Cats: Related Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Wildlife in Need & Wildlife in Deed, Inc. Slip Copy, 2018 WL 828461 (S.D. Ind. Feb. 12, 2018) In this case, the Plaintiff (PETA) filed a complaint for injunctive relief against the Defendants (WIN) alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) relating to the declawing of the Defendants' captive Big Cats (lions, tigers, and hybrids). WIN operates as a AWA-USDA licensed wildlife exhibitor and charges the public a fee to directly interact with the Big Cat Cubs. Notably, the court indicates that WIN has been cited for more than 50 times for failing to meet minimum standards under the AWA. Defendants "routinely" declaw the Big Cats, not out of medical necessity, but because it "makes them easier to handle." Testimony showed that two Big Cat Cubs died as the result of complications from declawing and Defendants do not provide post-surgical pain medication or antibiotics. In October of 2017, the court issued a temporary restraining order preventing Defendants from declawing, and, the following December, Plaintiffs filed the present Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The court held a hearing in January 2018 in which the court heard evidence and arguments. In reviewing the factors supporting issuance of a preliminary injunction, the court found there was a likelihood of success in proving the declawing and baby cat "play" time constituted takings under the ESA. In addition, there were no adequate remedies available at law and the court held irreparable harm would result from the declaws. Thus, the court GRANTED Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.
DeLany v. Kriger Slip Copy, 2019 WL 1307453 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 20, 2019) This unpublished Tennessee case concerns a veterinary negligence action. The owners of a cat filed a wrongful death complaint against the cat's veterinarian and animal hospital after the cat was killed when the veterinarian wrongly placing a feeding tube into the cat's trachea rather than her esophagus, causing the cat to aspirate and die when she was fed through the tube. The trial court held that the defendants were not liable because the cat was so ill she was likely to die anyway, and thus dismissed the complaint. The cat was 10-years old when she was brought in because she was acting a "little slow" and had not eaten in a couple days. Through discovery and at trial, it was observed that the cat had a septic abscess on her liver with a 79% mortality rate. On appeal here, this court first took issue with the trial court's finding for causation in the negligence analysis. This court found that the evidence was "undisputed" that the cat died as a result of the improperly placed feeding tube, which was further supported by x-rays showing the feeding tube in the trachea rather than the esophagus. Because the trial court did not find causation, damages were not addressed. Here, the court noted that domestic pets are considered private property in Tennessee. The law is settled that a pet owner can recover for the wrongful death of his or her pet in the state. Further, Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-17-403 provides that a dog or cat owner is entitled to recover up to $5,000 in noneconomic damages for "the unlawful and intentional, or negligent, act of another or the animal of another . . ." but that no award of noneconomic damages is permitted in “an action for professional negligence against a licensed veterinarian.” While Mr. DeLany testified he considered the cat's fair market value at $5,000, another veterinarian joined as a defendant testified that a healthy cat has a value of around $75 and a sick cat has a value of $0.40. The appellate court stated that the calculation of damages is a matter for the fact-finder, and the case was remanded to the trial court to determine the appropriate amount of economic damages. This would include, but not be limited to, the medical bills incurred for Callie's treatment and the cost of replacing Callie, said the court.
Theis v. Yuba County Sheriff's Department Slip Copy, 2019 WL 3006261 (E.D. Cal. July 10, 2019) The Plaintiffs allege that their cat, named Pizza, was unlawfully euthanized at Yuba County Animal Care Services shelter in Olivehurst, California on or about February 9, 2018. Pizza went missing on or about February 9, 2018 and Plaintiffs found out later that same day that a neighbor had found the cat and brought it to the Yuba County animal shelter. The Plaintiffs attempted to contact the shelter, but it had already closed for the evening. The next morning around 9:30 a.m., the Plaintiffs arrived at the shelter and learned that Pizza had been euthanized as early as 5:00 p.m. the night before. Defendant Barnhill, the shelter’s supervising officer, informed the Plaintiff’s that Pizza had been injured, however, the neighbor who brought the cat to the shelter without knowing it was the Plaintiffs’ described Pizza as looking healthy. The Plaintiffs contend that Pizza’s euthanization falls within an ongoing pattern and practice of abuse and failure to follow state and federal law. Plaintiffs filed their original complaint on October 1, 2018. The Defendants removed the case to federal court. Plaintiff’s asserted four claims in their First Amended Complaint: (1) the failure to perform mandatory duties in violation of California Government Code section 815.6, (2) petition for a writ of mandate under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1085, (3) violation of the plaintiff’s Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, (4) negligence under California common law. The Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint and alleged that the Plaintiff’s did not plead facts sufficient to show that Barnhill engaged in unlawful conduct or to establish a substantive or procedural due process violation. The Court, however, granted the Plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint as to the section 1983 claim. The Court declined to assert supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, which were the Plaintiff’s first, second, and fourth claims since the Plaintiff’s had conceded that their federal claim by requesting to amend their complaint. As a result, the Court reviewed remaining claims to determine whether they may be included in any amended complaint or whether leave to amend would be futile. The Court determined that granting Plaintiff’s leave to file a second amended complaint would not be futile on all of their claims except for the petition for writ of mandate claim. California’s Civil Procedure Code section 1085 does not apply to federal courts and, therefore, the Plaintiff’s leave to amend this claim would be futile. Ultimately, the Court ordered Plaintiff’s third cause of action for violations of their Fourteenth Amendment substantive and procedural due process rights be dismissed with leave to amend, the Plaintiff’s state law claims in their first, second, and fourth causes of action be dismissed with leave to amend to the extent consistent with the order, and denied the Defendant's motions to strike Plaintiffs' punitive damages claim. Plaintiffs were required to file a second amended complaint within 21 days of the date the order was filed if they wished to amend their complaint.
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.

Dart v Singer [2010] QCA 75

The applicants pleaded guilty to a number of charges under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) following the seizure of 113 live dogs, one cat, 488 rats, 73 mice, 12 guinea pigs and 11 birds from their premises due to unsanitary and inappropriate living conditions. The applicants claimed that RSPCA officers were acting ultra vires and that a stay preventing the RSCPA from parting with the animals should be effected. The applicants' argument failed.

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