Dogs: Related Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Horton v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 559 Fed.Appx. 527 (6th Cir. 2014) Petitioner sold dogs and puppies without an Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) dealer license. An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found the Petitioner violated the AWA and issued a cease and desist order to prevent further violations of the Act and ordered Petitioner to pay $14,430 in civil penalties. Both Petitioner and Respondent, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”), appealed the ALJ's decision to a judicial officer (“JO”), acting for the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, who increased the civil penalties amount from $14,430 to $191,200. Petitioner appealed this decision, alleging that (1) the ALJ and JO erred by failing to determine the willfulness of his actions, and (2) the JO improperly applied the Department's criteria for assessing civil penalties. The 6th Circuit found that since the AWA did not contain a willfulness requirement, the JO's failure to make a willfulness determination was not an abuse of discretion. Further, the 6th Circuit held that the JO's factual findings regarding Petitioner's dog sales were supported by substantial evidence. Lastly, the 6th Circuit held the size of the civil penalty assessed against Petitioner was warranted by law. The court denied the petition for review and affirmed the Secretary's Decision and Order.
Ohio v. George 2014-Ohio-5781 (App. Ct, 2014) Clayton George was convicted of raping two children of his girlfriend, age six and eight at the time of the crime. Among assignments of error on appeal was that the trial court had abused its discretion in allowing Avery, a facility dog, to accompany the two children during their testimony without a showing of necessity. On appeal, the defense argued that (1) unlike the facility dogs in Tohom, Spence, and Dye, Avery was “recognizable on the record while he was in court,” (2) the prosecution failed to show necessity for having Avery at trial, and (3) the standards set in Tohom, Spence, and Dye should have applied to determine whether Avery was permitted at trial. The appellate court noted that the defense had not objected to the presence of the dog during the trial nor had he made these three points at trial, meaning that the appellate court did not need to consider them for the first time on appeal under Ohio appellate law. The assignments of error were all overruled and the judgement of the trial court was affirmed.
BARKING HOUND VILLAGE, LLC., et al. v. MONYAK, et al. 299 Ga. 144, 787 S.E.2d 191 (Ga., 2016) In 2012, Plaintiffs Robert and Elizabeth Monyaks took their dogs Lola and Callie, for ten days to a kennel owned by Defendants Barking Hound Village, LLC (“BHV”) and managed by William Furman. Callie, had been prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug for arthritis pain. However, three days after picking up their dogs from BHV, Lola was diagnosed with acute renal failure and died in March 2013.The Monyaks sued BHV and Furman for damages alleging that while at the kennel Lola was administered toxic doses of the arthritis medication prescribed for Callie. BHV and Furman moved for summary judgment on all the Monyaks' claims asserting that the measure of damages for the death of a dog was capped at the dog's fair market value and the Monyaks failed to prove that Lola had any market value. The Court of Appeals concluded that the proper measure of damages for the loss of a pet is the actual value of the dog to its owners rather than the dog’s fair market value. The court stated that the actual value of the animal could be demonstrated by reasonable veterinary and other expenses incurred by its owners in treating injuries, as well as by other economic factors. However, evidence of non-economic factors demonstrating the dog's intrinsic value to its owners would not be admissible. The Supreme Court of Georgia reversed in part and held that the damages recoverable by the owners of an animal negligently killed by another includes both the animal's fair market value at the time of the loss plus interest, and, in addition, any medical and other expenses reasonably incurred in treating the animal. The Supreme Court reasoned that “[t]he value of [a] dog may be proved, as that of any other property, by evidence that he was of a particular breed, and had certain qualities, and by witnesses who knew the market value of such animal, if any market value be shown.” The Supreme Court also affirmed the Court of Appeals in part and found no error in the court's determination that Georgia precedent does not allow for the recovery of damages based on the sentimental value of personal property to its owner.
Warren v. Delvista Towers Condominium Ass'n, Inc. 49 F.Supp.3d 1082 (S.D. Fla. 2014) In its motion for summary judgment, Defendant argues Plaintiff’s accommodation request under the Federal Fair Housing Act (the “FHA”) to modify Defendant's “no pet” policy was unreasonable because Plaintiff's emotional support animal was a pit bull and pit bulls were banned by county ordinance. In denying the Defendant’s motion, the District Court found that changing a no pets policy for an emotional support animal was a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. The court also found that enforcing the county ordinance would violate the FHA by permitting a discriminatory housing practice. However, in line with US Department of Housing and Urban Development notices, the court found genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether the dog posed a direct threat to members of the condominium association, and whether that threat could be reduced by other reasonable accommodations.
Leigh v. State 58 So. 3d 396 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011) Philip Leigh (Defendant) appeals from an order summarily denying his motion for postconviction relief. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic. Defendant claimed his trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to appear in a leg restraint and for failing to object to the presence of a dog. Apparently, the dog became disruptive on more than one occasion and was visible to the judge and jury. The Florida appellate court reversed and remanded, with a provision that the trial court could attach portions of the record that would refute the possibility that defense counsel’s failure to object to the dog’s presence indicated ineffective assistance of counsel. Since there was apparently no evidence of the dog’s presence in the record at all, the trial court was presumably obligated to conduct an evidentiary hearing on the matter.
Fair Housing of the Dakotas, Inc. v. Goldmark Property Management, Inc. 78 F.Supp.2d 1028 (D.N.D. 2011) Plaintiffs bring this action against Goldmark Property Management alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The alleged discriminatory policy is a mandatory application fee, non-refundable deposit, and monthly charge that Goldmark imposes on tenants with disabilities who reside with a non-specially trained assistance animal (i.e. a companion pet). These same fees are waived for tenants with disabilities who reside with a trained assistance animal (i.e. a seeing eye dog). The FHA encompasses all types of assistance animals regardless of training; therefore, Goldmark's policy implicates the FHA. Further, Plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a prima face case of discrimination and have presented sufficient evidence to create genuine issues for trial on the questions of the necessity and reasonableness of the requested accommodation and whether Goldmark's alleged objective for the policy is permissible under the FHA and not pretextual. Therefore, Goldmark's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. It is granted as to Plaintiffs' claim of disparate treatment because no proof was offered of a discriminatory intent. It is denied as to Plaintiffs' claims of disparate impact and failure to make a reasonable accommodation.
Stevens v. Hollywood Towers and Condominium Ass'n 836 F.Supp.2d 800 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Plaintiffs brought the instant suit contending that their Condo Board's refusal to accommodate the need for an emotional support animal forced them to sell their condo. The Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state claims upon which relief could be granted. After finding that Plaintiffs were not entitled to unrestricted access for their dog despite a no pet waiver and after needing more facts to determine whether Defendants restrictions on Plaintiffs’ access to the building were reasonable, the District Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims under the Federal Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). The District Court also found Plaintiffs' interference or intimidation allegations sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. However, the District Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ nuisance claim because Plaintiffs had not contended that Defendants unreasonably used their own property to interfere in Plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their home, but rather, contended that Defendants made rules that interfered with the Plaintiff's ability to use the common areas of the property as they wished. Plaintiffs’ intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was also dismissed because Plaintiffs had not sufficiently alleged that Defendants' conduct was extreme or outrageous. Finally, the constructive eviction claim was dismissed because more than a year had past between the owners’ accommodation request and the sale of their condominium. In sum, Counts I, II, and III went forward, but the remainder of the complaint was dismissed. Additionally, Defendant Sudler Building Services was dismissed from the complaint.
Travis v. Murray 977 N.Y.S.2d 621 (Sup. Ct. 2013)

A short, childless marriage ended in a custody battle over a dachshund after one spouse allegedly took the dog while the other spouse was away on a business trip. After reviewing the progression of the law in New York and in other states, the court decided to apply a “best for all concerned” standard and to give the parties a full, one-day hearing. The plaintiff’s motion to order the defendant to return the couple's dog and to be awarded “sole residential custody” of the dog was therefore granted.

RSPCA v Harrison (1999) 204 LSJS 345

The respondent was the owner of a dog which was found with skin ulcerations, larval infestations and saturated in urine. On appeal, it was found that the trial judge failed to give proper weight to cumulative circumstantial evidence as to the respondent's awareness of the dog's condition. It was also found that 'illness' was intended to cover a wide field of unhealthy conditions and included the larval infestation. The respondent was convicted and fined.

In re Marriage of Berger and Ognibene-Berger (Decisions Without Published Opinions) 834 N.W.2d 82 (Table) (2013) Joe Berger appeals from the provisions of the decree of divorce from Cira Berger, including the court’s grant of Max, the family golden retriever, to Cira. He argues that it would be more equitable to grant him ownership of Max because Cira already owns another dog, Sophie, and the parties’ son, who lives with Joe, is very attached to Max. The district court made their decision based on which party would be more available to care for the dog. This court affirms that decision, citing evidence that Max is licensed to Cira, only Cira’s name is in the dog’s ‘GEO tracker’ device, and Cira got Max medical attention even when Max was in Joe’s care. The court specified that they need not determine a pet's best interests when deciding custody.
People v. Robards --- N.E.3d ----, 2018 IL App (3d) 150832 This case is an appeal from an animal cruelty conviction against defendant Ms. Regina Robards. She seeks appeal on the grounds that the State failed to prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Robards was charged with aggravated animal cruelty when her two dogs, Walker and Sparky, were discovered in her previous home emaciated, dehydrated, and dead. She had moved out of the home and into Ms. Joachim’s home in July 2014, telling Joachim that she was arranging for the dogs to be taken care of. However, when Joachim went over to the prior home in November 2014, she discovered Walker’s emaciated body on the living room floor. She called the police, who discovered Sparky’s body in a garbage bag in the bedroom. Robards’ conviction required that it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she intentionally committed an act that caused serious injury or death to her two dogs, and failing to seek adequate medical care for them. On appeal, Robards concedes that the dogs both died from dehydration and starvation, and that she was the only person responsible for the dogs’ care. However, she argues that for her conviction to stand, the prosecutor must prove that she intended to cause serious injury or death to the dogs. The court disagrees, stating that for conviction only the act need be intentional, and that the act caused the death or serious injury of an animal. Notably, the court observed that "defendant is very fortunate to have only received a sentence of 12 months' probation for these heinous crimes," and criticized the circuit court for its "unjustly and inexplicably lenient" sentence simply because defendant only caused harm to an animal and not a human being.
People v. Berry 1 Cal. App. 4th 778 (1991)

In a prosecution arising out of the killing of a two-year-old child by a pit bulldog owned by a neighbor of the victim, the owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter (Pen. Code, §   192, subd. (b)), keeping a mischievous animal (Pen. Code, §   399), and keeping a fighting dog (Pen. Code, §   597.5, subd. (a)(1)). The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that an instruction that a minor under the age of five years is not required to take precautions, was proper. The court further held that the trial court erred in defining "mischievous" in the jury instruction, however, the erroneous definition was not prejudicial error under any standard of review. The court also held that the scope of defendant's duty owed toward the victim was not defined by Civ. Code, §   3342, the dog-bite statute; nothing in the statute suggests it creates a defense in a criminal action based on the victim's status as a trespasser and on the defendant's negligence.

Collier v. Zambito 1 N.Y.3d 444 (N.Y. 2004)

Infant child attacked and bit by dog when he was a guest in the owner's home.  After defenses motion for summary judgment was denied, the Appellate Court reversed, and this court affirms.

Yuzon v. Collins 10 Cal.Rptr.3d 18 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.,2004)

In this California case, a dog bite victim sued a landlord, alleging premises liability in landlord's failure to guard or warn against tenants' dangerous dog.  On appeal from an order of summary judgment in favor of the landlords, the Court of Appeal held that the landlord owed no duty of care, as he had no actual knowledge of dog's dangerous propensities and an expert witness's declaration that the landlord should have known of the dog's vicious propensities was insufficient to warrant reconsideration of summary judgment ruling.  The landlord's knowledge that tenants may have a dog because it is allowed through a provision in the lease is insufficient to impute liability where the landlord has no knowledge of any previous attacks or incidents.

Banasczek v. Kowalski 10 Pa. D. & C.3d 94 (1979)

Edward Banasczek (plaintiff) instituted an action in trespass against William Kowalski (defendant) for money damages resulting from the alleged shooting of two of plaintiff's dogs. The court held the following: “[T]he claim for emotional distress arising out of the malicious destruction of a pet should not be confused with a claim for the sentimental value of a pet, the latter claim being unrecognized in most jurisdictions.   Secondly we do not think, as defendant argues, that the owner of the maliciously destroyed pet must have witnessed the death of his or her pet in order to make a claim for emotional distress.” Pennsylvania has summarily rejected a claim for loss of companionship for the death of a dog.  

Free v. Jordan 10 S.W.2d 19 (Ark. 1928)

In a replevin action to recover possession of a lost dog from its finder, the court reversed and remanded the case so a jury could determine whether the statute of limitations was tolled due to the defendant's alleged fraudulent concealment of his possession of the dog.

Faraci v. Urban 101 A.D.3d 1753 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.)

In this New York case, the plaintiff sought damages for injuries his son sustained after the child was bitten by a dog in a house owned by defendant Urban, but occupied by Defendant Buil (the dog's owner). Defendant Urban appeals an order denying her motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Defendant Urban failed to demonstrate as a matter of law that the dog did not have vicious tendencies because defendant's own submissions showed that the dog had previously growled at people coming to the door. However, summary judgment was appropriate here because the evidence failed to show that defendant knew or should have known of the dog's alleged vicious propensities.

Toney v. Glickman 101 F.3d 1236 (8th Cir., 1996) Plaintiffs were in the business of selling animals to research facilities. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that they had committed hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131 et seq. The ALH then imposed what was, to that point, the harshest sanction, $200,000, in the history of the Act. The Judicial Officer affirmed the ALJ's findings and denied the Plaintiffs' request to reopen the hearing for consideration of new evidence. While the 8th Circuit affirmed most of these findings, it held that the evidence did not support all of them. Accordingly, the court remanded the matter to the Department for redetermination of the sanction. The court also affirmed the Judicial Officer's refusal to reopen the hearing and denied the Plaintiffs' Request for Leave to Adduce Additional Evidence. The Plaintiffs were free, however, to seek leave to offer this additional evidence on remand to the extent it was relevant to the sanction.
Town of Bethlehem v. Acker 102 A.3d 107 (Conn. App. 2014) Plaintiffs seized approximately 65 dogs from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut pursuant to a search and seizure warrant that had been issued on facts showing that the dogs, which were being kept in an uninsulated barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, were neglected, in violation of General Statutes § 22–329a. The trial court found that the smaller breed dogs were neglected, but found that larger breed dogs were not. On an appeal by plaintiffs and a cross appeal by defendants, the appeals court found: (1) the trial court applied the correct legal standards and properly determined that the smaller breed dogs were neglected and that the larger breed dogs were not neglected, even though all dogs were kept in a barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) § 22–329a was not unconstitutionally vague because a person of ordinary intelligence would know that keeping smaller breed dogs in an uninsulated space with an interior temperature of approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit would constitute neglect; (3) the trial court did not err in declining to admit the rebuttal testimony offered by the defendants; and (4) the trial court did not err in granting the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief and properly transferred ownership of the smaller breed dogs to the town. The appellate court, however, reversed the judgment of the trial court only with respect to its dispositional order, which directed the parties to determine among themselves which dogs were smaller breed dogs and which dogs were larger breed dogs, and remanded the case for further proceedings, consistent with this opinion.
Kovar v. City of Cleveland 102 N.E.2d 472 (Ohio App. 1951)

This case involved a petition by LaVeda Kovar, et al against the City of Cleveland to obtain an order to restrain the City from disposing of dogs impounded by the City Dog Warden by giving or selling them to hospitals or laboratories for experimental and research purposes.  The Court of Appeals held that the City of Cleveland, both by its constitutional right of home rule and by powers conferred on municipal corporations by statute, had the police power right to provide that no dog should be permitted to run at large unless muzzled, and any dog found at large and unmuzzled would be impounded.  Further, by carrying out the mandate of the city ordinance by disposing of these impounded dogs was simply the performance of a ministerial or administrative duty properly delegated to Director of Public Safety.

White v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Company 106 A.3d 1159 (N.H., 2014) This is an appeal brought by Susan and Peter White to a declaratory judgment that her son, Charles Matthews, was not covered under Susan's homeowner's insurance policy with the respondent.The incident that led to this case involved Matthews' dog causing injury to Susan while at the home covered by the policy. The policy covered the insurer and residents of their home who are relatives, so Susan attempted to collect from Vermont Mutual for the damage done by the dog. However, her claim was denied because Matthews was deemed to not be a resident of the home. This court affirms.
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.
Frank v. Animal Haven, Inc. 107 A.D.3d 574 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,2013.)

Plaintiff was bitten by the dog that she adopted from Animal Haven, Inc. and sued that entity for personal injuries stemming from the bite. In affirming the decision to dismiss the complaint, this court noted that the adopting parties signed a contract a the time of adoption where they undertook a "lifetime commitment" for the responsible care of the dog. While the contract stipulated that Animal Haven had the right to have the dog returned if the plaintiff breached the contract, this did not reserve a right of ownership of the dog. Further, the contract also explicitly relieved Animal Haven of liability once the dog was in the possession of the adoptive parties.

BREEDLOVE v. HARDY 110 S.E. 358 (Va. 1922)

This Virginia case concerned the shooting of plaintiff's companion animal where defendant alleged that the dog was worrying his livestock. The court reversed judgment for defendant, finding that defendant’s act of killing dog while not engaged in the act of “worrying the livestock,” was not authorized within the statute.

Batra v. Clark 110 S.W.3d 126 (Tex.App.-Houston [1 Dist.],2003)

In this Texas case, the appellant-landlord appealed a verdict that found him negligent for injuries suffered by a child visiting a tenant's residence. The lower court found the tenant and landlord each 50% liable for the girl's injuries. The Court of Appeals, in an issue of first impression, if a landlord has actual knowledge of an animal's dangerous propensities and presence on the leased property, and has the ability to control the premises, he or she owes a duty of ordinary care to third parties who are injured by this animal. In the present facts, the court found that Bantra had no duty of care because there was no evidence showing that Batra either saw the dog and knew that it was a potentially vicious animal or identified the dog's bark as the bark of a potentially vicious animal. The judgment was reversed.

Dreyer v. Cyriacks 112 Cal.App. 279 (1931) Plaintiffs brought action against Defendant for damages after Defendant shot and killed Plaintiffs’ dog.   The Trial Court set aside a jury verdict granting Plaintiffs $100,000 in actual and $25,000 in punitive damages, on the ground that the verdict was excessive.   On appeal, the District Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, affirmed the Trial Court decision, finding that the Trial Court was justified in holding that both the actual and punitive damages awards were grossly excessive, given the circumstances under which the incident occurred.   In making its decision, the Court of Appeal pointed out that, although this particular dog had been in the motion picture industry, dogs are nonetheless considered property, and as such, are to be ascertained in the same manner as other property, and not in the same manner as human life.
Ammon v. Welty 113 S.W.3d 185 (Ky.App.,2002)

In this Kentucky case, the plaintiffs brought an action against the county dog warden for shooting their dog. Before the statutorily imposed 7-day waiting limit had expired, the warden euthanized the dog by shooting him in the head. The Court of Appeals held that while a family dog can be beloved by a family, loss of the pet does not support an action for loss of consortium. Further, the dog warden was not liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress because his actions did not rise to the outrageous level where the dog was not shot in the presence of the family and there was no evidence that Brewer intended to inflict emotional harm.

People v. Sanchez 114 Cal. Rptr. 2d 437 (Cal. App. 2001)

Defendant on appeal challenges six counts of animal cruelty. The court affirmed five counts which were based on a continuing course of conduct and reversed one count that was based upon evidence of two discrete criminal events.

Keith v. Commonwealth ex rel. Pennsylvania, Department of Agriculture 116 A.3d 756 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2015) This case focuses on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's preliminary objection that Petitioners' had taxpayer standing to request injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that regulations promulgated by the Department were in conflict with the mandates set forth in the Pennsylvania Dog Law Act. Petitioners asserted that the Department was not authorized to exempt nursing mothers from the statutory ban on metal strand flooring and from the statutory requirement of unfettered access to exercise areas. Department argued that Petitioners had not pled sufficient facts to show that those directly and immediately affected by the regulations were beneficially affected. The court found Petitioners were at least as well inclined and situated as any other entities to challenge regulations that might be in conflict with those provisions. The court therefore overruled the Department's preliminary objections to Petitioners' standing.
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.
Mitchell v. State 118 So.3d 295 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2013)

The defendant in this case was convicted of animal cruelty for injuries his dog sustained after his dog bit him. Upon appeal, the court found that the prosecutor had erred by framing the argument in a manner that improperly shifted the burden of proof from whether the defendant had intentionally and maliciously inflicted injuries on the dog to whether the State's witnesses were lying. Since the court found this shift in burden was not harmless, the court reversed and remanded the defendant's conviction.

Smith v. Kopynec 119 So.3d 835 (La.App. 1 Cir.,2013)

The plaintiff appeals the lower court's dismissal of her claims against defendant-landowners and their insurers. The plaintiff was injured (for the second time) by the defendant-landowners' son's pitbull while walking past their home. While it was undisputed that the landowners did not own the dog, the issue was whether they had a duty to prevent the attack via "custodial liability." Here, the defendant-landowners asserted that they thought the son had gotten rid of the dog after it was confiscated and quarantined by animal control after it first attacked the plaintiff. Thus, this court found that defendant-landowners did not know of the dog's presence on their property and affirmed the trial court's order of summary judgment.

Lesher v. Reed 12 F.3d 148 (8th Cir. 1994)

Seizure of pet dog violated Fourth Amendment where police acted unreasonably in going to canine police officer's house to seize the dog after the dog bit a child.

Storms v. Fred Meyer Stores, Inc. 120 P.3d 126 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2005)

This Washington discrimination case was brought by a dog owner (Storms) with psychiatric conditions against a store and its managers who refused to allow her to stay in store with her alleged service dog. The dog was trained to  put herself between Storms and other people so as to keep an open area around Storms and alleviate her anxiety (a symptom of her post-traumatic stress syndrome). The appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of discrimination against Fred Meyer for refusing to allow her to shop accompanied by her dog. Testimony showed that Brandy had been specifically trained to help Storms with her particular disability by placing herself in between Storms and others in a way that alleviated her anxiety, which was further corroborated by testimony that Brandy engaged in such behavior. Thus, evidence showed that the defendants' violated RCW 49.60.215 by not allowing Storms to do her own shopping within the store because she was accompanied by a service animal.

Dempsey v. Rosenthal 121 Misc.2d 612 (N.Y. 1983)

A buyer of a poodle brought an action against a kennel, seeking to recover purchase price on ground that poodle was "defective" due to an undescended testicle.  The buyer argued that the kennel had breached implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The Civil Court of the City of New York held that since the contract of sale did not exclude or modify implied warranty of merchantability, it carried with it such a warranty.  In light of this, the poodle was not a merchantable good because a poodle with an undescended testicle would not pass without objection in the trade.  Further, the kennel breached the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose since the kennel was aware that the buyer wanted a dog for breeding purposes.  This case is also significant because the court also held that a buyer's opportunity to examine the dog when purchasing it does not defeat a warranty claim.  Indeed, the type of examination would not be undertaken by a casual buyer of a male puppy.  The court allowed buyer to revoke her acceptance of the dog and receive her purchase price.

Chavez v. Aber 122 F. Supp. 3d 581 (W.D. Tex. 2015) Plaintiffs sought damages stemming from Defendants' refusal to accommodate Plaintiffs’ minor son's mental health disabilities by allowing Plaintiffs to keep a mixed-breed pit bull as an emotional support animal in their rented duplex. Plaintiffs asserted (1) housing discrimination under the Federal Housing Act (“FHA”), (2) unlawful retaliation under the FHA, (3) discrimination under the Texas Fair Housing Act (“TFHA”), and (4) unlawful retaliation under § 92.331 of the Texas Property Code. Defendants filed the Motion, seeking dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). The court found Plaintiffs had adequately pleaded all claims and denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss.
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.

Youngstown v. Traylor 123 Ohio St.3d 132, 914 N.E.2d 1026 (Ohio,2009) Defendant was charged with two misdemeanors after his unrestrained Italian Mastiff/Cane Corso dogs attacked a wire fox terrier and its owner.   Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him, arguing that YCO 505.19(b) is unconstitutional and a violation of his procedural due process rights.   The Supreme Court of Ohio held that the Youngstown municipal ordinance was constitutional because it was “rationally related to the city's legitimate interest in protecting citizens from vicious dogs,” provided “the dog owner with a meaningful opportunity to be heard on the dog's classification,” and did not “label dogs as dangerous or vicious” solely based on their breed type.
People v. Brunette 124 Cal.Rptr.3d 521 (Cal.App. 6 Dist.)

Defendant was convicted of animal cruelty, and was ordered to pay restitution to the Animal Services Authority (“Authority”) that cared for the dogs. The appellate court held that the imposition of an interest charge on the restitution award was not authorized by the statutes. It also held that the Authority was an indirect victim, and was not entitled to direct victim restitution. The Court held that the trial court had discretion to decline to apply comparative fault principles to apportion defendant's liability for restitution and also acted within its discretion in declining to apply an offset for adoption fees the Authority might have collected against the restitution award.

Lawson v. Pennsylvania SPCA 124 F. Supp. 3d 394 (E.D. Pa. 2015) Upon an investigation of numerous complaints, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty obtained a warrant and searched plaintiffs’ house. As a result, plaintiffs were charged with over a hundred counts that were later withdrawn. Plaintiffs then filed the present case, asserting violations of their federal constitutional rights, as well as various state-law tort claims. Defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming qualified immunity. The district court granted the motion in part as to: (1) false arrest/false imprisonment, malicious prosecution of one plaintiff and as to 134 of the charges against another plaintiff, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and invasion of privacy; and (2) to the following claims in Count One: verbal abuse, security of person and property, false arrest/false imprisonment, due process and equal protection, and failure to train or discipline as the result of a policy or custom. The District Court denied the motion with respect to (1) the following claim in Count One: unreasonable search and seizure and the individual defendants' request for qualified immunity in connection with that claim; and (2) with respect to one plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim, but only to the charge relating to the puppy's facial injuries.
Lawrence v. North Country Animal Control Center, Inc 126 A.D.3d 1078, 5 N.Y.S.3d 558 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015) Plaintiffs adopted a basset hound from animal control despite the fact that the dog had been turned over by a prior owner to be euthanized. The basset hound, who attacked the plaintiffs on three different occasions without injury, attacked plaintiffs' other dog. When one plaintiff tried to separate the dogs, the basset hound attacked him. Defendant removed the basset hound from the home that same day and refused to return the dog to the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs commenced this action seeking to recover damages for injuries, asserting causes of action for, among other things, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, products liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On appeal from the New York Supreme Court decision, the appellate court found that under the circumstances, issues of fact exist as to whether plaintiffs reasonably relied on defendants' misrepresentation and whether plaintiffs could have discovered the dog’s dangerous nature with due diligence. The appellate court also found that the contract clause at issue did not preclude plaintiffs from recovering for negligence because it did not “advise the signor that the waiver extended to claims that might arise from the defendant's own negligence.” The appellate court did, however, find that plaintiffs did not satisfy the “rigorous ... and difficult to satisfy requirements for a viable cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress.” The court also found that sanctions were not warranted.
Mansour v. King County 128 P.3d 1241 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2006)

King County Animal Control issued an order requiring that Mansour to remove his dog from King County or give her up to be euthanized. On appeal, Mansour argued that the Board hearing violated his due process rights. The court of appeals agreed, finding that in order for Mansour, or any other pet owner, to effectively present his case and rebut the evidence against him, due process requires that he be able to subpoena witnesses and records.

Price v. Brown, V.M.D. 131 Montg. Co. L. R. 150 (1994) Plaintiff's bull dog went to defendant veterinarian for surgery to correct a prolapsed urethra. The dog died a few days later. The plaintiff then sought to recover the value of the dog on a strict theory of bailment. Defendant filed a preliminary objection asserting that this doctrine was inapplicable and could not afford relief. The court held that the plaintiff had failed to state a claim from which relief could be sought and dismissed the complaint. The court, however, allowed the plaintiff to amend the compliant.In holding to sustain the defendant's preliminary objection, the court reasoned that since veterinarians are part of a professional discipline, in order to recover damages for the injury or the death to an animal entrusted to a veterinarian's care, a plaintiff must prove professional negligence instead of a bailiff arrangement.
Burgess v. Shampooch Pet Industries, Inc. 131 P.3d 1248 (Kan.App., 2006)

This Kansas case presents an issue of first impression as to the proper measure of damages recoverable for injury to a pet dog.  The plaintiff's dog, a 13-year old dog of negligible market value, suffered a dislocated hip after being groomed at defendant's establishment.  The appellate court found the lower court's award of damages based on the veterinary bills was proper where the bills were not disputed and represented an easily ascertainable measure.  Specifically, the court held that  when an injured pet dog with no discernable market value is restored to its previous health, the measure of damages may include, but is not limited to, the reasonable and customary cost of necessary veterinary care and treatment. The court was unconvinced by defendant's "hyperbolic" claim that such an award would lead to a floodgate of high-dollar litigation on behalf of animals with low market values.

Jackson v. Georgalos 133 A.D.3d 719 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015) Plaintiff appealed an order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The personal injury action arises from an incident where defendants' dog, who was barking at the time, jumped on the screen door causing the door to open, whereupon the dog ran out of the house. When the plaintiff turned to get away from the dog, her ankle twisted, causing her to fall on the steps and become injured. To recover in New York on such an action, a plaintiff must prove that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner of the dog, or a person in control of the premises where the dog was, knew or should have known of such propensities. The court held that plaintiff did not raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant was aware of the dog's alleged propensity to run out of the house and chase after people. Defendants' motion summary judgment and dismissal was affirmed.
Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools 137 S.Ct. 743 (U.S., 2017)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) offers federal funds to States in exchange for “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to children with certain disabilities. The Act also establishes formal administrative procedures for resolving disputes between parents and schools. When trained service dog, Wonder, attempted to join Plaintiff E.F. in kindergarten, officials at Ezra Eby Elementary School refused. Plaintiff E.F. is a child with severe cerebral palsy; Wonder assists her with various daily life activities. E.F.'s parents, Plaintiffs Stacy and Brent Fry, removed E.F. from the school and filed a complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The Plaintiffs claimed that the exclusion of E.F.'s service dog violated her rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. OCR agreed, and school officials invited E.F. to return to the school. Yet, the Plaintiffs filed suit in federal court against the Defendants, Ezra Eby's local and regional school districts, and the principal, (collectively, the school districts). In the federal suit, Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants violated Title II and § 504 and sought declaratory and monetary relief. The Defendant school districts filed a motion to dismiss. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted the motion. The Plaintiffs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit where the District Court's motion to dismiss was affirmed. Certiorari was granted. The Supreme Court of the United States vacated and remanded. The Supreme Court held that, on remand, the Appeals Court should: (1) establish whether (or to what extent) the plaintiff parents invoked the IDEA's dispute resolution process before bringing this suit; and (2) decide whether Plaintiffs' actions reveal that the gravamen of their complaint is indeed the denial of FAPE. The court reasoned that Exhaustion of the IDEA's administrative procedures is unnecessary where the gravamen of the Plaintiffs' suit is something other than the denial of the IDEA's core guarantee of a FAPE.

White v Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y 138 A.D.3d 1470 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016) Plaintiff, Rosemary White brought action against the Defendant, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church seeking damages for injuries she sustained when she was bitten by a priests’ dog, at premises owned by the church. White brought the action claiming negligent supervision and retention of the priest who owned dog. The church moved to dismiss, and White moved for summary judgment. The New York Supreme Court, Erie County, granted the church's motion for dismissal, and denied White’s motion. White appealed and the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the church was not liable for negligent supervision or retention of the priest. The Appellate Division, reasoned that the Supreme Court, Erie County, properly granted the church’s motion to dismiss White’s complaint for failure to state a cause of action. The Court stated that to the extent White alleged a theory of negligent supervision and retention of the priest in her bill of particulars, the “purpose of the bill of particulars is to amplify the pleadings . . . , and [it] may not be used to supply allegations essential to a cause of action that was not pleaded in the complaint.” Therefore, the order from the Supreme Court was affirmed.
Davis v. Gaschler 14 Cal.Rptr.2d 679 (Cal.App.3.Dist.)

In this California case, plaintiff noticed two women in the process of assisting an injured dog, which was owned by defendants, while driving down the road. Plaintiff, an experienced dog breeder and handler, assisted the women and was bitten by plaintiff's dog. The dog had not been vaccinated for rabies, and plaintiff was required to undergo antirabies treatment. Plaintiff sought appeal of the lower court's granting of summary judgment for the defendant. The Court of Appeal reversed. It held that defendants had the burden to establish that this was a case of primary assumption of the risk-where, by virtue of the nature of the activity and the parties' relationship to the activity, defendants owed no legal duty to plaintiff. The court held that the complaint alleged facts sufficient to impose a duty on the part of defendants, based on allegations that they owned and negligently controlled the dog that bit plaintiff.

Priebe v. Nelson 140 P.3d 848 (Cal. 2006)

A kennel worker who was bitten by a dog while the dog was in the care of the kennel sued the owner of the dog under a theory of strict liability under a statute and under the common law. The court found that the dog owner was not liable to the kennel worker because under the "veterinarian's rule," the kennel owner had assumed the risk of being bitten by the dog.

ELLIS v. OLIPHANT 141 N.W. 415 (1913)

Plaintiff's dog was killed by defendant after defendant set traps out on his farm to catch the dogs that had been injuring his sheep. There was no claim that plaintiff's dog was caught in the act of chasing or worrying sheep. There was testimony at trail that showed plaintiff's dog was a very valuable one, highly trained, and greatly efficient about the farm; some of the witnesses testifying that he was worth at least $200. The trial court instructed the jury that defendant had no right, under the circumstances shown, to trap and shoot the dog, and the case was submitted to the jury for it to find the value of the dog. This reviewing court found no error and affirmed the judgment for the value of the dog, which was above traditional market value.

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