Cats: Related Cases

Case namesort ascending Citation Summary
Woudenberg v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture --- F.3d ----2015 WL 4503212 (6th Cir., 2015) According to Department of Agriculture regulations promulgated under the federal Animal Welfare Act (with certain exceptions not applicable here), persons who are in the business of buying and selling dogs and cats (i.e. class B dealers) may not obtain dogs or cats from an individual donor “who did not breed and raise them on his or her premises.” Another provision requires a dealer in such a case to “obtain [ ] a certification that the animals were born and raised on that person's premises.” The question in this case was whether there was a violation when the dealer obtained the required certification, but the certification was false. The regulatory language was clear that a dealer violated the law by obtaining a dog or cat from an individual donor who did not breed or raise it on the donor's premises and it was still a violation even when the dealer in good faith obtained certifications that the animals had been so bred and raised. The certification requirement was an enforcement mechanism for the prohibition, not an exception. The Department of Agriculture therefore properly entered a cease-and-desist order against the petitioner.
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."  

Whittier Terrace Associates v. Hampshire 532 N.E.2d 712 (Mass. 1989)

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.

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.

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 .

Towers-Hammon v Burnett [2007] QDC 282

The respondent pleaded guilty to bashing several cats with an iron bar causing four deaths. The dead cats, along with one severely beaten but still alive kitten, were placed in a bag and disposed of in a charity clothing bin. On appeal, it was held that the trial judge failed to have sufficient regard to the callous nature of the respondent's actions and the respondent was sentenced to three months' imprisonment.

Thurston v. Carter 92 A. 295 (Maine, 1914) This action of trespass is brought for the recovery of damages for the killing of the fox hound of plaintiff by defendant.  Defendant claimed that he shot and killed the plaintiff's dog while it was chasing and worrying a cat belonging to and upon the land of the defendant. After the introduction of all the evidence, the court ordered a verdict for defendant. To this direction, plaintiff filed his bill of exceptions in which it is stipulated that if a cat is a domestic animal, the ruling below is to stand, otherwise judgment is to be entered for plaintiff in the sum of $50.
State v. Witham 876 A.2d 40 (Maine 2005)

A man ran over his girlfriend's cat after having a fight with his girlfriend.  The trial court found the man guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals.  The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the trial court, holding the aggravated cruelty to animals statute was not unconstitutionally vague.

State v. Peck 93 A.3d 256 (Me. 2014) Defendant appealed a judgment entered in the District Court after a bench trial found she committed the civil violation of cruelty to animals. Defendant contended that the court abused its discretion in quashing a subpoena that would have compelled one of her witnesses to testify; that the cruelty-to-animals statute is unconstitutionally vague; and that the record contains insufficient evidence to sustain a finding of cruelty to animals and to support the court's restitution order. The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, however, disagreed and affirmed the lower court's judgment.
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.”  

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. 

State v. Griffin 684 P.2d 32 (Or. 1984)

Appeal of a conviction in district court for cruelty to animals.  Defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals after having been found to have recklessly caused and allowed his dog to kill two cats, and he appealed. The Court of Appeals held that forfeiture of defendant's dog was an impermissible condition of probation.

State v. Gerard 832 N.W.2d 314 (Minn.App.,2013)

This case considers whether the trial court erred when it dismissed the felony count of unjustifiably killing an animal based on lack of probable cause. The incident stems from the killing of the neighbors' cat with a shotgun by defendant-respondent. At trial, he filed a motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause that was accompanied by a notarized affidavit of the responding police deputy stating the shooting of the cat was "justified." The trial court dismissed the complaint finding insufficient evidence that respondent had unjustifiably killed the cat. On appeal, the court found the district court's reliance on the deputy's lay opinion was improper. The court found it was within the jury's province to determine whether respondent's actions were justified or unjustified based on the evidence at trial.

State v. Fifteen Impounded Cats 785 N.W.2d 272 (S.D.,2010)

Under a statute that allowed an officer to impound animals without a warrant if exigent circumstances exist, fifteen unconfined cats, who were roaming around a vehicle, were impounded. At a hearing to ratify the impoundment, the court found a large number of unconfined cats that obstructed the defendant's view for driving constituted exigent circumstances under SDCL 40-1-5. After a motion was granted to transfer ownership of the cats to a local humane society for adoption, the defendant appealed. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision.

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.

State v. Amos --- N.E.3d ----; 2014 WL 3511819 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.
Rossi v. Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Soc. Slip Copy, 2009 WL 960204 (N.D.N.Y.)

Petitioner-Debtor challenged the Bankruptcy Court’s denial of Petitioner’s application for a Temporary Restraining Order and for a stay pending appeal after the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society seized 23 cats from Petitioner’s prior home for failure to provide proper sustenance/cruelty to animals and subsequently obtained a bond against Petitioner for the cost of providing animal care.   The United States District Court, N.D. New York denied Petitioner’s motion for leave to appeal requesting relief identical to that which was denied by the Bankruptcy Court, finding that the exhibits submitted show that Petitioner was currently charged with four misdemeanors, and that the commencement of the criminal charges against Petitioner and the posting of security pending the disposition of such criminal charges fall within the exception to the automatic stay under federal law.  

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.

Rehn v. Fischley No. C0-95-813, 1995 Minn. App. LEXIS 1539 (Minn. Ct. App. 1995).

The doctor was a veterinarian and a member of the board of directors for the humane society. The director of the humane society asked her for advice on how to clean cat cages, and the doctor gave advice and donated a bottle of formalin, whereupon the employee who used the formalin suffered permanent lung damage. The employee commenced an action against the doctor and humane society for damages.  The court held that although the doctor would not have advised using formalin if she was not a member of the board, this fact did not establish that giving the advice was within the scope of her responsibilities as a board member.

Raymond v. Lachmann 695 N.Y.S.2d 308 (N.Y. App. Div. 1999).

Trial court allowed visitation in property dispute over cat between roommates.  Later, that court determined it was not in the aged cat's best interests to be shuffled back and forth so revoked its decision, awarding it to the non-possessory roommate in a straight property analysis.  The appellate court determined that it would be best for the cat to remain with the possessory party because of his age and the amount of time he had already been living there.

R v D.L. R. v. D.L., 1999 ABPC 41 In R v D.L. (1999 ABPC 41) the phrase “wilfully and without lawful excuse” found in s.446 was at issue. In this case, two individuals were charged under s. 445(a) s.446 (1)(a) for killing a cat after the cats’ owner told them to “get rid of it” which they took to mean kill it. The judge in this case found that having permission to kill an animal was not a sufficient “lawful excuse” and did not lawfully give the authority to cause unnecessary pain and suffering to the animal. The accused was found not guilty on count 1 and guilty on count 2.
Puppies 'N Love, v. City of Phoenix --- F.Supp.3d ----2015 WL 4532586 (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.
Pitts v. State 918 S.W.2d 4 (Tex. App. 1995).

Right of appeal is only available for orders that the animal be sold at public auction. The statutory language does not extend this right to seizure orders.

Perfect Puppy, Inc. v. City of East Providence --- F.Supp.3d ---- Due to public concern about puppy mills, City passed an ordinance banning pet stores located within its limits from selling dogs and cats unless those animals were owned by a city animal shelter or animal control agency, humane society, or non-profit rescue organization and the pet store maintained those animals for the purpose of public adoption. In its Amended Complaint, Plaintiff, a pet store, raised numerous challenges to the ordinance under the Constitutions of the United States and of Rhode Island, claiming that it violated the dormant Commerce Clause, the Contract Clause, the Takings Clause, and Plaintiff's equal protection and due process rights, and that it was preempted by state statute. Plaintiff and Defendant both sought summary judgment to all challenges. Plaintiff's motion was DENIED and Defendant's motion was GRANTED to all counts in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint except Count Three, the Takings claim, which was REMANDED to the Rhode Island Superior Court.
Peoria County v. Capitelli 494 N.E.2d 155 (Ill.App. 3 Dist.,1986)

This Illinois case concerns the appeal of a conviction for allowing a cat to run at large in violation of an ordinance enacted by the plaintiff, Peoria County.  The defendant contends on appeal that the county as a non-home-rule unit of government lacked the authority to enact the ordinance.  The court disagreed, finding the counties were given the express power to establish animal pounds and to dispose of stray animals pursuant to the provisions of the Impounding and Disposition of Stray Animals Act which concerns pet dogs and cats, and the Illinois Animal Control Act, which deals with stray animal control, rabies protection, liability for animal bites and related topics.  More interesting is the dissent's position, which finds that the statute makes no mention of the power to regulate cats.  Moreover, there can be no logical implication of authority to regulate cats running-at-large from the delegation of authority to regulate dogs running-at-large. 

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.
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.
People v. Curtis 944 N.E.2d 806 (Ill.App. 2 Dist., 2011)

Defendant owned five cats and housed 82 feral cats in her home. One of her pet cats developed a respiratory infection and had to be euthanized as a result of unsanitary conditions. Defendant was convicted of violating the duties of an animal owner, and she appealed. The Appellate Court held that the statute requiring animal owners to provide humane care and treatment contained sufficiently definite standards for unbiased application, and that a person of ordinary intelligence would consider defendant's conduct toward her pet cat to be inhumane.

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.

Mostek v. Genesee County Animal Control Slip Copy, 2012 WL 683430 (E.D., Mich. 2012)

Defendant officer removed a gravely-ill cat that needed veterinary care from Plaintiff's backyard. Plaintiff sued alleging Fourth Amendment claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff disclaimed ownership of the cat, thus her property rights were not violated by the seizure. Officer was shielded by the doctrine of qualified immunity, because animal control officers may enter property and remove animals that appear to be in danger.

Missouri Pet Breeders Association v. County of Cook --- F.Supp.3d ----2015 WL 2448332 (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.
Mills v. State 802 S.W.2d 400 (Tex. App. 1991).

In criminal conviction for cruelty to animals, statute requires that sentences arising out of same criminal offenses be prosecuted in single action and run concurrently.

McElroy v. Carter Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2006 WL 2805141 (Tenn.Ct.App.)

In this Tennessee case, a man shot and wounded a cat owned by his neighbor as the animal exited from the bed of the man's prized pickup truck. The cat died from its wounds shortly thereafter. The neighbor sued for the veterinary bills she incurred for treatment of the cat's injuries. The truck owner counter-sued for the damage the cat allegedly caused to his truck by scratching the paint. After a bench trial, the court awarded the truck's owner $6,500 in damages, which it offset by a $372 award to the neighbor for her veterinary bills. The Court of Appeals reversed that decision finding that as a matter of law the cat's owner cannot be held liable for not keeping her cat confined when the damage the cat allegedly caused was not foreseeable.

Maldonado v. Fontanes 568 F.3d 263 (C.A.1 (Puerto Rico),2009)

At issue in this particular opinion is the interlocutory appeal of the Mayor of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico based on the district court's denial of his motion to dismiss on the basis of qualified immunity. This case was initially brought after two successive raids on public housing complexes, within ten days of the Municipality of Barceloneta assuming control of the public housing complexes from the Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration on October 1, 2007. Prior to the raid, the residents, mostly Spanish-speakers, were given notice of the new "no pet policy," which were written in English. During the raids, plaintiffs' pets were seized and then killed by either being slammed against the side of a van or thrown off a 50-foot bridge. This First Circuit affirmed the denial of the Mayor's motion for qualified immunity on the Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claims. However, it reversed the denial of qualified immunity to the Mayor as to the plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process claims and ordered those claims dismissed.

Mahan v. State 51 P.3d 962, 963 (Alaska Ct. App. 2002) Mahan had over 130 animals on her property. Alaska Equine Rescue went to check on the condition of the animals at the request of her family members. The animals were in poor health and were removed by Alaska State Troopers and the Rescue. The animals were then placed in foster homes. The defendant's attorney requested a writ of assistance to require law enforcement to assist and force the foster families to answer a questionnaire. The appellate court held that the families were under no legal obligation to answer the questionnaire unless the court were to issue a deposition order and the families were to be properly subpoenaed. The district court's denial of the writ was upheld. Mahan's attorney also asked for a change of venue due to the publicity the case garnered. The court held the defendant was not entitled to a change of venue when 15 jurors had been excused and there was no reason to doubt the impartiality of the jurors who were left after the selection process. There was no indication that the jurors were unable to judge the case fairly. Mahan's attorney also filed a motion to suppress a majority of the evidence, claiming that the Rescue and law enforcement unlawfully entered the property. The judge stated he would rule on the motion if it was appropriate to do so. The judge never ruled on the motion. To preserve an issue for appeal, the appellant must obtain an adverse ruling, thus it constituted a waiver of the claim. Mahan was also prohibited from owning more than one animal. She offered no reason why this condition of probation was an abuse of the judge's discretion, therefore it was a waiver of this claim. Lastly, although the Rescue received donations from the public to help care for the animals, that did not entitle Mahan to an offset. Restitution is meant to make the victims whole again and also to make the defendant pay for the expense caused by their criminal conduct.
Lockett v. Hill 51 P.3d 5 (Or.App.,2002)

In this Oregon case, plaintiff sued defendant after defendant's pit bulls mauled plaintiff's cat to death while they were running loose on plaintiff's property. The trial court found that defendant was negligent and awarded plaintiffs $1,000 in compensatory damages but denied plaintiffs' claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress and loss of companionship. Plaintiff sought appeal of the trial court's denial of damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) and loss of companionship. The appellate court affirmed, holding that the cat owner was not entitled to recover damages for emotional distress.

Lieberman v. Powers 873 N.E.2d 803 (Mass.App.Ct., 2007)

In this Massachusetts case, Noah Lieberman sustained injuries when he was scratched and bitten by a cat while visiting a “cat lounge” at the Sheldon branch animal shelter, which was operated by the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). Plaintiff alleged that his injuries resulted from the defendants' negligent design and maintenance of the cat lounge. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk reversed the lower court's grant of summary judgment for defendants. Specifically, the court found that the plaintiff has provided sufficient evidence, in the form of expert opinion, that an ordinarily prudent person in the circumstances of this case-which include the defendants' knowledge regarding the behavior (and potential for aggression) of cats-would have taken additional steps to ensure the safety of visitors to the cat lounge. At the very least, the defendants should have foreseen that the small size of the room, as well as the set-up (one food bowl, one litter box, two perches) and unsupervised operation of the cat lounge was such that it was more likely than not to increase stress in cats, which in turn made it more likely than not that the cats would behave aggressively.

Kyles v. Great Oaks Interests (unpublished) Not Reported in Cal.Rptr.3d, 2007 WL 495897 (Cal.App. 6 Dist.)

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

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.

Koivisto v. Davis 745 N.W.2d 824 (Mich.App., 2008)

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

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.

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.

In the Matter of the Application of Richard M. COPLAND, as an Executor of the estate of Lenore Lewis Abels, Deceased 988 N.Y.S.2d 458 Co-executor of an estate petitioned the Westchester County Surrogate's Court for a decree in accordance with EPTL 7–8.1[d] reducing the amount of money to be transferred from the estate to the trustees of a testamentary pet trust established under the decedent's will. Since the decedent gave very specific instructions as to how she wanted her cats to be cared for and the petition was in opposition to the decedent’s wishes, the court denied the reduction.
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. 

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.
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.

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.

Goodby v. Vetpharm, Inc. 974 A.2d 1269 (Vt.,2009)

This Vermont case answered whether noneconomic damages are available when a companion animal dies due to negligent acts of veterinarians and a pharmaceutical company, and also whether a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is allowed for the death of a pet. The Vermont Supreme Court answered both questions in the negative. Plaintiffs' cats died after taking hypertension pills produced by defendant pharmaceutical company Vetpharm, which contained a toxic level of the medication (20 times the labeled dose). After the cats were brought into defendant-veterinarians' office, plaintiff contends that defendant veterinarians negligently or wantonly failed to diagnose the toxicity in the cats, and improperly treated the cats as a result. While the plaintiffs and amici urged the court to adopt a special exception to recover noneconomic damages for the loss of their personal property (to wit, the cats), the court found that to be a role more suited to the state legislature. With regard to the NIED claim, the court held that plaintiffs were never in the "zone of danger" necessary to establish a claim.

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.