filed a complaint asserting various causes of action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state law alleging illegal search and wrongful seizure of the cats against Officer Luffey, Homeless Cat Management Team (“HCMT”), Provident, and Humane Animal Rescue (“HAR”). The defendants each filed Motions to Dismiss. Madero pled that the cats were abandoned or stray cats, however, he also pled that the cats were his property and evidenced this by pleading that he fed the cats and provided shelter as well as veterinary care. The Court found that Madero pled sufficient facts to support ownership of the cats to afford him the standing to maintain his claims under section 1983 and common law. The Court held that Madero pled a plausible claim against Luffey on all counts of his complaint. Madero alleged that Officer Luffey violated his Fourth Amendment rights by lying about having a search warrant and securing consent by threatening to bust his door down. As for Madero’s state law claims, the court dismissed his negligent misrepresentation claim against Luffey as well as his claims for concerted tortious conduct. Madero failed to plead a threshold color of state law claim against the HAR defendants. There can be no violation of constitutional rights without state action. Madero’s claims for conversion and trespass to chattel against the HAR defendants were also dismissed. All claims against Provident were dismissed, however, Madero’s claim against HCMT for conspiracy was able to proceed. The Court ultimately denied in part and granted in part Officer Luffey’s Motion to Dismiss, Granted HAR’s Motion to Dismiss, and denied in part and granted in part HCMT’s and Provident’s Motion to Dismiss.|
|Matter of Ware||--- P.3d ----, 2018 WL 3120370 (Wash. Ct. App. June 26, 2018)||After the Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office's decided not to issue charges in an animal abuse case, two private citizens sought to independently initiate criminal charges. One person filed a petition for a citizen's complaint in district court and, after that was denied, another person filed a petition to summon a grand jury. On appeal, those appellants argue that the lower court erred in not granting their petitions. The animal cruelty claim stems from an incident in 2016, where a woman filed a report with police stating that a neighbor had killed her mother's cat by throwing a rock at the cat and stabbing it with a knife. Witnesses gave similar account of the abuse of the cat by the neighbor. The responding police officer then determined that there was probable cause to arrest the suspect for first degree animal cruelty. The officer found the cat's body and photographed the injuries, although the officer could not determine whether the cat had been stabbed. Subsequently, the prosecuting attorney's office declined to file charges because the actions related to the animal's death were unclear. Additionally, the cat's body was not collected at the scene to sustain a charge.|
|Goldberger v. State Farm Fire and Casaulty Company||--- P.3d ----, 2019 WL 3792803 (Ariz. Ct. App. Aug. 13, 2019)||Joel and Kim Goldberger owned residential rental property in Flagstaff that was insured by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company under a rental dwelling policy. The Goldbergers filed a claim asserting that their tenant allowed feral cats to access the property and cause approximately $75,000 in “accidental damage.” State farm subsequently denied the claim asserting that feral cats are domestic animals and therefore the damage was not covered under the policy. The Goldbergers filed suit alleging breach of contract and insurance bad faith. State Farm moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. State Farm claimed that the policy stated that accidental losses caused by “birds, vermin, rodents, insects, or domestic animals” were not covered by the policy. The superior court granted State Farm’s motion and this appeal followed. The Goldbergers argued that the superior court erred in dismissing their complaint due to the fact that the term “domestic animals” is reasonably susceptible to differing interpretations and must be construed against State Farm. State Farm argued that the exclusion in the policy was only susceptible to one reasonable interpretation. The Court stated that there were two interpretations to the term “domestic animal.” The first definition is a species-based definition that says that domestic animals are animals belonging to a broader class of animals that have been domesticated at some point in history. The second definition is an individualized definition that says that domestic animals are animals that are kept by a person for any of various purposes, including as pets. The Court ultimately decided that the individualized definition makes more sense in terms of the insurance policy itself as well as case law. In making this determination, the court noted the "nonsensical" outcome that would arise for exotic or nontraditional pets were a species-based definition adopted. Domestic animals encompass animals that are subject to the care, custody, and control of a person. On the facts alleged in the complaint alone, the Court could not say that the tenant was keeping the feral cats in such a manner that the exclusion would preclude coverage. The court therefore resolved all reasonable inferences in the Goldberger’s favor and presumed that the cats were feral. Because the feral cats that caused the damage are not domestic animals under all reasonable interpretations of the facts alleged in the complaint, the court erred in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss. The Court reversed the superior court’s order dismissing the Goldberger’s complaint and remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.|
|Dancy v. State||--- So.3d ----, 2020 WL 240457 (Miss. Jan. 16 , 2020)||The Justice Court of Union County found Michael Dancy guilty of three counts of animal cruelty and ordered the permanent forfeiture of Dancy’s six horses, four cats, and three dogs. Dancy appealed to the circuit court. The circuit court ordered that the animals be permanently forfeited and found Dancy guilty. The circuit court also ordered Dancy to pay $39,225 for care and boarding costs for the horses. Dancy subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Mississippi. Essentially, Dancy failed to provide adequate shelter, food, and water for the animals. The Court found that the circuit court properly released the animals to an animal protection organization. The Court also found that the reimbursement order was permissible. Two of Dancy’s three convictions were for violations of the same statute regarding simple cruelty, one for his four cats and one for his three dogs. The Court held that, according to the statute's plain language, Dancy’s cruelty to a combination of dogs and cats occurring at the same time "shall constitute a single offense." Thus, the State cannot punish Dancy twice for the same offense without violating his right against double jeopardy. For that reason, the court vacated Dancy’s second conviction of simple cruelty. The court affirmed the permanent forfeiture and reimbursement order and his other cruelty conviction.|
|Missouri Pet Breeders Association v. County of Cook||106 F. Supp. 3d 908 (N.D. Ill. 2015)||Cook County passed an ordinance that required a “pet shop operator” to only sell animals obtained from a breeder that (among other requirements) held a USDA class “A” license and owned or possessed no more than 5 female dogs, cats, or rabbits capable of reproduction in any 12-month period. Plaintiffs, a professional pet organization and three Cook County pet shops and their owners, sued Cook County government officials, alleging that the ordinance violated the United States and Illinois Constitutions. Defendants moved to dismiss the action. After concluding that plaintiffs had standing to pursue all of their claims, with the exception of the Foreign Commerce Claim, the Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss all claims, but gave Plaintiffs a chance to cure their complaint's defects by amendment.|
|People v. Youngblood||109 Cal.Rptr.2d 776 (2001)||Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty for keeping 92 cats in a single trailer, allowing less than one square foot of space for each cat. The court found that the conviction could be sustained upon proof that defendant either deprived animals of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, or subjected them to needless suffering. Further, the court found that the defense of necessity (she was keeping the cats to save them from euthanasia at animal control) was not available under circumstances of case.|
|State v. McDonald||110 P.3d 149 (Ut. 2005)||
A woman was convicted of fifty-eight counts of animal cruelty after animal control officers found fifty-eight diseased cats in her trailer. The trial court sentenced the woman to ninety days of jail time for each count, but revised the sentence to include two days of jail time, two years of formal probation, and twelve and a half years of informal probation. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, but found that fourteen and a half years probation exceeded the court's statutory authority.
|Mellin v. Northern Security Insurance Company, Inc.||115 A.3d 799 (N.H., 2015)||This is an appeal brought by Mr. Mellin because his insurer, Northern, would not cover damages to Mellin's condominium caused by the odor of cat urine emanating from another tenant's condominium. This court reverses the lower court by deciding that the policy included pollution exclusion, but was ambiguous in whether that encompassed cat urine odor, so Mellin's claim is not precluded. The case was remanded for further proceedings. Two of the five judges dissent, concluding that the word 'pollutant' was defined and excluded cat urine odor.|
|Puppies 'N Love, v. City of Phoenix||116 F. Supp. 3d 971 (D. Ariz. 2015)||Defendant City of Phoenix passed an ordinance that prohibited pet stores from selling dogs or cats obtained from persons or companies that bred animals; pet stores could only sell animals obtained from animal shelters or rescue organizations. Puppies 'N Love operated a pet store in Phoenix that sold purebred dogs obtained from out-of-state breeders. Puppies 'N Love and its owners sued the City, claiming primarily that the Ordinance violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution by closing the Phoenix market to out-of-state breeders and giving an economic advantage to local breeders. All parties, including Intervenor Humane Society of the United States (“HSUS”), filed motions for summary judgment. The District Court granted the Intervenor’s and the city’s motions, but denied Puppies ‘N Love’s motion, thereby upholding the ordinance.|
|Concerned Dog Owners of California v. City of Los Angeles||123 Cal.Rptr.3d 774 (Cal.App.2 Dist., 2011)||
Dog owners mounted a constitutional challenge to a Los Angeles municipal ordinance that required all dogs and cats within the city to be sterilized. The Court of Appeal held that the ordinance did not violate the owners’ freedom of association rights, free speech rights. or equal protection rights. The court held that it was not unconstitutionally vague, was not outside of the city's police powers, did not vest unfettered discretion in city officials, did not constitute an unconstitutional prior restraint or an unconstitutional taking. Finally, the law did not violate individual liberties under the California Constitution.
|Kimes v. Grosser||126 Cal.Rptr.3d 581 (Ca., 2011)||
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.
|GOODWIN v. E. B. NELSON GROCERY CO.||132 N.E. 51 (Mass. 1921)||
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.
|Womack v. Von Rardon||135 P.3d 542 (Wash. 2006)||
In this Washington case, a cat owner sued a minor and his parents after the minor set her cat on fire. While this Court found that the trial court correctly granted summary judgment with respect to Ms. Womack's private nuisance, tort outrage, and statutory waste claims, it held that the lower court incorrectly calculated the measure of damages. Noting that the Division 2 Appellate Court left open the question of emotional distress damages where a pet has been maliciously injured in Pickford v. Masion , 124 Wash.App. 257, 262-63, 98 P.3d 1232 (2004), this Court held that the general allegations include sufficient facts to find both malicious conduct toward Ms. Womack's pet and her resulting emotional distress. Thus, "[f]or the first time in Washington, we hold malicious injury to a pet can support a claim for, and be considered a factor in measuring a person's emotional distress damages."
|Cat Champion Corp. v. Jean Marie Primrose||149 P.3d 1276 (Or. Ct. App. 2006)||
A woman had 11 cats which were in a state of neglect and were taken away from her and put with a cat protection agency. Criminal charges were dropped against the woman when it was found she was mentally ill and incapable of taking care of herself or her cats. The court found it could grant the cat protection agency ownership over the cats so they could be put up for adoption, even though the woman had not been criminal charged, and had not forfeited her cats.
|Justice for Animals, Inc. v. Robeson County||164 N.C. App. 366, 595 S.E.2d 773 (2004)||
Non-profit and advocate challenged the improper treatment/euthanasia of animals and complaint was dismissed. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's qualified as "aggrieved persons" within the statute, but that all administrative remedies were not sought. Affirmed.
|Justice for Animals, Inc. v. Lenoir County SPCA, Inc.||168 N.C. App. 298, 607 S.E.2d 317 aff'd on other grounds, 360 N.C. 48, 619 S.E.2d 494 (2005)||
An animal control facility's practice of euthanizing feral cats without holding them for 72 hours was challenged by a non-profit organization. The animal control facility's method for determining if a cat is feral consisted only of poking the animal and gaging its reaction. The trial court dismissed the claim, but the Court of Appeals reversed the decision.
|Allen v. Municipality of Anchorage||168 P.3d 890 (Alaska App., 2007)||
Krystal R. Allen pleaded no contest to two counts of cruelty to animals after animal control officers came to her home and found 180 to 200 cats, 3 dogs, 13 birds, and 3 chickens in deplorable conditions. She was sentenced to a 30-day jail term and was placed on probation for 10 years. One of the conditions of Allen's probation prohibits her from possessing any animals other than her son's dog. In first deciding that its jurisdictional reach extends to claims not just based on the term of imprisonment, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by restricting Allen's possession of animals during the term of her probation.
|State v. Amos||17 N.E.3d 9 (2017)||After witnessing the 73 year old defendant-appellant emerge from area by the veterinary's dumpster holding an empty, wire cage animal trap, an employee of the clinic followed the defendant-appellant's car and obtained the vehicle's license plate number. Upon returning to the dumpster, the employee found a kitten with matted eyes that seemed unhealthy. The defendant-appellant was charged with one count of animal abandonment in violation of R.C. 959.01 and was found guilty. Defendant-appellant appealed her conviction and sentence on the grounds that the court erred in finding beyond a reasonable doubt that she was a keeper or, if she was a keeper, the court erred in determining that she abandoned the animal. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that once the defendant captured the animal in a cage, she assumed the responsibility that she would treat the animal humanely and could therefore be considered a “keeper.” Since Amos captured the animal and released it in another location without taking steps to make sure the animal would be found, the Ohio Court of Appeals also held that a reasonable person could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant-appellant had “abandoned” the animal. The judgment was therefore affirmed.|
|COMMONWEALTH v. MASSINI||188 A.2d 816 (Pa.Super 1963)||
In this Pennsylvania case, defendant was prosecuted for killing a cat that belonged to his neighbor. The section under which he was prosecuted prohibited the killing of a 'domestic animal of another person.' However, a cat was not one of the animals defined as a ‘domestic animal’ by the Act. Using rules of statutory interpretation, the court found that the omission of 'cat' from the listed species of the penal code provision was intentional by the legislature, and thus the defendant's sentence was discharged.
|State v. Mortensen||191 P.3d 1097 (Hawai'i App., 2008)||
Defendant found guilty of Cruelty to Animals under a State statute after firing a pellet gun at/toward a cat which was later found with and died from a fatal wound. On Defendant’s appeal, the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai’i affirmed the lower court’s decision, finding that evidence that Defendant knowingly fired the pellet gun at a group of cats within the range of such a gun was sufficient to find that Defendant recklessly shot and killed the cat. In making its decision, the Court of Appeals further found that the legislature clearly did not intend for a cat to be considered vermin or a pest for purposes of the relevant State anti-cruelty statute’s exception, and instead clearly intended for a cat to be considered a “pet animal.”
|Veterinary Surgeons Investigating Committee v. Lloyd||2002 WL 31928523, 134 A Crim R 441||
Appeal of agency determination of veterinarian malpractice for failure to detect ring worms in a cat. Long case with full discussion of process of administrative hearing and the standards by which to decide if an action is malpractice.
|Coy v. Ohio Veterinary Med. Licensing Bd.||2005 Ohio App. LEXIS 756||
A veterinarian's license was revoked by the Ohio Veterinarian Medical Licensing Board and the vet challenged the revocation of his license. The trial court found the vet guilty of gross incompetence and he appealed claiming there was no definition of gross incompetence in the statute. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court holding no specific definition was required.
|Hemingway Home and Museum v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture||2006 WL 3747343 (S.D. Fla.)||
The plaintiff lived in Hemmingway's old property, a museum, with 53 polydactyl cats (cats having more than the usual number of toes). The United States Department of Agriculture investigated and said that the plaintiff needed to get an exhibitor's license to show the cats, but that was not possible unless the cats were enclosed. Plaintiff sued the government in order to avoid the $200 per cat per day fines assessed, but the court held that the government has sovereign immunity from being sued.
|Allendorf v. Redfearn||2011 IL App (2d) 110130 (2011)||
After a farm employee was injured in an all terrain vehicle (ATV) while trying to round up a bull, he sued the farm owners under the Domestic Animals Running at Large Act. The Appellate Court held that the employee could not recover under the Act, which protects members of the general public who cannot be expected to appreciate the risk posed by an animal. Because the employee was not an innocent bystander but rather was attempting to exercise control over the bull at the time he was injured, he fell within the Act's definition of an “owner” of the bull.
|Gonzalez v. South Texas Veterinary Associates, Inc.||2013 WL 6729873 (Tex. App. Dec. 19, 2013), review denied (May 16, 2014)||Plaintiff acquired an indoor/outdoor cat with an unknown medical and vaccination history. Plaintiff took cat to defendant for treatment and the cat received a vaccination. The cat soon developed a golf-ball-sized mass that contained a quarter-sized ulceration which was draining “matter” on the cat's right rear leg. When plaintiff returned the cat to the defendant, defendant diagnosed the cat with an infection, prescribed an antibiotic for treatment, and instructed Gonzalez to return if the cat's symptoms did not improve. When the cat's symptoms did not improve, plaintiff took the cat to another veterinarian who diagnosed the cat with vaccine-associated sarcoma. The cat had to be eventually euthanized. Acting pro se, the plaintiff filed suit, alleging that defendant failed to: (1) inform her of vaccine-associated sarcoma risk; (2) adhere to feline vaccination protocols; and (3) properly diagnose vaccine-associated sarcoma in the cat, which resulted in the loss of her life. On appeal, plaintiff asserted that the trial court erred by granting defendant's no-evidence and traditional motions for summary judgment. After examining the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff and disregarding all contrary evidence and inferences, the court concluded that the plaintiff brought forth more than a scintilla of probative evidence establishing the relevant standard of care to prove her malpractice claims. The trial court, therefore, erred by granting the no-evidence summary judgment. On the traditional summary judgment claim, the court held that that the defendant's evidence did not conclusively prove that a veterinarian complied with the applicable standard of care in light of another veterinarian's report to the contrary. The trial court, therefore, erred by granting defendant's traditional motion for summary judgment. The case was reversed and remanded.|
|Cottongame v. State||2014 WL 3536801 (Tex. App. 2014), unpublished||Despite an ordinance restricting the number of cats a person can own to three unless a permit was obtained, an officer decided not to enforce the ordinance against the appellant because she was helping with the feral-cat problem in the city and because “she was ... attempting to bring into compliance [her] animal rescue.” When the officer left his job, however, a neighbor complained and an investigation took place. The investigating officer noted everything in the house was covered in cat litter, there was no carpet in the home, and cat urine was on the living-room floor. The smell of cat urine and feces also sickened the officer to the point that he had to leave the house to get fresh air. The State filed a complaint alleging Appellant's violation of the ordinance. A jury found Appellant guilty of the offense as alleged in the complaint and assessed her punishment at $75 plus court costs. Appellant appealed from her conviction for violating a city ordinance regarding the number of animals that may be kept without a permit. In her first issue, the appellant asserted that her conviction violated the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because the city “selectively enforced its purported ordinance that prohibits any person from having possession of more than three cats without a permit.” The court, however, found that there was no evidence before the trial court indicating that appellant was singled out for enforcement or that her selection for enforcement was based on anything other than a valid citizen complaint. In her second issue, the appellant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction. The court, however, found that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's finding that the appellant was in violation of the ordinance. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.|
|City of La Marque v. Braskey||216 S.W.3d 861 (Tex. Ct. App. 2007)||
A city's ordinance did not allow a kennel, defined as a place containing more than four dogs and cats, to be operated within 100 feet of a residence, school, or church. A woman kept as many as 100 cats at a time in a shelter within 100 feet of three homes, and she was criminally charged under the ordinance. The court found that the ordinance did not violate the plaintiff's constitutional rights because there was no right to use her property in any manner that she chose.
|Ducote v. Boleware||216 So. 3d 934 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/17/16), writ denied, 2016-0636 (La. 5/20/16), 191 So. 3d 1071||This appeal arises from a personal injury lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Ducote, stemming from injuries she suffered as the result of a bite by defendant's cat. Plaintiff was walking down the sidewalk in New Orleans in the early evening when defendant's cat jumped on her left side and bit her hand causing injury. Plaintiff opted for the rabies immunoglobulin and the vaccine at the emergency room after defendant was unable to produce a rabies certificate (though the cat was later successfully quarantined). The trial court granted summary judgment upon motion for defendant and his homeowner's insurer. Plaintiff now appeals that decision. On appeal, the majority observed that liability of an animal owner (other than a dog) is provided by La. C.C. art. 2321, which gives a negligence standard based on knowledge of an animal's vicious propensities. The court found that there was no scienter on defendant's part as to the cat's dangerous nature (in fact, the cat was known to be a friendly cat with no previous incidents). Plaintiff suggests that liability should be based on a theory of negligence per se. Due to defendant's violation of city ordinances related to proof of rabies vaccination, he should be liable for damages. The court, however, rejected this, as Louisiana law does not recognize statutory negligence per se. Instead, in looking at negligence based on the set of facts, the court found plaintiff did not meet her burden. The trial court's decision was affirmed.|
|People v. Lewis||23 Misc.3d 49, 881 N.Y.S.2d 586 (N.Y.Sup.App.Term,2009)||Defendants were charged in separate informations with multiple counts of injuring animals and failure to provide adequate sustenance. Plaintiff, the People of the State of New York, appealed the lower court’s decision to grant Defendants’ motion to suppress evidence obtained when a special agent of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals approached one of the defendants at his home upon an anonymous tip and inquired about the condition of the animals and asked the defendant to bring the animals outside for inspection, while the incident was videotaped by a film crew for a cable television show. The Supreme Court, Appellate Term, 2nd and 11th, 13 Judicial Districts reversed the lower court’s decision, finding that Plaintiff met its burden of establishing that the defendant voluntarily consented to the search based on the fact that the defendant was not in custody or under arrest at the time of the search, was not threatened by the special agent, and there was no misrepresentation, deception or trickery on the special agent’s part.|
|American Bird Conservancy v. Harvey||232 F. Supp. 3d 292 (E.D.N.Y. 2017)||
Plaintiff, American Bird Conservancy, is a non-profit organization that was dedicated to the conservation of the Piping Plover (a threatened species) in this case. The individual Plaintiffs, David A. Krauss and Susan Scioli were also members of the organization, who observed Piping Plovers at Jones Beach, in New York State for many years. The Plaintiffs brought an action against Defendant Rose Harvey, the Commissioner of the New York State “Parks Office”. The Plaintiffs asserted that the Commissioner failed to act while members of the public routinely fed, built shelters, and cared for the feral cats on Jones Beach. As the cat colonies flourished, the Piping Plover population decreased due to attacks by the cats. The Plaintiffs contended that by failing to take measures to decrease the feral cat population, the Commissioner was allowing the cats to prey on the Piping Plover, in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Commissioner moved to dismiss the complaint. The District Court, held that: (1) the affidavit and documentary evidence provided by the Alley Cat Allies (ACA) organization was outside the scope of permissible supporting materials for the motion to dismiss. (2)The Plaintiffs had standing to bring action alleging violation of the Endangered Species Act. The Commissioners motion to dismiss was denied.
|Feger v. Warwick Animal Shelter||29 A.D.3d 515 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2006)||In this New York case, a cat owner brought suit against an animal shelter and its employee for their alleged misconduct in knowingly placing a champion cat stolen from her home for adoption by unidentified family. In ruling that the lower court properly denied the plaintiff's cross motion for summary judgment, the appellate court found that there are questions of fact, inter alia , as to whether “Lucy” is “Kisses." However, the Shelter defendants are correct that the plaintiff may not recover damages for the emotional harm she allegedly suffered from the loss of her cat.|
|State v. Criswell||305 P.3d 760 (Mont.,2013)||
Defendants were convicted of aggravated animal cruelty for subjecting ten or more animals (cats) to mistreatment or neglect by confining them in a cruel manner and/or failing to provide adequate food and water. On appeal, defendants raise two main issues: (1) whether the State presented sufficient evidence and (2) whether the District Court abused its discretion in denying their motions for mistrial. As to the sufficiency argument, the Supreme Court held that the testimony from veterinary experts as well as the individuals involved in the rescue of the 400-plus cats removed from the three travel trailers was sufficient. On the mistrial issue, the Supreme Court agreed with the District Court that the remarks were improper. However, there was no abuse of discretion by the trial court's ruling that the comments were not so egregious to render the jury incapable of weighing the evidence fairly.
|Kollman Ramos v. U.S. Dept. Of Agr.||322 Fed.Appx. 814 (C.A.11)||
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.
|State v. Josephs||328 Conn. 21, 176 A.3d 542 (2018)||In this Connecticut case, defendant, Delano Josephs appeals his judgment of conviction of a single violation of § 53–247(a). The incident stems from Defendant's shooting of his neighbor's cat with a BB gun. A witness heard the discharge of the BB gun, then saw a man he recognized as defendant walking with a BB gun in his hands in a "stalking" manner. Over a week later, defendant's neighbor noticed blood on her cat's shoulder and brought her cat to the veterinarian who found three or four metal objects that resembled BBs near the cat's spine. After receiving this diagnosis, the cat's owner reported to police that her neighbor was "shooting her cats." Animal control officers then interviewed defendant who admitted he has a BB gun and shoots at cats to scare them away, but "he had no means of hurting any cats." At the trial level, defendant raised the argument that § 53–247(a) requires specific intent to harm an animal. The trial court disagreed, finding the statute requires only a general intent to engage in the conduct. On appeal, defendant argues that since he was convicted under the "unjustifiably injures" portion of § 53–247(a), the trial court applied the wrong mens rea for the crime. In reviewing the statute, this court observed that the use of the term "unjustifiably" by the legislature is meant to distinguish that section from the section that says "intentionally." Thus, the legislature use of two different terms within the same subsection convinced the court that clause under which defendant was convicted is only a general intent crime. On defendant's void for vagueness challenge, the court found that this unpreserved error did not deprive him of a fair trial. A person of ordinary intelligence would understand that shooting a cat for trespassing is not a justifiable act. While the court agreed with defendant that "unjustifiably injures" is susceptible to other interpretations, in the instant case, defendant conduct in killing a companion animal is not permitted under this or other related laws. The judgment was affirmed.|
|Rickrode v. Wistinghausen||340 N.W.2d 83 (Mich.App.,1983)||
In this Michigan case, a mother sued as next friend for injuries suffered by her daughter after the daughter was attacked by defendant's domestic cat. The lower court directed a verdict in favor of the cat's owner and the mother then appealed. The Court of Appeals held that evidence warranted submission to the jury on questions of strict liability and negligence. If an owner has knowledge that her cat has bitten children before and that it was suffering from a disease that makes the cat extra sensitive, then a prima facie case has been made that the cat was dangerous, posing more than the normal risk of harm from cats.
|Branks v. Kern||348 S.E.2d 815 (N.C.App.,1986)||
In this negligence action, a cat owner brought suit against veterinarian and veterinary clinic after she was bitten by her own cat while the cat was receiving treatment by the veterinarian. At issue, is whether the veterinarian owed a duty to the cat owner to exercise reasonable care in preventing the cat from harming the owner while the cat was being treated. In review of the lower court’s grant of motion for summary judgment, the Court of Appeals held that substantial issues of material fact existed to preclude the grant of summary judgment. However, this was overturned on appeal at the Supreme Court. ( See , Branks v. Kern (On Appeal) 359 S.E.2d 780 (N.C.,1987)).
|Branks v. Kern (On Appeal)||359 S.E.2d (780 N.C.,1987)||
On grant of appeal from Branks v. Kern , 348 S.E.2d 815 (N.C. 1986). Cat owner brought negligence action against veterinarian and veterinary clinic after her hand was bitten while she held her own cat during a catheterization procedure. In reversing the Court of Appeals decision (348 S.E.2d 815 (N.C. App. 1986)), the Supreme Court held that defendants in the instant case have met their burden of showing that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law where the evidence showed that the danger was obvious to plaintiff and defendants only owed plaintiff a duty to exercise ordinary care.
|Peloquin v. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury||367 So.2d 1246 (La.,1979)||
The finders of a stray cat were able to maintain a conversion suit against their neighbors who trapped the cat and brought it to a shelter where it was euthanized.
|In the Matter of Kerlin||376 A.2d 939 (N.J.Super.A.D. 1977)||
Respondent Raymond Kerlin, D.V.M., appealed a decision of the Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (Board), finding him guilty of "gross malpractice or gross neglect" in the practice of veterinary medicine after an employee at his office (his wife) stated that the office could not treat a deathly ill kitten after the owners requested payment by credit (apparently not accepted at the office). In this case, the court observed nothing in the findings of facts to support a conclusion that respondent was aware of the exchange which occurred between the kitten’s owner and Mrs. Kerlin in time for him to have prevented the situation or to have taken remedial steps. Nothing adduced at trial proved that Dr. Kerlin followed the policy of rejecting requests for emergency treatment on credit. Thus, the court concluded that the State failed to establish that respondent was guilty of a violation or of conduct warranting disciplinary action for "gross malpractice", and the decision of the Board was reversed.
|State v. Wright||393 P.3d 1192 (Or.App.,2017)||Defendant was convicted of four counts of aggravated animal abuse in the first degree after he drowned all six cats that lived with him in a water-filled trash can. On appeal, defendant challenged the exclusion of evidence that he had an intellectual disability and that he had a character for gentleness toward animals. Defendant asserts such evidence would have shown he did not act with the requisite malicious intent that the state was was required to prove. It would have been relevant in demonstrating his mental state when committing the offenses, according to defendant. The appellate court found that the lower court did not err with regard to excluding defendant's reference to an intellectual disability. The testimony at trial describing his "intellectual disability" was more of a general reference and not relevant to his mental state. On the issue of character evidence of defendant's gentleness toward animals, the appellate assumed the lower court erred because the state conceded it was harmless error in its brief. In agreeing with the state that the error was harmless, the court found any further evidence would have been cumulative because other testimony spoke to defendant's gentle character toward animals. The matter was remanded for resentencing due to errors in sentencing.|
|Bogart v. Chapell||396 F.3d 548 (4th Cir., 2005)||
A woman was housing hundreds of animals in her residential home, the animals were seized and more than two hundred of them were euthanized. The woman brought a section 1983 claim against the county sheriff's department and human society. The trial court granted defendants summary judgment and the Court of Appeals affirmed holding no viable due process claim existed arising from the euthanization.
|Gaetjens v. City of Loves Park||4 F.4th 487 (7th Cir. 2021), reh'g denied (Aug. 12, 2021)||Plaintiff Gaetjens filed a § 1983 action against city, county, and various local government officials alleging that her Fourth Amendment rights were violated after officials entered and condemned her home and seized her 37 cats. Plaintiff was in the hospital at the time. Gaetjens lived in Loves Park, Illinois and bred cats in her home. On December 4, 2014, she visited her doctor and was told to go to the hospital because of high blood pressure. Later that day, the doctor could not locate Gaetjens, so she phoned Rosalie Eads (Gaetjens' neighbor who was listed as her emergency contact) to ask for help finding her. Eads called Gaetjens and knocked on her front door but got no response. The next day the neighbor could still not locate Gaetjens so Eads phoned the police from concern that Gaetjens might be experiencing a medical emergency. When police arrived, they asked Eads for Gaetjens key and entered the house. Intense odors of feces, urine, and a possibly decomposing body forced police back out of the home. The police called the fire department so that the home could be entered with breathing devices. While police did not find Gaetjens, they did find 37 cats. The house was ultimately condemned and animal control were able to impound the cats (except for four that died during or after impoundment). As it turns out, Gaetjens was at the hospital during this whole process. After learning of the impoundment, Gaetjens filed the instant action. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants. On appeal here, the Seventh Circuit considered whether the warrantless entry into Gaetjens home was reasonable based on exigent circumstances. Relying on a recent SCOTUS case that found absence from regular church service or a repeated failure to answer a phone call supported an emergency exception for a warrant, the Court noted that the "litany of concerning circumstances" in the case at bar "more than provided" a reasonable basis for entry. As to Plaintiff's challenge to the condemnation, the court also found it too was supported by the expertise of officials at the scene. As to the confiscation of the cats, the court noted that previous cases support the warrantless seizure of animals when officials reasonably believe the animals to be in imminent danger. The court found the imminent danger to be plain due to condemnation order on the house from noxious fumes. While the use of the "cat grabber" did lead to an unfortunate death of one cat, the overall seizure tactics were necessary and reasonable. Thus, the Court affirmed the judgment of the district court.|
|U.S. v. Kapp||419 F.3d 666 (2005, 7th Cir.(Ill.))||
A jury convicted William Kapp for multiple violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act connected with the killing of, and trafficking in, endangered tigers and leopards and their meat, hides, and other parts. On appeal, Kapp claims he is entitled to a new trial because the evidence at trial was insufficient to support the jury's verdict and the district court erroneously admitted certain evidence. Kapp also argues that the manner in which he was sentenced violated the Sixth Amendment. The court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict on all counts, and the district court did not err in its evidentiary ruling. His conviction was, therefore, affirmed, but a limited remand was ordered to determine whether Kapp should be resentenced .
|Beck v. Cornell University||42 A.D.3d 609 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2007)||
Plaintiff was a temporary employee in the dairy barns at defendant's Animal Science Teaching and Research Center, where a population of feral cats had been living. The Center had previously cared for the cats, but adopted a new policy to reduce the population for health and safety reasons. Despite the Center's directions not to feed the cats, the plaintiff continued to feed the cats with his own cat food and was fired. Plaintiff brought a suit for negligence and prima facie tort, which Supreme Court dismissed for failure to state a cause of action and the appellate court affirmed.
|Dixon v. State||455 S.W.3d 669 (Tex. App. 2014), petition for discretionary review refused (Apr. 29, 2015)||An owner of a non-profit cat sanctuary, which housed over 200 cats taken care of by one employee, was convicted by a jury of four counts of non-livestock animal cruelty. The trial court placed the owner under community supervision for five years' on each charge, to be served concurrently. In her first issue on appeal, the owner contended the evidence was legally insufficient to support her convictions. Based on evidence that the owner only had one employee to take care of the cats, however, the Texas court of appeals overruled this issue. In her second issue on appeal, the owner contended that the trial court erred by overruling her motion to dismiss the indictments where the State alleged a felony by commission of elements defined as a misdemeanor under the animal cruelty statute. On this issue, the court stated that it was true that the State had to prove that appellant failed to provide food, water, or care to the cats, but it also had to prove death or serious bodily injury to the cat that was committed in a cruel manner, i.e., by causing unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering. In other words, the failure to provide food, water, or care is the manner and means by which appellant killed the cats, causing them unjustified pain or suffering, which raised the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. The second issue was therefore affirmed. The appeals court also overruled the owner’s other issues and thereby affirmed the lower court’s ruling.|
|Carroll v. Rock||469 S.E.2d 391 (Ga. App., 1996)||
After plaintiff's cat escaped while at the defendant's animal hospital, Rock sued Dr. Carroll d/b/a The Animal Care Clinic for conversion or breach of bailment and emotional distress, seeking punitive damages and attorney fees. The court agreed with Carroll that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on punitive and vindictive damages, as vindictive or punitive damages are recoverable only when a defendant acts maliciously, wilfully, or with a wanton disregard of the rights of others. Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim also must fail because defendant's conduct was not outrageous or egregious.
|IN RE: JAMES W. HICKEY, D/B/A S&S FARMS, AND S.S. FARMS, INC.||47 Agric. Dec. 840 (1988)||Licensed dealer found guilty of numerous violations of Act involving care and housing of dogs and cats, failure to allow inspection of records, and failure to keep and maintain adequate records as to acquisition and disposition of animals, is properly penalized with 25-year suspension of license, civil penalty of $40,000, and cease and desist order.|