Dogs: Related Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
City of Cleveland v. Lupica 2004 WL 2340639 (Ohio, 2004)

Defendant plead no contest to failure to confine and insure her dog after her pit bull attacked a mail carrier.  The trial court's decision to have the dog turned over to the city and destroyed was reversed.  The Court of Appeals found Defendant's no contest plea was not entered knowingly, intelligently or voluntarily.

People v. Schneider 2004 WL 2191322 (Ca. App. 3 Dist.)

Defendant's dogs escaped from Defendant's yard and attacked and killed a six-year-old boy.  The trial court convicted Defendant of owning a mischievous animal that causes death and involuntary manslaughter.  The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court's conviction for owning a mischievous animal that causes death due to erroneous jury instructions. 

Auburn Woods I Homeowners Ass'n v. Fair Employment and Housing Com'n 2004 WL 1888284 (Cal.App. 3 Dist.)

In this California case, the Elebiaris sought permission from their condominium association to keep a small dog as a companion (both suffered from severe depression and found that taking care of a dog alleviated their symptoms and enabled them to function more productively).  T he association refused their request, leading the Elebiaris to file a claim with the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (the FEHC), which found in favor of the Elebiaris.  After the Superior Court granted the condominium's petition, the FEHC and residents appealed.   The appellate court held that the trial court erred in overturning the FEHC decision where the FEHC's finding that a companion dog constituted a reasonable accommodation for plaintiff's disability was supported by substantial evidence.

Holcomb v. Colonial Associates, L.L.C. 2004 WL 1416659, 2004 WL 1416659 (N.C.) (Only Westlaw cite available)

This North Carolina case involves the issue of whether a landlord can be held liable for negligence when his tenant's dogs injure a third party where a landlord has agreed by contract to remove "undesirable" dogs.  Under the terms of the lease, the tenant, Olson, could keep one Rottweiler dog on the property.  It was also stipulated that the landlord could require removal of any "undesirable" pets with 48-hour's notice.  The dogs in the instant action attacked a contractor who was making an estimate on some of the rental homes, and, according to testimony, had committed two prior attacks.  The court concluded that the Court of Appeals erred, in that the plaintiff was not required to show Colonial was an owner or keeper of the dogs in order to show Colonial was negligent; that requirement is limited only to strict liability actions.  As a result, the court found Colonial failed to use ordinary care by failing to require the defendant Olson to restrain his Rottweiler dogs, or remove them from the premises when the defendant knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known, from the dogs' past conduct, that they were likely, if not restrained, to do an act from which a reasonable person could foresee.  Of particular importance to the court, was the lease provision, which the court felt contractually obligated the landlord to retain control over defendant's dogs. 

Wiederhold v. Derench 2003 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1795 A dog owner had purchased a Newfoundland dog from a breeder and signed a contract that stated she would return the dog to the breeder if she could no longer care for it. After the dog attacked another dog, the owner had the obligation to return the dog to the breeder. A third party, the owner’s friend attempted to help the owner and contacted the breeder to notify her about the owner's intention to return the dog. The breeder was busy on that particular day. She was with another dog delivering another litter of puppies and could not come to pick up the owner's dog. The owner then sold the dog to the defendant, a dog breeder and co-chair of the Newfoundland Club of New England Rescue. The rescue worker had prepared a bill of sale, which the owner signed, and the rescue worker then handed the owner $100 to help with expenses. The trial court held that the transfer to the rescue worker was not a bona fide sale. The rescue worker took possession of the dog in her capacity as a member of the rescue organization and not as a bona fide buyer. The court also found that the original breeder had not given up her contract rights to the dog. The breeder was handling an emergency delivery of puppies with a different dog, which made it reasonable that she could not pick up the owner's dog that day. The defendant rescue worker knew the breeder had not relinquished her contractual ownership right to the dog and so the court held that the plaintiff was the sole owner and entitled to sole possession.
People v. McCree 2002 WL 276134 (Cal. 2002)

Defendant was convicted, after a jury trial, of eight counts of possession and training of a fighting dog and two counts of causing a dogfight for gain. Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeal, held that: (1) prosecutor's cross-examination of defense witness was proper; (2) prosecutor's closing arguments were proper; and (3) evidence supported the convictions.
Affirmed.

Williams v. McMahan 2002 WL 242538 (Wa. 2002)

The plaintiff sued for damages as a result of the wrongful spaying of her purebred dog, which she intended to breed. The court found that damages should be measured by the fair market value of the dog.

RSPCA v. Stojcevski 2002 WL 228890, 134 A Crim R 441

Appeal against the order of the Magistrate dismissing a complaint - prevention of cruelty to animals - respondent charged with ill treating an animal in that failed to take reasonable steps to alleviate any pain suffered by the animal who had a fractured leg bone contrary to sec 13(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1985. Dismissal was upheld and court found that defendant did not understand dog was in pain and had and was going to take reasonable steps.

Allanson v. Toncich 2002 WL 1897936 (Austrailia)

Appeal uphold the judgement against the dog owner for damages, but recalculates damages upward.

Black Hawk County v. Jacobsen (Unpublished) 2002 WL 1429365 (Iowa App. 2002) (Not Reported in N.W. 2d)

In this case, Donna Jacobsen appealed a district court order finding she had neglected fifty-six dogs in the course of her operation of a federal and state licensed kennel in Jesup.  On appeal, Jacobsen contended that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because federal law (the Animal Welfare Act) preempts state regulations of federally licensed kennels.  The court disagreed, finding the Act expressly contemplates state and local regulation of animals.  Further, a plain reading of the Animal Welfare Act shows that Congress demonstrated no express or implied intent to preempt state or local government from regulating in this area.

Ivey v. Hamlin (Unpublished) 2002 WL 1254444 (Tenn.Ct.App.)(Not reproted in S.W.3rd)

This is an action for damages for the deliberate killing of a dog by a Deputy Sheriff that was alleging terrorizing the neighborhood.  In finding for defendant-officer, the court noted that the consensus among the courts is that a vicious dog is a public nuisance and that governments and their agents have broad power to protect the public from these animals.  The court thus found the officer acted reasonably under the circumstances and had a qualified immunity defense.

Montier v. Hall 2002 CarswellAlta 156

This is a Provincial Court Civil Claims appeal from an award to plaintiffs/respondents for $865.00 in veterinary expenses as against defendant/appellant. This matter arose out of the sale of a black female Belgian Sheepdog that was eventually euthanized by the respondents at four months of age, two months after it was purchased due to serious hereditary defects. The purchase agreement signed by respondents warranted the puppy against serious hereditary defects or illness until 25 months of age, but limited the damages to replacement of the puppy with another puppy. In affirming the award of damages, this court found that the contract does not specifically exclude compensation for veterinary expenses or for consequential damages; hence, it does not exclude liability by the supplier for the purchaser's veterinary expenses incurred as a result the defective dog.

State v. Woods 2001 WL 224519 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.) Defendant was indicted on three counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted aggravated murder, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated robbery, and one count of kidnapping in an incident following a dogfight. Following a jury trial, d efendant was found guilty of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and kidnapping. The court reversed and remanded the case to the trial court.
State v. Scott 2001 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 561 The appellant pled guilty to one count of animal fighting, one count of cruelty to animals, and one count of keeping unvaccinated dogs, and asked for probation. The trial court denied the appellants request for probation and sentenced him to incarceration. The appellant challenged the trial court's ruling, and the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision to deny probation, stating that the heinous nature of the crimes warranted incarceration.
Fitch v. Eiseman 2000 WL 34545801 (Alaska 2000) (unpublished opinion) The trial court approved a divorcing couple’s agreement for dogs to be with their children (and so travel to the husband's and wife’s houses as part of a shared custody agreement of their children).  The wife did not abide by the agreement, so the Supreme Court remanded back to the trial court to determine sole ownership of the dog.
Lay v. Chamberlain 2000 WL 1819060 (Ohio Ct. App. Dec. 11, 2000) (Not Reported in N.E.2d) Chamberlain owned a dog breeding kennel with over one hundred fifty dogs. An investigation was conducted when the Sheriff's Office received complaints about the condition of the animals. Observations indicated the kennel was hot, overcrowded, and poorly ventilated. The dogs had severely matted fur, were sick or injured, and lived in cages covered in feces. Dog food was moldy and water bowls were dirty. Many cages were stacked on top of other cages, allowing urine and feces to fall on the dogs below. A court order was granted to remove the dogs. The humane society, rescue groups, and numerous volunteers assisted by providing food, shelter, grooming and necessary veterinary care while Chamberlain's criminal trial was pending. Chamberlain was convicted of animal cruelty. The organizations and volunteers sued Chamberlain for compensation for the care provided to the animals. The trial court granted the award and the appellate court affirmed. Ohio code authorized appellees' standing to sue for the expenses necessary to prevent neglect to the animals. The evidence was sufficient to support an award for damages for the humane society, the rescue groups, and the individual volunteers that protected and provided for the well-being of the dogs during the months of the trial.
New Orleans Bulldog Soc'y v. Louisiana Soc'y for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 200 So. 3d 996 (La.App. 4 Cir. 9/7/16), writ granted, 2016-1809 (La. 1/9/17), 214 So. 3d 859, and aff'd, 2016-1809 (La. 5/3/17), 222 So. 3d 679 The Plaintiff, the Bulldog Rescue Mission, is a nonprofit dog welfare organization organized under Louisiana law to advocate for dog welfare in New Orleans. The plaintiff sought information under Louisiana’s Public Records Law related to the dogs euthanized by the Defendant, the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LSPCA). LSPCA declared that they were not a public body and thus, not subject to the Public Records Law. The Bulldog Rescue Mission filed a petition for writ of mandamus in the district court, seeking a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. The trial court dismissed their petition and the plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit held that LSPCA was a quasi-public entity subject to Public Records Law because the organization performed municipal functions on behalf of the municipal government. The court found LSPCA receives an annual compensation of almost two million dollars for providing services for quasi-municipal functions such as enforcing code violations and taking and receiving animals. Thus, it cannot characterize the service as "voluntary" since it "clearly operates[s] under the color of City Authority." Bulldog rescue also claims error with the trial court ruling that, even if LSPCA is subject to public records laws, these obligations are met through its Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) reporting requirement. This court found that the CEA contractual agreement made between the city of Louisiana and LSPCA allowing the organization to provide mandated city services related to animal control could not be used to circumscribe Public Records Law compliance. In other words, the limited statistical reporting required under the CEA is not a valid substitute for a public record request that would show all governmental functions and duties performed. The judgment of the trial court was reversed where this court found the trial court clearly erred in dismissing the Bulldog Rescue petition for a writ of mandamus.
State v. Dan 20 P.3d 829 (Or. 2001)

This is an appeal of a circuit court decision in an aggravated animal abuse case.  A defendant was convicted in circuit court of aggravated animal abuse and other charges. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the defendant's testimony that he loved his children more than the dog he shot was not evidence of his character, thus the evidence offered by the state in rebuttal (that the defendant assaulted his spouse) was not admissible and not harmless error by the trial court.

People v. Parker (Unpublished) 1999 WL 33435342 (Unpublished Mich. 1999)

Defendants-appellees, who were bound over on the charge of knowingly attending an animal fight and of knowingly organizing, promoting, or collecting money for the fighting of an animal, filed a motion to suppress evidence and motions to quash the information. The trial court granted the motions and dismissed the case. The prosecution appealed and the appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to create an issue of fact, and that evidence that had been obtained in violation of defendant Parker's Fourth Amendment rights was admissible against all defendants except Parker. Finally, as to the defendants' challenge that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, the court declared that it had already determined that the language was neither vague nor overbroad. Reversed and remanded for trial. 

Vargas v. Vargas 1999 WL 1244248 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 1, 1999) (unpublished opinion). Court awarded custody of rottweiler to wife, after considering testimony adduced (husband was not treating the dog very nicely) and the state of the husband’s home (scrap metal yard and fact 5-year-old child visits regularly).  This decision was made notwithstanding the fact that dog was gift from wife to husband and the dog was registered to husband with AKC.
Tulloch v. Melnychuk 1998 CarswellAlta 573

In this case, the Plaintiff seeks damages from the Defendants for trespass to chattels. She alleged that the Defendants shot her valuable dog. The Defendants countered that they were justified in shooting the dog since it was on their land chasing and worrying their cattle contrary to the Stray Animals Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. S-23, Part 3. Here, the court found credible the testimony from the defendant cow-operator that the dog was chasing a lame cow to the point where the cow was exhausted. The action by plaintiff was dismissed.

Janota-Bzowska v. Lewis 1997CarswellBC1957

The respondent Janota-Bzowska was an invited guest at the home of the appellant Lewises, where another guest (appellant Holtzman) had tied his Labrador dog outside; the dog lunged at the respondent, causing her to fall and break her finger. A trial court earlier found both dog-owner and home-owners liable to Janota-Bzowska under the doctrines of scienter (strict liabilty) and negligence. On appeal, the court held that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the dog had a propensity to lunge at people, or that the owner knew of such propensity, although the dog was known to chase deer. However, this was not sufficient to allow recovery under scienter. On the issue of negligence, the court also held that the dog's behaviour being 'unexpected and out of character' showed no suggestion of a risk for which the owner had failed to take reasonable precautions, so there was no negligence shown.

State v. Schuler (Unpublished) 1997 WL 76337 (Unpub. Minn. 1997)

This Minnesota lawsuit arose from the enforcement of a Little Canada ordinance prohibiting the keeping of more than three adult dogs in any residential dwelling within the city's residentially zoned districts.  In reviewing a challenge to the law, the court first noted that a city's police power allows it both to regulate the keeping of animals, and to define nuisances and provide for their abatement.  Further, municipal ordinances are presumptively constitutional and the burden rests on the party challenging it.  Here, Schuler failed to offer evidence that regulating the number of dogs per household was unrelated to controlling the problems of dog noise and odor as they affect the health and general welfare of the community.

Shelvey v. Bicknell 1996CarswellBC1131

Both plaintiff (appellant) Shelvey and the defendant (respondent) dog owners were guests of an unnamed third party at that party's beach cabin, where the defendants left their Rottweiler unrestrained on the cabin's deck overnight. The friendly dog jumped over the deck railing to follow the plaintiff to the beach where she was walking; the large, energetic dog bumped her legs while playfully chasing a seagull, knocking her down and leaving her unconscious. The dog had previously knocked its owner and a child down at one time due to its large size and weight. A trial judge earlier found that the defendant owners were not liable to the plaintiff in negligence as the freak accident was not reasonably foreseeable; the Court of Appeal concurred, finding no negligence. Scienter was not argued or discussed at either level.

Fisher v. Liptak 1996CarswellAlta33

Two pet llamas owned by the plaintiff Fisher were attacked on two separate occasions by dogs, including by a dog owned by the defendant Liptak, causing the death of one llama and, two weeks later, injury to the second llama. After the first attack, Liptak's dog returned covered with saliva and blood, although it had no bleeding wounds; he suspected the dog had been in a fight or attack but did not investigate. His dog was later discovered injuring the second llama. The court ruled that Liptak's finding indications of  the first attack put him on notice that the dog had a 'vicious or mischievous propensity to attack other animals,' sufficient to make him strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter, for the second llama's injuries, but not for the first, for which Liptak lacked the requisite knowledge. Similarly, Liptak was not liable in negligence in the first attack, since in that rural area all the local owners let their dogs run at large and Liptak had no prior reason to suspect his dog would attack; the judge did not discuss whether Liptak was liable in negligence for the second attack.

Nuzzaci v. Nuzzaci 1995 WL 783006 (Del. Fam. Ct. Apr. 19, 1995) (unpublished opinion). The court refused to sign a stipulation and order (prepared by the parties and signed by each of them and their attorneys) concerning visitation of the divorcing couple’s dog.  The court held that a court can only award dog in its entirety to one party or the other.  The court advised the couple to come to their own private agreement instead, reasoning that the court has no jurisdiction in this matter and further no way to side with one party or the other in the event of a future dispute.
Williams v. Neutercorp (Unpublished) 1995 Tex. App. LEXIS 833 (Tex Ct. App. Apr. 20, 1995).

Appellant sought review of the order from the County Court dismissing appellant's lawsuit after it sustained the special exception filed by appellee company, appellee animal hospital, and appellee veterinarian in appellant's suit which alleged negligence and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. § 17.50.  The special execption is that the Veterinary Licensing Act, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 8890, 18C, expressly provided that the DTPA did not apply in veterinary malpractice cases.The court affirmed the lower court's order dismissing appellant's suit against appellees because the lower court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing appellant's pleadings with prejudice, after the lower court sustained the special exception regarding the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, and after appellant refused to amend her pleading.

Bacon (Litigation Guardian of) v. Ryan 1995 CarswellSask 540

The child plaintiff was bitten on the face by a pitbull owned by the defendants, requiring reconstructive surgery and two days hospitalization and causing permanent scarring. The dog had bitten the owner's young son two weeks earlier while he played near the dog's food dish'; they contemplated having the dog euthanized but decided against it. The plaintiff's mother had heard about the bite incident but brought her daughter of the same age as the owner's son to visit, placing her on the floor where the dog bit her shortly after. The judge held that the defendants knew of the dog's propensity to bite young children but kept it ''at their peril" (suggesting strict liability or scienter, which was not however mentioned); such fault was sufficient to make the owners 2/3 liable for the child's $12,000 plastic surgery costs, pain and mental anguish. The plaintiff's mother was held 1/ contributorily liable for letting her child visit and play on the floor near the dog, knowing of its propensity.

R. v. Baird 1994 CarswellNWT 58

The defendant, George Baird, was charged on indictment that he caused bodily harm to Amelia Debogorski by criminal negligence stemming from his keeping of dangerous dogs. While the dogs self-evidently proved to be highly dangerous to the victim, there was little evidence of their prior dangerous intent simply because they ran at large. As a result, the court then found that there was reasonable doubt whether the danger was known and recognized by Mr. Baird prior to the attack. The court found that there insufficient proof to find that Baird acted with "wanton and reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.” The court also observed that while there may or may not have been civil negligence, this was not enough to sustain a conviction for criminal negligence.

Woodside Village v. Hertzmark 1993 WL 268293 (Conn. 1993) The question in this case is whether federal and state laws outlawing discrimination in housing prohibit the eviction of a mentally disabled defendant from his federally subsidized apartment because of his failure to comply with the plaintiff's pet policy. The plaintiff here had disabilities including schizophrenia and severe learning disabilities. The plaintiff-landlord allowed tenants to keep pets, but required pet care, which included walking the dogs in a designated area and requiring that tenants use a "pooper scooper" to clean up behind their pets. The tenant-defendant here does not dispute that he failed to comply, but claims the plaintiff-landlord, as a recipient of federal funds, failed to reasonably accommodate his disability. The court found that plaintiff-landlord did in fact accommodate the defendant-tenant's disability by either waiving the provisions of its pet policy or permitting the defendant to build a fenced in area for the dog in the rear of the defendant's apartment. The eviction here was not based on the fact that defendant-tenant possesses a dog, but on his "demonstrated inability to comply with the plaintiff's pet policy." This, said the court, put other residents' health, safety and comfort at risk.
Bates (Guardian of) v. Horkoff 1991 CarswellAlta 229

The child plaintiff was at her daycare under appropriate supervision while in the playground when she was bitten on the hand by a neighbouring German Shepherd. The dog squeezed through an unmended gap in the fence and bit the child while she was on the swings; daycare staff were not negligent in supervising the children. While the dog had no history of biting, it was excitable and barked aggressively towards strangers outside the yard; the fence was in poor repair, but the owner had not thought it necessary to use the secure dog run that existed on his property. he was found negligent for not better securing and supervising the dog.

Raymond v. Bujold 199 A. 91 (N.H.,1938)

A finder of a lost dog did not become the "keeper" of the dog when he tied it up and summoned the owner to retrieve it. The finder was therefore entitled to sue the owner for damage caused by the dog.

Pratt v. Pratt 1988 WL 120251 (Minn. Ct. App. Nov. 15, 1998) (unpublished opinion).

A childless, divorcing couple sought divorce; trial court awarded couple's registered dogs to wife based on the best interest standard used for determination of custody of children.  Appellate court held the best interest statute inapplicable to dogs, but stated that the trial court can award dogs based on evidence of mistreatment of the dogs by one of the parties.  Because the trial court's determination had a reasonable basis in fact, the appellate court affirmed its decision.

City of Whitehall v. Zageris (Alise K.) 1985 WL 55 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.)

Defendant was charged with violation of two ordinances of the City of Whitehall, one charge being of keeping or harboring noisy dogs, and the other being a charge of keeping or harboring more than three dogs.  After a jury trial, defendant was found not guilty of keeping or harboring noisy dogs but guilty of keeping or harboring more than three dogs.  Of the ten points raised on appeal, defendant raised a constitutional challenge to the zoning ordinance, claiming that the trial court erred by not holding Whitehall Municipal Ordinance 505.13 (possessing more than three dogs) was unconstitutional.  In denying her claim, the court fist noted that this type of ordinance passes facial constitutionality based on previous caselaw.  Further, there was no evidence that this ordinance was enacted or enforced with a discriminatory intent.

Morsillo v. Migliano 1985 CarswellOnt 786

The child plaintiff Morsillo was attacked and bitten by a neighbour's pet German Shepherd, which tended to 'bark savagely' at local children, had bitten once before, and was kept in a secure fenced yard and only taken out on a leash and choke-chain. The boy was playing cops and robbers with the owner's son on the owner's front lawn, while the owner's teenaged daughter was taking the leashed dog to the garage, when it escaped and attacked. No provocation of the dog was proven so the owners were found strictly liable under the Dog Owner's Liability Act (which abrogates scienter in that province) and also liable in negligence, with no contributory negligence by the plaintiff; the provincial Ontario Health Insurance Plan was entitled to recover the costs of the plaintiff's care from the defendants.

Maloney v. State 1975 OK CR 22 (Ok. App. 1975)

The State charged defendant with maliciously placing a dog in a pit with another dog and encouraging the dogs to fight, injure, maim, or kill one another. The trial court convicted defendant of cruelty to animals pursuant to Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §   1685 (1971) and fined defendant. Defendant appealed. On appeal, the court held that Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §   1682 (1971) was constitutional as applied to the case but reversed and remanded the case because the court determined that the defendant had been improperly convicted under the anti-cruelty statute rather than the dogfighting statute.

Whelen v. Barlow 1975 CarswellAlta 242

Plaintiff Whelen was drunken, threatening and disorderly in defendant Barlow's hotel bar, where he kept guard dogs for the purpose of preventing break-ins and keeping the peace. After the plaintiff and friends were asked to leave the premises and not return, he later returned, making threatening gestures and was bitten on the face and arm by one of the guard-dogs. The court held that the plaintiff was 2/3 contributorily liable for his injuries, since when he returned he was trespassing; the defendant was 1/3 contributorily liable since the court held that keeping volatile guard-dogs as bouncers was not reasonable.

Richard v. Hoban 1970CarswellNB126

The child plaintiff was attacked and bitten by a chained German Shepherd after she put her arm around the dog's neck to hug or play with it; she sustained scarring lacerations of her head, cheek and eyelid that required 5 days' hospitalization after plastic surgery. The trial judge earlier held that because the dog, had two months previously, bitten a young boy on the face and ear in an unprovoked attack, the owner had prior knowledge of the dog's propensity to bite children, yet he kept the dog regardless. The owner was thus strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter. The Court of Appeal reversed this holding, with two judges finding that the boy in the earlier attack had been injured accidentally by the dog's dew-claw, rather than being bitten, so that there was insufficient notice to the dog's owner of any vicious propensity; thus he was not strictly liable in scienter.

Levine v. Knowles 197 So.2d 329 (Fla.App. 1967)

This negligence action for both compensatory and punitive damages results from the premature cremation of 'Tiki,' a Toy Chihuahua dog, who died while undergoing apparently routine treatment for a skin condition. Plaintiff instructed the veterinarian to keep Tiki's body so that he could have an autopsy performed, but the dog's body was cremated before it could be claimed so that, according to plaintiff, defendant could avoid malpractice claims. 

In this case, the court only determined that under the facts peculiar to this case, an action for damages was sufficiently alleged by the complaint and the defendant has failed to conclusively demonstrate the non-existence of all material issues of fact so as to be entitled to a summary final judgment.

Wolf v. Taylor 197 P.3d 585 (Or. App., 2008) This action comes as part of the dissolution of the parties' domestic partnership. The parties had entered into a settlement agreement, which included a provision granting full ownership of Mike, the couple's dog, to Taylor, so long as he agreed to grant Wolf visitation with Mike. Approximately one month later, Wolf had second thoughts and moved to rescind the entire agreement based on the invalidity of the dog visitation provision. Wolf asserts the provision is invalid because it attempts to grant visitation with an item of personal property, and is impossible to perform. This court only answered the question whether invalidity of the dog visitation provision would invalidate the entire agreement, which they answer in the negative because of the severability provision included in the agreement.
Kervin v. State 195 So. 3d 1181 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2016) Donald Ray Kervin was found guilty of felony animal cruelty stemming from a 2012 incident at his residence. Animal control officers arrived to find defendant's dog "Chubbie" in a small, hot laundry room a the back of his house that emitted a "rotten-flesh odor." Chubbie was visibly wet, lying in his own feces and urine, with several open wounds infested with maggots. After questioning Kervin about the dog's injuries, defendant finally admitted to hitting Chubbie with a shovel for discipline. The dog was ultimately euthanized due to the severity of his condition. In this instant appeal, Kervin contends that the lower court erred in using the 2014 revised jury instruction to instruct the jury on the charged offense rather than the 2012 version of the instruction. Kevin argued that the 2014 version expanded the 2012 version to include the “failure to act” in felony animal cruelty cases. Also, Kervin argued that the 2012 version should have been used because it was in place at the time the offense occurred. Ultimately, the court found that the lower court did not err by using the 2014 jury instruction. The court held that the 2014 jury instructions merely “clarified” the 2012 jury instruction and that the “failure to act” was already present in the 2012 jury instruction. As a result, the court upheld Kervin’s guilty verdict.
Sherman v. Kissinger 195 P.3d 539 (Wash.,2008)

A dog owner sued a veterinarian and a veterinary hospital after her dog died. The Court of Appeals held that the medical malpractice act did not apply to veterinarians, and thus, did not bar claims for breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, conversion, trespass to chattels, and breach of bailment contract; the three-part analysis in McCurdy controlled the measure of damages and the burden of proof for damages; genuine issues of material fact about the market value of the dog, whether it could be replaced, and whether owner was entitled to present evidence of the dog’s intrinsic value, precluded summary judgment limiting owner's damages; the trial court did not abuse its discretion in striking expert’s testimony about the loss of the human-animal bond because owner was not entitled to emotional distress damages; and defendants were not entitled to attorney fees under the small claims statute.

Parker v. Parker 195 P.3d 428 (Or.App.,2008)

Plaintiff and his 12 year-old quarter horse were visiting defendant at defendant's property when defendant's dog rushed at the horse causing it to run into a steel fence. The horse suffered severe head trauma, which necessitated its later euthanization. Plaintiff filed suit for damages asserting liability under common law negligence and O.R.S. 609.140(1) - the statute that allows an owner to recover double damages where livestock is injured due to being injured, chased, or killed by another person's dog. The appellate court agreed with plaintiff that O.R.S. 609.140(1) creates an statutory cause of action independent from negligence. Further, the court found that plaintiff fell within the class of persons the statute aims to protect because the legislature did not intend to limit the statute's application to property owned by the livestock's owner.

Daniels v. Drake 195 N.E.3d 866 (Ind. Ct. App. 2022), transfer denied, 208 N.E.3d 1250 (Ind. 2023) Plaintiff Damon Daniels appeals from the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants, the Drakes. The incident stems from an unprovoked dog bite at defendants' home. The Drakes live on a large, rural property in Indiana with no neighbors. The Drakes own five dogs including "Max," a large Great Dane. Max would roam the property unrestrained. Daniels is a FedEx driver. In September of 2020, Daniels entered the property to deliver a package. Upon approaching the residence, Daniels honked his horn a couple times to get the attention of Lisa Drake. Daniels, who was still inside the vehicle, asked Lisa if Max was "okay," to which Lisa indicated a "thumbs up." However, after walking toward Lisa with the package, Max barked once and then bit Daniels in the abdomen. Daniels sustained puncture wounds, a one-centimeter laceration, swelling and a hematoma from the bite. Approximately two months later, Daniels filed the instant complaint seeking damages related to the dog bite. The Drakes filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that they did not have actual knowledge of Max's vicious propensities prior to the bite. In response, Daniels contended that Great Danes have a "natural propensity" to be territorial, which is exacerbated by isolation. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. On appeal here, the court explained that Indiana law states that knowledge of a dog's dangerous or vicious tendencies may not be inferred from a first-time, unprovoked bite, but that knowledge may be inferred where evidence shows that the particular breed to which the owner's dog belongs is known to exhibit such tendencies." While the court observed that the Drakes presented evidence of a lack of actual knowledge of Max's vicious propensities, the expert who testified on Great Dane behavior presented evidence that Great Danes might behave with "territorial aggressive tendencies" in a given situation. The Drakes argued on appeal (for the first time) that this evidence by a canine behavioral expert was "immaterial" and cannot be used to show what lay people would know about Great Danes. The court was unpersuaded by the Drakes' novel argument, and this created a genuine issue of material fact. Thus, this court reversed the order granting summary judgment for the Drakes and remanded the case for further proceedings.
State v. Milewski 194 So. 3d 376 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2016), reh'g denied (June 3, 2016), review denied, No. SC16-1187, 2016 WL 6722865 (Fla. Nov. 15, 2016) This Florida case involves the appeal of defendant's motion to suppress evidence in an animal cruelty case. Specifically, defendant Milewski challenged the evidence obtained during the necropsy of his puppy, alleging that he did not abandon his property interest in the body of the deceased dog because he thought the puppy's remains would be returned to him in the form of ashes. The necropsy showed that the puppy suffered a severe brain hemorrhage, extensive body bruises, and a separated spinal column that were consistent with severe physical abuse (which was later corroborated by Milewski's confession that he had thrown the dog). The trial court granted the motion to suppress and further found that law enforcement infringed on defendant's rights as the "patient's owner" when they interviewed the veterinarian and obtained veterinary records without consent or a subpoena, contrary to Florida law. On appeal, this court found that the Fourth Amendment does not extend to abandoned property. When Milewski abandoned his puppy's remains for the less-expensive "group cremation" at the vet's office, he gave up his expectation of privacy. As such, the court found that he was not deprived of his property without consent or due process when animal services seized the puppy's remains without a warrant. Further, this court found that there was no basis to suppress the veterinarian's voluntary statements about the puppy's condition or the necropsy report. The motion to suppress was reversed as to the doctor's statements/testimony and the evidence from the necropsy. The trial court's suppression of the hospital's medical records obtained without a subpoena was affirmed.
Kanab City v. Popowich 194 P.3d 198, (Utah App.,2008)

In this Utah case, the defendant appeals the decision of the district court finding him guilty on four counts of failing to maintain a city dog license and one count of running an illegal kennel. In December 2005, a Kanab City animal control officer responded to numerous complaints of barking dogs at Defendant's residence. This officer observed four dogs over the age of three months on the premises during two separate visits to Defendant's home that month and on subsequent random visits in the following months. On appeal, defendant argued that the city ordinance on which his conviction for operating an illegal kennel is based is unconstitutionally vague. This court disagreed, finding that an ordinary person reading the ordinance would understand that, in order to keep more than two dogs over the age of three months in the same residence, a citizen must register for a kennel permit.

Volosen v. State 192 S.W.3d 597(Tex.App.-Fort Worth, 2006)

In this Texas case, the trial court found Appellant Mircea Volosen guilty of animal cruelty for killing a neighbor's dog. The sole issue on appeal is whether the State met its burden of presenting legally sufficient evidence that Volosen was "without legal authority" to kill the dog. By statute, a dog that "is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked ... fowls may be killed by ... any person witnessing the attack." The court found that no rational trier of fact could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the dog was not attacking or had not recently attacked chickens in a pen in Volosen's yard; thus, the evidence is legally insufficient to establish that Volosen killed the dog "without legal authority" as required to sustain a conviction for animal cruelty.  Judgment Reversed by Volosen v. State , 227 S.W.3d 77 (Tex.Crim.App., 2007).

Haggblom v. City of Dillingham 191 P.3d 991 (Alaska 2008) This is an owner's appeal of the city order which ordered her dog be euthanized or banished from city limits because the dog bit a person without provocation. The order had been affirmed by the superior court and is now in front of the state Supreme Court. Haggblom argues that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it does not provide meaningful process, and is too vague because it does not explicitly offer the alternative of banishment from city limits. This court found that due process was satisfied and that the ordinance is constitutionally clear, and thus affirms the order.
Dyess v. Caraway 190 So.2d (666 La.App., 1966)

Plaintiff claimed damages for the death of five pedigreed Norwegian Elkhound puppies resulting from the negligence of defendant, Hugh L. Caraway, a duly licensed veterinarian. Specifically, defendant allegedly failed to make proper diagnostic tests, failed to give proper treatment for coccidia from which the puppy died, although the defendant had professional knowledge that the puppy was suffering from that disease, and failed to exercise the standard of care required by the average prudent veterinarian in the community. The court first noted the difficulty in diagnosing distemper. It also found the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in applicable in the instant case, primarily for the reason that the instant case involves a question of diagnosis and treatment of a professional nature which in itself requires judgment.

Carter v. Ide 188 S.E.2d 275 (Ga.App. 1972)
This Georgia case involves an action for injuries received by a boy after he was attacked by the defendant's dog. The lower court granted summary judgment to the defendant and the plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals held that where there was no showing that the dog ever so much as growled at a human being before the attack, the owner of dog was not liable for injuries. Evidence that the dog previously chased a cat and had engaged in a fight with another dog was insufficient to show the owner's knowledge of the dog's vicious tendencies toward humans to create liability for the owner.

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