Dogs: Related Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
In re Capers' Estate 34 Pa. D. & C.2d 121 (Pa.Orph.) (1964)

In this Pennsylvania case, the testatrix directed in her will that her Irish setter dogs to be destroyed in a humane manner. The executors were unsure of what action to take and sought declaratory relief. In attempting to construe the testatrix's intent, the court found that she "evidently feared that either they would grieve for her or that no one would afford them the same affection and kindness that they received during her life." The court found that the intent of testatrix would be carried out if her two favored Irish setters were placed in an environment where they are given the same care and attention that she she gave them during her life. The final question the court grappled with was whether it was against public policy to hold valid a clause in a will directing the summary destruction of certain of decedent's property after her death. The court held that the clause was void as not being within the purview of the Wills Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and being against the public policy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Rabon v. City of Seattle (II) 34 P.3d 821 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2001)

This Washington case constitutes plaintiff's second appeal in extended litigation aimed at preventing the City of Seattle from destroying his dogs after a jury convicted him of the criminal charge of owning vicious dogs. The case began when Rabon filed a civil suit seeking an injunction against having his dogs destroyed.  This present appeal is from an order dismissing his constitutional claims against the City on summary judgment.  In affirming the order of summary judgment, this court held that a person's interest in keeping a vicious dog as a pet is not so great as to require a more careful procedure than is provided by Seattle's administrative and hearing process. The fact that plaintiff did not have a right to an immediate pre-deprivation hearing before the dogs were seized and impounded is justified by the strong public interest in prompt action to prevent more attacks. 

Butcher v. Gay 34 Cal.Rptr.2d 771 (Cal.App.5.Dist.)

Plaintiff alleged that she had contracted Lyme disease "as a result of exposure to infested ticks" on respondent's property, and that respondent had "failed to spray the area, post signs or prevented [sic] domestic dog(s) from coming into contact with the plaintiff - jumping in her lap - thereby exposing her to a vector of the disease without her knowledge. Court found no duty toward the plaintiff and allow the motion for summary judgment against the plaintiff to stand.

People v. Strobridge 339 N.W.2d 531 (Mich.App.,1983)

In this Michigan case, the defendant appealed his conviction of keeping more than three dogs on his premises without a kennel license in violation of Grandville ordinances, § 21, No. 159-A.  On appeal, defendant asserted that the trial court improperly denied his “nonconforming use” defense; that is, he claimed the ordinance at issue was a zoning ordinance rather than a regulatory ordinance.   Relying on a case that held that prior nonconforming use (where a person has been using property in a nonconforming way prior to the adoption of the zoning ordinance), the court found that indeed defendant was entitled to present such a defense, as he owned the dogs on the property prior to adoption of the ordinance.  Defendant next argued that the trial court erred in ruling that the ordinance was a constitutional exercise of the city's police power.  While the court observed that criminal ordinances are to be more strictly construed than ordinances involving a civil penalty, it still found that the ordinance at issue was a valid exercise of police power, especially considering that a previous case had upheld a similar ordinance that limited ownership to only two dogs.

Swanson v. Tackling 335 Ga. App. 810 (2016) This is an interlocutory appeal by the dog owners (the Swansons) in a personal injury lawsuit for a dog bite. The court in this case overruled the lower court’s ruling that the defendant was not entitled to summary judgement after defendant’s dog bit a child but the dog had never shown a propensity to injure anyone prior to the incident. Plaintiff was suing defendant after defendant’s dog bit plaintiff’s child on the arm and head. Plaintiff argued that defendant is responsible for the injuries caused by the dog because the defendant neglected to properly restrain the dog. The court reversed the lower court’s decision and held in favor of defendant, stating that there was no evidence that was presented to indicate that defendant could have or should have known that the dog would act in this way towards the child. In order to prevail, the plaintiff needed to present evidence that the dog had acted in a similar way in the past.
Wyno v. Lowndes County 331 Ga. App. 541, 771 S.E.2d 207 (2015), cert. denied (June 15, 2015) Victim was attacked and killed by her neighbor's dog. Victim's husband, acting individually and as administrator of his wife's estate, brought action against dog owners and several government defendants, whom he alleged failed to respond to earlier complaints about the dog. The trial court dismissed the action against the government for failure to state a claim, concluding that sovereign and official immunity or, alternatively, the Responsible Dog Ownership Law (OCGA § 4–8–30), barred action against the government defendants. Husband appealed. The appeals court held the trial court did not err in dismissing the action against the county and its employees in their official capacities. The former version of OCGA § 4–8–30, effective at the time of the attack, provided immunity to local governments and their employees from liability for all injuries inflicted by dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs. The appeals court held that the trial court erred in dismissing the action against the employees in their individual capacities based on official immunity, however. By applying the former OCGA § 4–8–30 (2012) to dismiss the action against the employees in their individual capacities, the trial court implicitly rejected the husband’s constitutional challenge to the statute. Judgment was therefore affirmed in part and reversed in part, and remanded to the trial court to enter a ruling specifically and directly passing on the husband’s constitutional challenge.
State v. Chilinski 330 P.3d 1169 (Mont. 2014) After a call reporting the poor health of over 100 dogs at a large Malamute breeding operation and the recruitment of the Humane Society of the United States, including several volunteers, to help execute a warrant, defendant was charged with one misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals and 91 counts of felony cruelty to animals pursuant to § 45–8–211, MCA. Defendant was convicted by a jury of 91 counts of animal cruelty and sentenced to the Department of Corrections for a total of 30 years with 25 years suspended. A prohibition from possessing any animals while on probation was also imposed on the defendant, as well as an order to forfeit every seized dog and all puppies born after the execution of the warrant. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Montana, defendant argued the District Court erred in denying his motion to suppress the evidence obtained from the search on Fourth Amendment grounds. The Supreme Court held, however, that the search warrant authorizing seizure of “any and all dogs” and “any and all records pertaining to dogs” was not impermissibly overbroad; that the participation by civilian volunteers and Humane Society personnel in execution the warrant was not prohibited by the Fourth Amendment or the Montana Constitution; and that the use of civilian volunteers to assist in execution of search did not violate defendant's right to privacy. The Supreme Court therefore held that the lower court did not err in denying the motion to suppress the evidence. Next, the defendant argued that the District Court abused its discretion when it improperly determined that the results of an investigation of his kennels in 2009 were irrelevant pursuant to M.R. Evid. 403. The court, however, agreed with the District Court, despite defendant's claim that 2009 inspection would show that the poor conditions of the kennels and the dogs in 2011 were justified due to economic hardship and health issues. Finally, defendant argued that the District Court was not authorized to order forfeiture of the defendant’s dogs that were not identified as victims of animal cruelty. The Supreme Court, however, held that the statute authorizing forfeiture of “any animal affected” as part of sentence for animal cruelty did not limit forfeiture of defendant's dogs to only those that served as basis for underlying charges, nor did it implicate the defendant's right to jury trial under the Apprendi case. The Supreme Court therefore held that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in requiring the defendant to forfeit all of his dogs. The lower court’s decision was affirmed.
Altman v. City of High Point 330 F.3d 194 C.A.4 (N.C. 2003)

This case arises out of several shooting incidents in the City of High Point, North Carolina.  In each incident, a High Point animal control officer shot and killed one or more dogs that were running at large in the city. Plaintiffs, the owners of the animals, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officers' actions violated their Fourth Amendment rights.  The Court of Appeals concluded that the dogs at issue in this case do qualify as property protected by the Fourth Amendment and that the officers seized that property. However, because in each instance the seizure involved was reasonable, it concluded that the officers did not violate the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights.

Rotunda v. Haynes 33 Misc.3d 68 (App. Term 2011) The plaintiff in this case filed suit against the defendant, a dog breeder, to recover medical fees after receiving a dog that had a “severe genetic heart defect.” The dog was purchased by a third party and given to plaintiff as a gift. The court in this case held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law or the Uniform Commercial Code. The court held that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages under the General Business Law because the dog was not actually purchased by plaintiff. In addition, the plaintiff was not entitled to recover under the Uniform Commercial Code because plaintiff was unable to establish “privity with the defendant or personal injuries arising from the alleged defect,” which are required in order to recover damages. The judgment was affirmed.
Legro v. Robinson 328 P.3d 238, aff'd but criticized (Colo.App., 2012)

While participating in a bicycle race on Forest Service lands, plaintiff (Legro) was attacked seriously injured by defendants' (Robinsons') dogs. The Robinsons held a grazing permit from the Forest Service for the land where the injury occurred and the dogs were acting as predator control dogs there. On appeal, this court agreed with the lower court that the Robinsons were landowners for purposes of the Premises Liability Act (PLA) and this did in fact abrogate the plaintiffs' common law claims. However, as a matter of first impression, the court  determined that the PLA does not abrogate the statutory dog bite claim. As to the predator control dog exception, the court found that while the dogs were working as predator control dogs, the issue is whether the dogs were on property "under the control of" the Robinsons at the time. Under these facts, a grazing permit, without more, does not establish control for the predator dog exception of the dog bite law.

Oak Creek Whitetail Ranch, L.L.C. v. Lange 326 S.W.3d 549 (Mo.App. E.D., 2010)

A Missouri statute places liability on a dog owner where such dog kills or maims a sheep or "other domestic animal" of another. On December 10, 2006, three dogs of Defendant Glendon Lange entered Oak Creek’s deer breeding farm and killed 21 of Oak Creek's "breeder deer." The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, disagreed with the trial court, finding that "domestic" should have been interpreted by the "plain meaning" of the word, which therefore includes Oak Creek’s breeder deer.

Queen v. State 325 So. 3d 656 (Miss. 2021) Defendant Tommie Queen was convicted of three counts of dog fighting contrary to Mississippi law. The resulting conviction began with in 2017 after a sheriff's officer received a call about dogs barking and possibly fighting. After being dispatched to defendant's property, the officer encountered multiple dogs on chains and dogs that were actively fighting each other. The officer obtained a search warrant and seized numerous items including heavy logging chains, bite sticks, intravenous (IV) bags containing saline, medicine bottles, vials of vitamins, muscle milk and other muscle-building items, several scales, and a treadmill. Approximately five or six badly injured dogs were taken to a veterinarian and humanely euthanized. The veterinarian visited the property the next day and euthanized three more dogs that were seriously injured. Defendant was convicted on three of the nine indicted counts of animal fighting and sentenced to three years on each count to run consecutively. On appeal here, defendant raised three issues: (1) whether the trial court erred by tendering Kyle Held as an expert in the field of animal cruelty and dog fighting; (2) whether the State presented sufficient evidence to convict Queen of dog fighting; and (3) whether the trial court erred by denying Queen's motion to recuse. As to the first issue on qualification of the expert witness, the proffered expert, Kyle Held, had been employed by the ASPCA for approximately ten years as the director of investigations. Not only was Held certified by the National Animal Control Association, but he had investigated dog fighting operations "probably a few hundred" times according to his testimony. This included the largest organized dog fighting seizure in history. Moreover, Held indicated he testified in approximately 100 animal cruelty or animal fighting cases and has been qualified as an expert six times in previous dog fighting cases. While defendant argued that Held should not be qualified as an expert because he did not hold any college degrees, this court found that argument without merit. Defendant's second argument challenged the sufficiency of the prosecution's evidence to support conviction. In particular, defendant notes that the evidence was only circumstantial and no direct evidence showed that defendant was present when the dogs were fighting and injured. However, the court noted that defendant did not dispute that he was the owner of the property where the dogs were recovered (and over 40 other dogs found) and evidence of dog fighting (heavy logging chains, bite sticks, intravenous bags, scales, weight gain powders, treadmills, etc.) were found there. Based on Held's observations, training, and experience, Queen's property was used as a dog-fighting training yard. Further, the veterinarian who performed euthanasia on the dogs testified that there were bite wounds consistent with dog fighting This Court observed that it previously recognized that things like treadmills, dietary supplements, and break sticks of indicative of dog fighting enterprises. Finally, the way the dogs were tied out in the yard with the chains and minimal space between the dogs is “typical on almost every yard that [he] had been on” and was indicative of dog fighting training. Defendant's last contention is that the trial court erred by denying his motion for recusal because Judge Debra Blackwell was previously employed as an assistant attorney general in the district where defendant's indictment was returned. The court found no evidence that created a reasonable doubt as to the validity of the presumption that Judge Blackwell was both qualified and unbiased. Defendant's convictions and sentences were affirmed.
State v. Taylor 322 S.W.3d 722 (Tex.App.-Texarkana,2010)

Defendant was charged with a violation of Section 822.005(a)(2) of the Texas Health and Safety Code - the dog attack statute. The trial court dismissed the indictment stating that Section 822.005(a)(2) was unconstitutional because it fails to set forth any required culpable mental state. The Court of Appeals, however, found that the statute was constitutional because it does set forth a culpable mental state. "[B]oth the plain language of Sections 822.005(a)(2) and 822.042 impose upon the owner of a dangerous dog the duty to restrain or secure his or her animal."   

Portillo v. Aiassa 32 Cal.Rptr.2d 755 (1994)

In this California case, the plaintiff delivered beer to Race Street Liquors.   As he was leaving the store, he was attacked by a German shepherd   owned by the tenant.   The jury found appellant-landlord did not have actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities prior to renewing the commercial lease.   However, the jury found that he would have learned of the dog's dangerous propensities if he had exercised reasonable care in the inspection of his property and that he was negligent in failing to eliminate this dangerous condition. 

Estis v. Mills 318 So. 3d 449 (La. App. 2 Cir. 4/14/21) The Estis' sued the Mills for the wrongful killing and disposal of the Appellants’ German Shepherd. On appeal, the Appellants argue that the district court erred in permitting the Appellees to amend their original answer to now include an affirmative defense of immunity pursuant to La. R.S. 3:2654, which would relieve the Appellees of liability. Further, the Appellants contend that the district court erred in granting the Appellees’ motion for summary judgment, asserting that there remain genuine issues of material fact, and notwithstanding liability for the death of the dog, the court erred in dismissing the Appellees’ claim for conversion. The parties were neighbors whose property was separated by an enclosed pasture where the Mills used to keep horses. Despite requests from Mills, the Estis' dogs would enter the pasture and harass the horses. In 2017, Mills discovered the dog yet again in the pasture with the horses, so Mr. Mills shot, killed, and disposed of the dog. Subsequently, the Estis family filed suit seeking damages for the intentional killing of the dog and disposing of the dog in a bayou approximately ten miles away. The lower court granted a motion in favor of the Mills agreeing that they had immunity from suit under La. R.S. 3:2654.1. On appeal to this court, the Estises argue that the Mills waived the immunity under the statute because they failed to affirmatively plead the defense in their answer to the pleadings. This court found that immunity had not been affirmative pled as required by statute. Consequently, the Mills received permission to amend their answer and plead the immunity provision. Following granting of the Mills' second motion for summary judgment based on the immunity statute, the Estises appeal that decision. As to Estis' argument that leave to amend the answer was erroneously granted, this court first noted that determination whether to allow pleadings to be amended is discretionary and will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion. The court found no evidence that there was bad faith in the decision to the amend the pleadings like delay. Further, there was no demonstration of prejudice from the granting of an amended answer. As to Estis' claim that summary judgment was erroneously granted, the court discussed a photograph that was submitted in evidence support showing a horse grazing with its back presented "indifferently" to the dog. The Mills countered with the evidence of an independent eyewitness to the incident who asserted that the dog harassed the horses. The court noted that issues of the credibility of evidence have no place in a summary judgment appeal. As a result, this court found that the lower court judge's statements that, in effect, weighed the credibility of the photograph versus the testimony of the witness were inappropriate. Thus, the lower court erred in granting the motion for summary judgment. Finally, the court evaluated Estis' conversion claims for the disposal of the dog's dead body. This court said that, [i]f the court finds that the killing of the dog falls under La. R.S. 3:2654, then the claim for conversion of the dog's body does not survive. However, if there were personal items on the dog at the time of the killing, such as a tracking collar or items of other value, then a conversion claim can be made for those items. If the court determines that the immunity statute does not apply, then the claim for conversion and any other applicable damages may apply." Thus, the trial court's judgment to allow the motion to amend the pleadings was affirmed, the granting of the summary judgment was reversed, and the dismissal of Estis' claims for conversion was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
State ex rel. Humane Society of Missouri v. Beetem 317 S.W.3d 669 (Mo.App. W.D.,2010)

The "Missourians for Protection of Dogs" ("MPD") advocated a statewide ballot measure to enact a new statutory provision to be known as the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act." The certified ballot title included a summary statement reading: "Shall Missouri law be amended to: . . . create a misdemeanor crime of ‘puppy mill cruelty’ for any violations?" One taxpaying Missouri citizen, Karen Strange, subsequently filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief against the Secretary of State, challenging the summary statement as being "insufficient and unfair." In this action, the Humane Society of Missouri sought protection from an order of the circuit court requiring it to disclose and turn over Document 10 -  a series of focus group findings and related documentation developed by the Humane Society of Missouri and its partners to formulate political strategy. Writing on behalf of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, Judge Victor C. Howard, with all concurring, granted the HSMO’s writ of prohibition. HSMO’s preliminary writ of prohibition was made absolute, rendering Document 10 non-discoverable.

Stennette v. Miller 316 Ga.App. 425, 729 S.E.2d 559 (Ga.App., 2012)

Plaintiff Stennette was providing in-home nursing care while she was bitten multiple times by Defendant Miller's dog. Stennette appeals from the trial court's grant of summary judgment to Miller in Stennette's personal injury action. This Court affirmed that decision because Stennette failed to provide adequate evidence showing triable issues on whether the dog had a vicious propensity and whether Miller knew of that propensity. However, the Court reversed the grant of summary judgment as to Miller on Stennette's claim that Miller negligently performed a voluntarily-undertaken duty to keep the dog away from her when she was at the house, because the evidence created genuine issues of material fact as to this claim.

Abundant Animal Care, LLC v. Gray 316 Ga.App. 193 (Ga.App. 2012)

While either shadowing her aunt or during her first day working at the veterinary clinic, the plaintiff was bitten three times by a dog she had taken outside to exercise. Plaintiff subsequently filed numerous claims against the veterinary clinic, including: negligence; negligence per se; nuisance; and violation of a premise liability and a dangerous dog statute. After the lower court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment, the defendant appealed to the Georgia appellate court. The appeals court stated that in a dog bite case, the plaintiff needed to produce evidence that the dog had a vicious propensity. Since the plaintiff failed to produce such evidence, the court held the defendant should have been granted a motion for summary judgment on its premise liability, nuisance, dangerous dog statute, and negligence per se claims. As for the negligence claim, the court held the defendant should have been granted a motion for summary judgment because the plaintiff was not aware of internal procedures to protect invitees and because the injuries were not proximately caused by negligent supervision. The lower court's judgment was therefore reversed.

Doris Day Animal League v. Veneman 315 F.3d 297 (D.C. Cir. 2003) Animal rights group brought action challenging validity of regulation exempting breeders who sell dogs from their residences from licensure under Animal Welfare Act. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, J., held that regulation was invalid, and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeals, Randolph, Circuit Judge, held that regulation was reasonable interpretation of Congressional intent.
Futch v. State 314 Ga.App. 294 (2012)

Defendant appealed conviction of cruelty to animals for shooting and killing a neighbor's dog. The Court of Appeals held that the restitution award of $3,000 was warranted even though the owner only paid $750 for the dog. The dog had been trained to hunt and retrieve, and an expert testified that such a dog had a fair market value between $3,000 and $5,000.

Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, Inc. v. County of Los Angeles 313 Cal. Rptr. 3d 566 (2023), reh'g denied (Oct. 16, 2023), review denied (Dec. 13, 2023) This case was brought by plaintiff-appellants, several no-kill animal shelters, against defendant-appellee the County of Los Angeles. Plaintiffs filed a petition for writ of mandate against defendant seeking to compel the release of impounded dogs scheduled for euthanasia to plaintiffs. The court sustained defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend, and this appeal followed. Plaintiffs argue on appeal that the Hayden Act imposes a duty on defendant to release the dogs scheduled for euthanasia to plaintiffs. First, the court asked whether defendant had discretion to refuse to release, and then to euthanize, a dog deemed to have behavioral problems when release has been requested by a non-profit animal adoption or rescue organization? Second, the court asked if defendant had discretion to determine and impose requirements for organizations that claim to be animal rescue or adoption organizations to qualify as such, beyond simply ensuring that the organizations are non-profits under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code? The court examined the relevant code, which stated that “any stray dog that is impounded pursuant to this division shall, before the euthanasia of that animal, be released to a nonprofit” and agreed with plaintiffs’ argument that the use of the word shall indicates that the legislature intended to impose a duty on defendant to release these dogs upon request to qualified nonprofit animal rescue or adoption agencies. The court also concluded that the demurrer was improperly granted as defendant lacked discretion to withhold and euthanize a dog based upon its determination that the animal has a behavioral problem or is not adoptable or treatable. The court agreed, however, that defendant had discretion to determine whether and how a non-profit organization qualifies as an animal adoption or rescue organization. The court reversed the judgment of the trial court, vacated the trial court’s order sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend, and remanded to the trial court.
Com. v. Raban 31 A.3d 699 (Pa.Super., 2011)

Defendant was convicted of violating the dog law for failing to properly confine his dog after it escaped from his property and attacked another dog. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed, holding that 1) scienter was not a necessary element of the violation because the statutory mandate to confine a dog was stated absolutely, and 2) a dog attack is not a de minimis infraction that would preclude a conviction.

Hammer v. American Kennel Club 304 A.D.2d 74 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,2003)

Plaintiff Jon Hammer is the owner of a pure-bred Brittany Spaniel which has a natural, undocked tail approximately ten (10) inches long.  He contends that tail docking is a form of animal cruelty, and that the practical effect of defendant American Kennel Club's tail standards for Brittany Spaniels is to effectively exclude his dog from meaningfully competing shows unless he complies with what he perceives as an unfair and discriminatory practice.  Specifically, his amended complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that the complained-of standard (1) unlawfully discriminates against plaintiff by effectively precluding him from entering his dog in breed competitions, (2) is arbitrary and capricious, (3) violates Agriculture and Markets Law § 353, and (4) is null and void as in derogation of law; he further seeks an injunction prohibiting defendants from applying, enforcing or utilizing the standard.  The court held that plaintiff lacked standing to obtain any of the civil remedies he sought for the alleged violation of Agriculture and Markets Law Section 353.  The Legislature's inclusion of a complete scheme for enforcement of its provisions precludes the possibility that it intended enforcement by private individuals as well.  The dissent disagreed with the majority's standing analysis, finding that plaintiff's object is not to privately enforce § 353, insofar as seeking to have the defendants' prosecuted for cruelty.  Rather, plaintiff was seeking a declaration that the AKC's standard for judging the Brittany Spaniel deprives him of a benefit of membership on the basis of his unwillingness to violate a state law and, thus, he wanted to enjoin defendants from enforcing that standard against him.  The dissent found that whether tail docking for purely cosmetic reasons violates § 353 is solely a question of law and entirely appropriate for a declaratory judgment.  Cosmetic docking of tails was wholly unjustifiable under the law in the dissent's eyes.  While plaintiff pointed out that docking may serve some purposes for hunting dogs, it is not a justification for docking the tails of non-hunting dogs, such as plaintiff's, for purposes of AKC competitions.

Warboys v. Proulx 303 F.Supp.2d 111 (D. Conn. 2004)

Pitbull owner filed suit seeking compensatory damages arising from the shotting and killing of his dog by police.  Defendants removed the action based on federal question jurisdiction and moved for summary judgment, and the dog owner moved to amend the complaint.  Motions granted.

People v. McKnight 302 N.W.2d 241 (Mich. 1980)

Defendant was convicted of willfully and maliciously killing animals for kicking a dog to death.  Defendant argued on appeal that dogs were not included under the statute punishing the willful and malicious killing of horses, cattle, or other beasts of another.  The court found that the term "other beasts" includes dogs.  Further, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding of the requisite willful and malicious intent to kill the dog.  The court disagreed and held that inferences from the surrounding circumstances were sufficient to support a finding of malicious intent.  The court affirmed his convictions.

Kringle v. Elliott 301 Ga.App. 1, 686 S.E.2d 665 (Ga.App.,2009)

The plaintiff, on behalf of her then seven-year-old son, brought an action against the defendant Elliot for injuries the child sustained resulting from a bite by defendant's golden retriever. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for a directed verdict reasoning that because this was the dog's first bite of a human, there was there was no cause of action under Georgia's “first bite” rule. The appellate court found that the excluded evidence did not indicate the owner had any reason to suspect that the dog had a propensity to bite and thus, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting defendant's motion or directing a verdict. 

Loy v. Kenney 301 Cal. Rptr. 3d 352 (Cal.App. 2 Dist., 2022), reh'g denied (Dec. 2, 2022) This is a case brought by purchasers of puppies from breeders advertising on Craigslist, against the breeders who were selling fatally sick puppies to these buyers. The buyers allege that the sellers misrepresented the puppies as healthy, when the dogs were actually too young to be separated from their mothers and many of these puppies ended up dying from illnesses such as parvovirus. The buyers brought suit for violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and for animal cruelty. The trial court granted a preliminary injunction to stop the sellers from advertising and selling dogs while trial was pending. This appeal followed, with the sellers arguing that there was insufficient evidence to show that they were the sellers of these sick puppies. However, the court of appeals affirmed. The court found that the evidence from the humane officer’s search of the seller’s home led to sufficient evidence that they were selling the sick puppies, including the seizure of 32 puppies and dogs living in unhealthy and cruel conditions. The puppies were being separated from their mothers too soon, and some were encrusted with feces. During the search, one of the sellers also told the officer that they would not stop selling puppies. Sellers attempted to raise several evidentiary objections to the evidence offered by the humane society officers, but all were rejected. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed and awarded costs to the buyers who brought the action.
State v. Pinard 300 P.3d 177 (Or.App.,2013), review denied, 353 Or. 788, 304 P.3d 467 (2013)

In this Oregon case, Defendant shot his neighbor's dog with a razor-bladed hunting arrow. The neighbor euthanized the dog after determining that the dog would not survive the trip to the veterinarian. Defendant was convicted of one count of aggravated first-degree animal abuse under ORS 167.322 (Count 1) and two counts of first-degree animal abuse under ORS 167.320 (Counts 3 and 4). On appeal, Defendant contends that he was entitled to acquittal on Counts 1 and 4 because there was no evidence that the dog would have survived the wound. The court here disagreed, finding "ample evidence" from which a trier of fact could have found that the arrow fatally wounded the dog. As to Defendant's other issues the the merging of the various counts, the accepted one argument that Counts 3 and 4 should have merged, and reversed and remanded for entry of a single conviction for first-degree animal abuse.

Commonwealth v. Deible 300 A.3d 1025 (2023) This case is an appeal from a judgment convicting appellant of animal cruelty for failure to groom her terrier dog. Appellant has owned the 17-year-old terrier dog since the dog was a puppy. At one point, the dog escaped from appellant’s home and was found by a bystander. This bystander testified that the dog’s fur was heavily matted, with objects stuck in its fur. The bystander took pictures of the dog and contacted a veterinary clinic to shave the dog. The dog was then left at an animal shelter, where a humane police officer examined the dog and found it matted so heavily it could not see, stand, or defecate properly. Appellant testified that the dog was aggressive when she attempted to groom him, and that the dog made itself dirty when it escaped appellant’s home. Appellant also argued that their veterinarian was supposed to groom the dog, but the dog’s veterinary records did not support this. The lower court found that there was sufficient evidence to charge appellant with animal cruelty, and ordered her to pay fines totaling $946.58 and forfeit ownership of the dog. Appellant filed this appeal to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence used to support her conviction of animal cruelty. The court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the cruelty charge, as the statute prohibits “ill-treatment” and the evidence of the condition of the dog supports that it was treated improperly. Appellant also argues that the court’s order for her to forfeit her dog was improper, but the court of appeals disagreed due to the pattern of neglect established by appellant’s history with the dog. Accordingly, the court of appeals affirmed the holding of the lower court.
Cohen v. Kretzschmar 30 A.D.3d 555 ((N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept. 2006)

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the owners established that their dog did not have a propensity to jump up on people, and that they were not negligent in the manner in which they handled the dog at the time of the alleged accident.  The judgment granting defendants' motion for summary judgment was affirmed.

Ballas v Ballas 3 Cal.Rptr. 11 (Cal. Dist. Ct. App. 1960)

In a divorce decree, lower court awarded dog and car to husband; the wife appealed.  Appellate court found that distinction between community and separate property was unimportant and held that wife was entitled to the dog, but the husband remained entitled to the car.

People v. Iehl 299 N.W.2d 46 (Mich. 1980)

Defendant appealed his conviction for killing another person's dog.  On appeal, defendant contended that the term "beast" provided by the anti-cruelty statue did not encompass dogs.  The court disagreed, finding the statute at issue covered dogs despite its failure to explicitly list "dogs" as did a similar statute. 

Huff v. Dyer 297 Ga.App. 761, 678 S.E.2d 206 (Ga.App.,2009)

In this Georgia case, the plaintiff was injured from being bitten by defendants' dog who was chained to the bed of their pickup truck while the defendants were inside an adjacent restaurant. The plaintiff sued defendants, claiming that they failed to warn her of their dog's dangerous propensities and that they committed negligence per se by violating the state's strict liability statute (OCGA § 51-2-7) and the Hall County Animal Control Ordinance. A jury found in favor of the defendants. The court found that the evidence was therefore more than sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that defendants' dog was “under restraint” for purposes of the ordinance. Further, there was no evidence that the owners had knowledge of the dog's vicious propensity. Affirmed.

Ash v. State 290 Ark. 278 (1986)

Police raided defendant's home and found an area converted into an arena for dog fighting. Defendant was found guilty  of promoting or engaging in dog fighting or possessing a dog for that purpose. On appeal, the court found that the based on the evidence a jury could have reasonably concluded that defendant was aware that on property owned by her and her husband an arena had been built for the purpose of clandestine dog fighting and that she was aware it was so being used.

State v. Mumme 29 So.3d 685 (La.App. 4 Cir.,2010.)

In this unpublished Louisiana case, the defendant was charged with “cruelty to an animal, to wit, a bat, belonging to Julian Mumme, by beating the animal with a bat causing the animal to be maimed and injured.” After the first witness was sworn at trial, the State moved to amend the information to strike the phrase “to wit: a bat." On appeal, defendant alleged that this was improper, a mistrial should have been declared, and the State should be prohibited from trying him again. The Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit disagreed with defendant, holding that the amendment corrected a defect of form, not a defect of substance (as allowed by La.C.Cr.P. art. 487), and that the trial court correctly allowed the bill to be amended during trial.

State v. Kingsbury 29 S.W.3d 202 (Texas 2004)

A cruelty to animals case. The State alleged that the appellees tortured four dogs by leaving them without food and water, resulting in their deaths. Examining section 42.09 of the Texas Penal Code, Cruelty to Animals, the Court found that “torture” did not include failure to provide necessary food, care, or shelter. The Court held that the criminal act of failing provide food, care and shelter does not constitute the felony offense of torture.

Dancy v. State 287 So. 3d 931 (Miss. 2020) The Justice Court of Union County found Michael Dancy guilty of three counts of animal cruelty and ordered the permanent forfeiture of Dancy’s six horses, four cats, and three dogs. Dancy appealed to the circuit court. The circuit court ordered that the animals be permanently forfeited and found Dancy guilty. The circuit court also ordered Dancy to pay $39,225 for care and boarding costs for the horses. Dancy subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Mississippi. Essentially, Dancy failed to provide adequate shelter, food, and water for the animals. The Court found that the circuit court properly released the animals to an animal protection organization. The Court also found that the reimbursement order was permissible. Two of Dancy’s three convictions were for violations of the same statute regarding simple cruelty, one for his four cats and one for his three dogs. The Court held that, according to the statute's plain language, Dancy’s cruelty to a combination of dogs and cats occurring at the same time "shall constitute a single offense." Thus, the State cannot punish Dancy twice for the same offense without violating his right against double jeopardy. For that reason, the court vacated Dancy’s second conviction of simple cruelty. The court affirmed the permanent forfeiture and reimbursement order and his other cruelty conviction.
Vosburgh v. Kimball 285 A.2d 766 (Vt. 1971)

This case involves an action by a dog owner against farmer for wrongfully impounding dogs and against town constable for wrongfully killing the dogs.  The Vermont Supreme Court held that farmer had acted in a reasonable and prudent manner by contacting the constable, where he never intended to "impound" the dogs when he secured them overnight in his barn after finding them in pursuit of his injured cows.  However, the issue of whether the dogs were wearing a collar as required by state law precluded the granting of a directed verdict for the constable.  (Under state law, a constable was authorized to kill dogs not registered or wearing a prescribed collar.)  The court held that it was necessary for the jury to make this determination.

State v. Dye 283 P.3d 1130 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2012)

In this Washington case, Defendant Dye appeals his conviction for residential burglary. The victim in the case was an adult man with significant developmental disabilities. At trial, the State obtained permission to allow a dog named "Ellie" to sit at the victim's feet during testimony. On appeal, Dye contends that his right to a fair trial was compromised because the dog's presence improperly incited the jury's sympathy, encouraged the jury to infer victimhood, and gave Lare an incentive to testify for the prosecution. The court found no prejudice to defendant from the presence of the dog, especially in light of the jury instructions to ignore her. Affirmed.

State v. Crew 281 N.C. App. 437, 868 S.E.2d 351, review denied, 890 S.E.2d 915 (N.C. 2023) Defendant Daniel Crew appealed his convictions for dogfighting, felony cruelty to animals, misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and restraining dogs in a cruel manner. Crew also challenges the trial court's restitution orders totaling $70,000, which the trial court immediately converted to civil judgments. The arrest and conviction of defendant stemmed from an investigation at defendant's residence, where 30 pit bulls were recovered with injuries "similar to injuries a dog would sustain through dogfighting." In addition, publications and notes on preparing for a fight were found, as well as dogfighting training equipment such as a "jenny," staging area for fights, and weight scales for weighing dogs. The State charged Crew with fifteen counts of engaging in dogfighting, one count of allowing property to be used for dogfighting, five counts of felony cruelty to animals, twenty-five counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and sixteen counts of restraining dogs in a cruel manner. Ultimately, Crew was convicted by the jury of eleven counts of dogfighting, three counts of felony cruelty to animals, fourteen counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and two counts of restraining dogs in a cruel manner. The trial court imposed six consecutive active sentences of 10 to 21 months each along with several suspended sentences. The trial court also ordered Crew to pay Orange County Animal Services $10,000 in seven separate restitution orders that were then entered as civil judgments, totaling $70,000 in restitution (testimony at trial indicated that the cost to house the dogs alone was a "a littler over $80,000"). Defendant appealed his criminal judgment and petitioned for a writ of certiorari for the award of restitution entered as civil judgments. On appeal, this court rejected defendant's claim that there was insufficient evidence of dogfighting. The police found training equipment, medication commonly used in dogfighting operations, and a dogfighting "pit" or training area as well as the notes preparing dogs to fight. A reasonable juror could have concluded that Crew intended to engage in dogfighting. However, as to the restitution order converted to civil judgments, the court found that the trial court lacked the statutory authority to immediately convert those restitution orders into civil judgments. The court found no error concerning the criminal convictions, but vacated the conversion of the restitution to civil judgments against defendant.
Malpezzi v. Ryan 28 A.D.3d 1036

In this New York case, the plaintiff brought an action to recover for a dog bite sustained when she was walking on a local bike path. The court noted that it has consistently held, “a plaintiff may not recover for injuries sustained in an attack by a dog unless he or she establishes that the dog had vicious propensities and that its owner knew or should have known of such propensities”  Here, defendant and his girlfriend testified, without contradiction, that they did not experience any problems with the dog prior to the incident with Malpezzi. Specifically, each testified that Oreo did not display any act of aggression prior to biting Malpezzi. In opposition, plaintiff primarily relies upon the purportedly vicious nature of the attack, the fact that Oreo allegedly was restrained while on defendant's property and Oreo's specific breed. However, the court observed that where, as here, there is no other evidence even suggesting that defendant knew or should have known of Oreo's allegedly vicious propensities, consideration of the dog's breed is irrelevant. As such, Supreme Court erred in denying defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

McDANIEL v. JOHNSON 278 S.W.2d 657 (Ark.1955)

In this Arkansas case, a neighbor intentionally shot and killed the plaintiff’s pointer bird dog. The defendant neighbor admitted to intentionally killing the dog to protect his property (to wit, cattle). In affirming an award of actual and punitive damages, the court held that punitive damages were available where the defendant acted in a willful, malicious, and wanton manner.

Barger v. Jimerson 276 P.2d 744 (Colo. 1954)

In order for liability to attach in an action for damages for personal injuries resulting from a dog attack, defendants had to have notice of the vicious propensities of their dog.  Even though the dog had never attacked a person before, a natural fierceness or disposition to mischief was sufficient to classify the dog as "vicious."  Finally, it is permissible for the jury to consider the loss of earning capacity of plaintiff resulting from the injuries as an element of damages.

Coballes v. Spokane County 274 P.3d 1102 (Wash.App. Div. 3)

In this case, the Washington Court of Appeals determined the appellant had a statutory right to appeal a county board’s dangerous dog declaration because the board had acted within its ordinary and usual duties. The availability of the right to appeal, however, foreclosed a statutory and constitutional writ of review/writ of certiorari.  Furthermore, given the court’s finding that a prior proceeding constituted an appeal as of right, the appellant’s dangerous dog declaration could only be appealed under a discretionary review. The court therefore granted the appellant leave to file a motion for discretionary review.

State v. Crosswhite 273 Or. App. 605 (2015) After being tipped off about a dog fight, authorities seized several dogs from a home. Defendant was charged with one count of second-degree animal abuse and four counts of second-degree animal neglect. After the presentation of the state's evidence in circuit court, defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal on all counts, arguing, as to second-degree animal neglect, that the state had failed to present sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that defendant had custody or control over the dogs. Circuit court denied the motion and defendant was convicted on all counts. Defendant appealed the denial of the motion, again arguing that the state failed to prove that he had “custody or control” over the dogs. The appeals court concluded that the plain text and context of ORS 167.325(1), together with the legislature's use of the same term in a similar statute, demonstrated that the legislature intended the term “control” to include someone who had the authority to guide or manage an animal or who directed or restrained the animal, regardless if the person owned the animal. Given the facts of the case, the court concluded that based on that evidence, a reasonable juror could find that defendant had control over the dogs, and the trial court had not erred in denying defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal.
Trautman v. Day 273 N.W.2d 712 (N.D. 1979)

In Trautman v. Day, 273 N.W. 2d 712 (N.D. 1979), defendant shot plaintiff’s dog when it ran through defendant’s herd of cows. The court affirmed a verdict of $300 for plaintiff’s dog. In addition, the Court declined to apply the defense of immunity based on a statute concerning the “worrying of livestock.

Levy v. Only Cremations for Pets, Inc. 271 Cal. Rptr. 3d 250 (2020) This case was brought by the owners of two dogs that were cremated by a private pet cremation company, who allege the cremation service sent them the ashes of random dogs instead of those of their dogs. Plaintiffs allege breach of contract and several tort claims, including trespass to chattel and negligence. On this appeal, the judgement of the lower court was affirmed in part and reversed in part. The plaintiffs failed to establish an implied contract between them and the pet cremation company, were granted leave to amend their breach of contract complaint against the company, the other actions for breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing were dismissed, and the court found that the plaintiffs adequately stated a claim for negligence.
Mitchell v. Heinrichs 27 P.3d 309 (Alaska, 2001)

Defendant shot plaintiff's dogs after perceiving they were a threat to her livestock and her when they trespassed upon her property.  In denying defendant's claim for punitive damages, the court observed that in this case, defendant's conduct, while drastic, did not rise to the level of outrageousness.  With regard to the trial court's award of only the market value of the dog to plaintiff , the court noted that it agreed with those courts that recognize that the actual value of the pet to the owner, rather than the fair market value, is sometimes the proper measure of the pet's value.  However, the court declined to award Mitchell damages for her dog's sentimental value as a component of actual value to her as the dog's owner.

Krzywicki v. Galletti 27 N.E.3d 991 (Oh Ct . App., 2015) Appellant commenced an action against defendant boyfriend, the owner of the dog that bit her, and his business, which she held was strictly liable for the injuries she suffered, where the attack occurred. The claims against defendant boyfriend were dismissed with prejudice. A jury verdict, however, found that although the business was a “harborer” of the dog, appellant was barred from recovery because she was a “keeper of the dog in that she had physical care or charge of dog, temporary or otherwise, at the time of the incident.” Appellant appealed, raising seven assignments of error for review. In addressing appellant’s claims, the Ohio Court of Appeals held that the status of an individual as an owner, keeper or harborer was relevant when deciding if an individual was barred from availing him or herself of the protections afforded by liability statutes. The court of appeals also ruled that the trial court properly gave the jury instruction and that the jury’s verdict was not “defective.” Further the court held that the testimony established at trial demonstrated that appellant had a significant relationship with the dog and that there was competent and credible evidence presented at trial to support the business’s position that appellant exercised some degree of management, possession, care custody or control over the dog. The judgment of the lower court was therefore affirmed with Judge Kathleen Ann Keough concurring and Judge Melody Stewart concurring in judgment only.
PARKER v. MISE 27 Ala. 480 (Ala., 1855)

In Parker v. Miser , 27 Ala. 480 (Ala. 1855), the court recognized that at common law, an action existed for the conversion or injury to property, and acknowledged dogs as property. The court went on to note that some amount of nominal damage existed for the wrongful killing of an animal, even in the absence of a precise amount. Where the killing of the animal was done in reckless disregard, a plaintiff could seek punitive damages.

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