Dogs: Related Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
U.S. v. Stevens 533 F.3d 218, 2008 WL 2779529 (C.A.3 (Pa.),2008) Note that certiorari was granted in 2009 by --- S.Ct. ----, 2009 WL 1034613 (U.S. Apr 20, 2009). In this case, the Third Circuit held that 18 U.S.C. § 48, the federal law that criminalizes depictions of animal cruelty, is an unconstitutional infringement on free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The defendant in this case was convicted after investigators arranged to buy three dogfighting videos from defendant in sting operation.  Because the statute addresses a content-based regulation on speech, the court considered whether the statute survived a strict scrutiny test. The majority was unwilling to extend the rationale of Ferber outside of child pornography without direction from the Supreme Court.  The majority found that the conduct at issue in § 48 does not give rise to a sufficient compelling interest.
Cardenas v. Swanson 531 P.3d 917 (Wyo., 2023) The Cardenas family (Appellants) owned three St. Bernard dogs. Appellants lived on a home adjacent to large tracts of state land, and would allow the dogs to roam the land unleashed, but the dogs would return each night. One afternoon, the dogs were let outside to run, but one dog did not return. Appellants found the dog caught in a snare, where it died from a broken neck. Appellants attempted to free the dog from the snare, and one of the Cardenas children was injured in the process. While appellants were attempting to free their dog from the snare, the other two dogs were also caught in snares, and died from their injuries. Appellants filed suit against the trapper who set the snares (Appellee), asserting claims of negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, violation of statutes, infliction of emotional distress, and civil rights violations. Appellee filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted and denied in part, finding that appellee’s conduct was not willful and wanton and that appellants could not recover emotional damages for the loss of the dogs. On appeal, the court considered: (1) whether the members of the Cardenas family can recover damages for emotional injuries for the loss of their dogs, and (2) whether this court should allow the recovery of emotional distress damages for the loss of a pet. The court held that (1) emotional injuries for the loss of property are not recoverable, under this court’s precedent emotional damages are only recoverable for certain limited situations. Dogs are considered personal property under state law, and damage to personal property is not one of the situations in which emotional damages are recoverable. Next, the court held that (2) it would not create a precedent to allow people to recover emotional distress damages when animate personal property is harmed, as that change would be best suited for the legislature to make. The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court and dismissed the case.
McConnell v. Oklahoma Gas & Elec. Co. 530 P.2d 127 (Okl. 1974)

In this Oklahoma case, defendant gas company left the plaintiff's yard gate open through which the plaintiff's dog escaped and was then hit by a car. In finding that the gate being left open was the proximate cause of the injury, the court held that the allegations in plaintiffs' amended petition, stated a cause of action and that the trial court erred in sustaining defendant's general demurrer to the petition.

Hoesch v. Broward County 53 So.3d 1177 (Fla.App. 4 Dist., 2011)

A Broward County, Florida ordinance defines a dangerous dog as “any dog that . . . [h]as killed or caused the death of a domestic animal in one incident.” Plaintiff Brian Hoesch’s dog escaped from Hoesch’s backyard and attacked and killed a neighbor’s cat. Prior to this incident, the dog had never been declared “dangerous” by any governmental authority. Hoesch requested a hearing after Broward’s animal control division notified Hoesch of its intent to destroy his dog. After a judgment in favor of Broward County, Hoesch contends that both county ordinances conflict with state law, section 767.11(1)(b), which defines a “dangerous dog” as any dog that “[h]as more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal . . . .” The District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District, concluded “that Broward County ordinance sections 4-2(k)(2) and 4-12(j)(2) are null and void insofar as they conflict with state law.” 

Commonwealth v. Szewczyk 53 N.E.3d 1286 (Mass.App.Ct.,2016) In this Massachusetts case, defendant was charged with animal cruelty after he shot a dog that had wandered onto his property with a pellet gun. The pellet was lodged in the dog’s leg and caused significant pain and discomfort to the dog. Following conviction, defendant appealed the District Court’s ruling arguing that the judge erred in denying three of his eleven requests for rulings of law.Specifically, defendant's principal argument was that he had a lawful purpose in shooting (to scare the dog off his property), his intent was justified (to insure his wife's safety on the property), and the pain inflicted by defendant shooting the dog does not fit the statutory meaning of "cruel." At the close of evidence, defendant submitted a written request for ruling under Mass. R.Crim. P.26 setting out these issues. The court held that the District Court judge correctly denied the three requests because they were clearly outside the scope of rule 26 because they called upon the judge as a fact finder to weigh the evidence presented at trial. Next, the court reviewed the facts of the case to determine whether or not a rational trier of fact could have found the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Ultimately, the court held that a rational trier of fact would have been able to find that defendant did commit animal cruelty by shooting the dog. The court focused on the fact that the defendant could have used other means to ensure that the dog did not enter the property again without causing pain and suffering to the dog by shooting the dog in the leg. The judgment was affirmed.
DeVaul v. Carvigo Inc. 526 N.Y.S.2d 483 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.,1988)

This New York case involved a dog bite victim who brought an action against the owner to recover for personal injuries. The Supreme Court, Nassau County entered judgment in favor of owner. On appeal with the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, the court held that the viciousness of German shepherd dogs was not appropriate subject of judicial notice. The court found that there is no authority for the proposition that judicial notice should be taken "as to the ferocity of any particular type of domestic animal."

Soucek v. Banham 524 N.W.2d 478 (Minn. App., 1994)

Dog owner brought action for damages against city and police officers that shot his dog, seeking punitive damages.  The court observed that under Minnesota law dogs are personal property, and thus, the proper measure of compensatory damages for destroying an animal is the fair market value of the animal.  The court further held Soucek cannot recover punitive damages for the loss of his pet because he only suffered property damage. Compensatory damages for the loss of Soucek's pet are limited to the fair market value of the animal. 

Conway v. Pasadena Humane Society 52 Cal.Rptr.2d 777 (1996)

This appeal presents the question of whether animal control officers can lawfully enter a home, absent a warrant or consent, to seize and impound the homeowner's dog for violation of a leash law. The court held that that the Fourth Amendment precludes such conduct, where entry of home to seize dog was not justified by exigent circumstances.  Further, the statute and municipal ordinance permitting animal control officers to impound dog found on private property did not authorize seizure in violation of Fourth Amendment.

Louisiana v. Caillet, Jr. 518 So. 2d 1062 (La. App. 1987) Twenty- six people where charged with dog fighting in violation of La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §   14:102.5 for paying a fee to be spectators at a dog fight. They filed a motion to quash, urging that the indictments failed to charge a punishable offense; they were denied the motion. Thereafter, 11 defendants applied for supervisory writs, the appellate court granted the motion to quash, holding that §   14:102.5 did not proscribe paying a fee to be a spectator at a dog fight.
Hayes v. State 518 S.W.3d 585 (Tex. App. 2017) Defendant appeals an order with the Henderson County Sheriff's Office to destroy his dogs under Chapter 822 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. More specifically, defendant claims reversible error after he was denied a jury trial. Defendant's three dogs were seized after they attacked an individual riding a bicycle in front of defendant's residence. After a hearing, the dogs were found to be dangerous pursuant to Section 822.041 related to dogs causing serious bodily injury to a person. The judge then ordered the dogs to be humanely destroyed. Hayes appealed the order and requested a jury trial, which was objected to by the Henderson County Attorney's Office and sustained by the court. The dogs were found to be dangerous at a bench trial and ordered humanely euthanized, while defendant was ordered to pay $2,780 to the county. On appeal, defendant argues the county court erred in removing his case from the jury trial docket. The court now considers two questions: "(1) whether the owner of a dog ordered to be humanely destroyed by a justice, county, or municipal court judge, pursuant to Chapter 822, subchapter A, of the Texas Health and Safety Code, has the right to appeal such order; and (2) if an appeal is allowed, whether a jury can be requested to hear the de novo appeal." The court here declined to adopt the state's interpretation that the statute's silence as to a right of appeal indicates that the legislature eliminated that right. In fact, the court observed Subchapter A of Chapter 822 dealing with less serious "dangerous dogs," allows a party to appeal a dangerous dog finding. The court found it would be inconsistent that the more severe Subchapter D denies an appeal of right where the less severe subchapter grants it, especially where a forfeiture of property occurs (i.e., dogs). As to the right to jury trial, the court found Chapter 822 silent on that issue. However, the court found the order for seizure and destruction of defendant's "special personal property" guaranteed him a trial by jury under Article I of the Texas Constitution. The trial court's Final Order was reversed and the case was remanded to county court.
Trager v. Thor 516 N.W.2d 69 (Mich.,1994)

In this Michigan case involving an action for damages after personal injury, the father of the dog’s owner was visiting his son's home when he agreed to supervise the dog while his son and daughter-in-law went shopping.   The n eighbor’s child was subsequently bitten by the dog, which had been put by defendant into a bedroom. This court held that the defendant, as a temporary caretaker of the dog, could not be held to the strict liability standard of an owner keeper, but could be liable under theory of negligence. Thus, a genuine issue of material fact remained as to whether the father was negligent in fulfilling his duty of care in supervising the dog, which precluded summary judgment in a negligence action.

Dilorenzo v. Costco Wholesale Corp. 515 F.Supp.2d 1187 (W.D.Wash.)

Plaintiff is a disabled individual who suffers from a variety of ailments arising after her service in the armed forces. Plaintiff's claims arise from interactions with Costco store employees on two separate shopping trips with her service dog. Store employees inquired as to what task the dog performed and objected to the dog being carried in plaintiff's arms around the store. Plaintiff brings her claims under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court found that Defendant's employees did not exceed the boundaries of a permissible inquiry under the ADA with regard to her service dog, where they never asked Plaintiff to state her disability or demanded proof of special training.

Mouton v. State 513 S.W.3d 679 (Tex. App. 2016)

San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS) responded to a call about 36 pit bull terriers that were chained, significantly underweight, and dehydrated. The dogs also had scarring consistent with fighting. Police obtained a search warrant and coordinated with ACS to seize the dogs. While the dogs were being secured, Appellant Terrence Mouton arrived at the residence. He told the officers that he had been living at the residence for a couple of weeks, but that he did not own all of the dogs and was holding them for someone else. Mouton was convicted in the County Court of cruelty to non livestock animals. On appeal, Mouton argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict because the Appellee, the State of Texas, failed to prove that the animals were in his custody. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The court held that there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that Mouton was responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the dogs on his property and that the dogs were subject to his care and control, regardless of whether he was the actual owner of each animal. A reasonable jury could have also found that Mouton was “aware of, but consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk” that he failed to provide proper nutrition, water, or shelter for the dogs.

Jankoski v. Preiser Animal Hospital, Ltd. 510 N.E.2d 1084 (Ill. App. Ct. 1987).

Plaintiff dog owners sought review of an order of the Circuit Court of Cook County (Illinois), which dismissed their complaint against defendants, animal hospital and veterinarians, with prejudice. The trial court held that plaintiffs' complaint to recover damages for the loss of companionship they experienced as a result of the death of their dog failed to state a cause of action. The court affirmed the order of the trial court that dismissed the complaint filed by plaintiff dog owners against defendants, animal hospital and veterinarians. The court held that the law did not permit a dog owner to recover for the loss of companionship of a dog.

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

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

Green v. Animal Protection League of Mercer Cty. 51 N.E.3d 718 (Ohio,2016) Carl Green III, owned a dog, which was seized by the Mercer County Dog Warden in Ohio because it was running at large and was not wearing a current registration tag. The Animal Protection League of Mercer County (“APL”), purchased the dog from the Mercer County Dog Warden and placed the dog up for adoption. Appellant, Lori Winner adopted the dog. Green then filed a complaint in the Municipal Court, Celina County, asserting claims for replevin and conversion. The municipal court granted replevin and ordered Winner to return the dog to Green. Winner appealed this decision in the instant action arguing that (1) Green's ownership interest was terminated by operation of law; and (2) the trial court erred by failing to find that the Mercer County Dog Warden Was an Indispensable Party to the Litigation. The Court of Appeals agreed with Winner on the first assignment of error, finding that, because replevin is a statutory remedy in Ohio, the trial court's conclusion that the dog should be returned to Green is against the manifest weight of the evidence. The trial court exercised its equitable powers to award possession to Green, and that it was "in the best interest of the dog" to return it to Green. The Court of Appeals found that the statute does not provide for this type of remedy. As to the second error, this Court overruled Winner's claim, finding that there was no claim raised that the Mercer County Dog Warden wrongfully sold the dog to the APL. Thus, the dog warden had no interest in the action and the trial court did not err by failing to join the warden as a party. The judgment was reversed and remanded.
Com. v. Trefry 51 N.E.3d 502 (Mass. App. Ct., 2016), review denied, 475 Mass. 1104, 60 N.E.3d 1173 (2016) The Defendant Trefry, left her two sheepdogs, Zach and Kenji, alone on the property of her condemned home. An animal control officer noticed that Kenji was limping badly and took him to a veterinarian. Both dogs were removed from the property three days later. The Defendant was convicted of two counts of violating statute G.L. c. 140, § 174E(f ), which protects dogs from cruel conditions and inhumane chaining or tethering. The Defendant appealed. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Barnstable held that: (1) neither outside confinement nor confinement in general is an element of subjecting dogs to cruel conditions as prohibited by statute; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to support finding that the defendant subjected her dogs to cruel conditions. The Appeals Court reasoned that the defendant subjected her dogs to cruel conditions in violation of the statute because by the time they were removed, the dogs were “incredibly tick-infested” and “matted,” and Kenji had contracted Lyme disease and sustained a soft shoulder injury to his leg. An animal control officer also testified that the defendant's home was cluttered on the inside and overgrown on the outside. The yard also contained items that posed a danger to the animals. There was also sufficient evidence to infer that, while the dogs could move in and out of the condemned house, the dogs were confined to the house and fenced-in yard. The area to which the dogs were confined presented with every factor listed in § 174E(f)(1) as constituting “filthy and dirty” conditions. Also, "Zach's and Kenji's emotional health was further compromised by being left alone virtually all day every day" according to the court. Therefore the Defendant’s conviction was affirmed.
Massa v. Department of Registration and Education 507 N.E.2d 814 (Ill. 1987)

Dr. Massa sought judicial review of the gross malpractice finding and resulting license revocation in the circuit court after the circuit court reversed the Department's finding of gross malpractice as a conclusion against the manifest weight of the evidence. This finding arises from the death of plaintiff’s German Shepard, after Dr. Massa removed the dog’s healthy uterus and ovaries, while failing to treat the dog’s soon-to-be fatal thoracic condition.  The Department's findings in this case could only be disturbed only upon Dr. Massa's showing that they are against the manifest weight of the evidence. The Court held that the record in this case was plainly sufficient to support the Department's determination of gross malpractice in that Dr. Massa ignored the serious nature of Charlie's lung condition and proceeded to remove reproductive organs which, at least at the time of surgery, he knew or should have known to have been healthy.

State v. Hackett 502 P.3d 228 (2021) Defendant was convicted of second-degree animal abuse, among other crimes. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred when it denied his motion for judgment of acquittal (MJOA) and imposed fines (in addition to incarceration) without first determining his ability to pay. The conviction was supported by testimony at trial from two witnesses, a mother and her daughter. The daughter was visiting her mother and heard a dog "yike" in pain outside while she was at her mother's house. She thought a dog may have been hit by a car, so she went outside where she observed defendant and his dog Bosco. The dog was whimpering and laying in submission as the defendant hit the dog. Then, after going inside briefly to call police, the witness returned outside to see defendant was "just going to town and beating the dog" and throwing rocks at the dog to the point where the witness was concerned for the dog's life. On appeal, defendant contends that the trial court erred on the second-degree animal abuse charge because the evidence did not permit a rational inference that Bosco experienced "substantial pain" as required by the statute. The court, in a matter of first impression, examined whether Bosco experienced substantial pain. Both the state and defendant acknowledged that appellate courts have not yet interpreted the meaning of "substantial pain" for animal victims, so both parties rely on cases involving human victims. Defendant suggests that Bosco did not experience a significant duration of pain to permit a finding of substantial pain. The court disagreed, analogizing with cases where a human victim could not testify concerning the pain. Thus, the court concluded that the evidence supported a reasonable inference that Bosco's pain was not "fleeting" or "momentary." Not only did the witnesses see the defendant kick and pelt the dog with rocks, but one witness left to phone police and returned to find the defendant still abusing the dog. As to the fines, the court found that the trial court did err in ordering payment of fines within 30-days without making an assessment of defendant's ability to pay. Thus, the the trial court did not err in denying defendant's MJOA, but the matter was remanded for entry of judgment that omitted the "due in 30 days" for the fines.
WRIGHT v. CLARK 50 Vt. 130 (1877)

Defendant shot plaintiff’s hunting dog, and plaintiff sued for trespass. The dog was shot while in pursuit of a fox. Defendant shot at the fox, but accidentally hit the dog. The court held that, because the shooting was a voluntary act, he was liable for exemplary damages for “intentionally or wantonly” shooting the dog.

Chee v. Amanda Goldt Property Management 50 Cal.Rptr.3d 40 (Cal.App. 1 Dist., 2006), Plaintiff, Lila Chee, a resident and owner of a condominium unit, appealed from a judgment entered in favor of all defendants on her complaint seeking damages for personal injuries she suffered when a dog belonging to Olga Kiymaz, a tenant of another unit in the same complex, jumped on Chee. In affirming the lower court's award of summary judgment, this court held that the landlord had no duty in absence of landlord's actual knowledge of dog's dangerous propensities. Further, the landlord was not liable to owner for nuisance. Finally, the condominium covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R's) did not impose vicarious liability on landlord.
Jacobsen v. Schwarz 50 A.D.3d 964 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2008)

Plaintiff appeals an order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment that dismissed her personal injury case. The plaintiff commenced this action after she was bitten by defendant's dog while working on a computer at defendant's house. This court found that summary judgment was not appropriate because the defendant warned plaintiff that the dog was possessive about her ball and not to touch it. These warnings along with the dog's actions with the ball may give rise to a finding that the defendant knew or should have known that the dog possessed a vicious propensity or a proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm.

Tracey v. Solesky 50 A.3d 1075 (Md., 2012)

 

In this Maryland case, the Court of Appeals establishes a new standard of liability for a landlord who has knowledge of the presence of a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull dog and also modifies the common law liability as it relates to the pit bull breed of dogs. In doing so, the Court now holds that because of the "aggressive and vicious nature and its capability to inflect serious and sometimes fatal injuries," pit bull dogs and cross-bred pit bulls are now categorized as "inherently dangerous." Upon a plaintiff's sufficient proof that an attacking dog is a pit bull or pit bull mix, a person who knows that the dog is of the pit bull breed, including a landlord, is strictly liable for damages caused to the plaintiff who was attacked. The case was remanded to trial court with this modification to common law.

Morgan v. Marquis 50 A.3d 1 (Me., 2012)

After being bit in the face from a dog she was caring for, the plaintiff sued the dog's owner on the theories of strict liability, negligence and statutory, 7 M.R.S. § 3961(1), liability. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant on all claims rejecting plaintiff's claim that pit bull dogs are inherently abnormally dangerous dogs. Finding insufficient evidence that the defendant knew his dog was likely to bite someone, the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine affirmed the lower court's decision on the strict liability claim. However, the court vacated the lower court's decision towards the negligence and statutory liability claim because genuine issues of material fact remained.

State v. DeMarco 5 A.3d 527 (Conn.App., 2010)

Defendant appeals his conviction of two counts of cruelty to animals—specifically, cruelty to several dogs found within his home. Evidence supporting the conviction came from a warrantless entry into defendant's home after police found it necessary to do a "welfare check" based on an overflowing mailbox, 10-day notices on the door, and a "horrible odor" emanating from the home. In reversing the convictions, the appellate court determined that the facts did not suggest that defendant or the dogs were in immediate danger supporting the emergency exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.

Matter of Marriage of Niemi 496 P.3d 305 (Wash.App. Div. 1, 2021) Douglas Niemi appealed the trial court's order granting Mariah Niemi visits with their two dogs, which were awarded to Douglas as his separate property in a dissolution proceeding. Douglas and Mariah were married for 27 years and had two large dogs who were each about two years old. During the petition for legal separation, Mariah asked for 10 hours a week of visitation with the dogs because they were "family members." Following the trial, Mariah continued to emphasize her desire to have access to the dogs and the court ultimately awarded the dogs to Douglas as separate property, but allowed Mariah visits with the dogs three times a week. Douglas appealed that award, contending that the trial court abused its discretion by awarding visitation of his separate property. Mariah countered with the fact a court has discretion to grant her access to this "special classification" of property. Here, the Court of Appeals agreed with Douglas, finding that the lower court had no authority under Washington law to compel a party to produce separate property after a marital dissolution. The court also held that is not the province of the court to recognize a special category of personal property when the statute has not done so. Finally, the court observed that such agreements about visitation with animals would lead to continuing supervision and enforcement problems in the court system. Because the trial court exceeded its authority in awarding visitation rights, this court reversed and remanded the issue for the trial court to strike the provision related to visitation and maintenance costs for the dogs.
Peoria County v. Capitelli 494 N.E.2d 155 (Ill.App. 3 Dist.,1986)

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

Smith v. State 491 S.W.3d 864 (Tex. App. 2016), petition for discretionary review refused (Aug. 24, 2016) Defendant Jonas Smith was convicted of aggravated assault and appealed. He argued that the trial court (1) erred by denying his motion to suppress his warrantless arrest; (2) abused its discretion by failing to grant a mistrial after the Plaintiff referenced the Defendant’s previous incarceration; and (3) abused its discretion by allowing a child witness to testify with the assistance of a service dog. The Court of Appeal of Texas, Houston (14th Dist.)., held that: 1. The police officer had probable cause to believe that the defendant committed an act of family violence, which justified his warrantless arrest; 2. any prejudice resulting from the Plaintiff’s reference to Defendant's prior incarceration was cured by prompt jury instruction to disregard reference; 3. allowing the child witness to testify with the assistance of a service dog was not likely to prejudice the jury in evaluating the child's testimony; and 4.any error in allowing the witness to testify with the assistance of a service dog was harmless. The Court of Appeals reasoned that the defendant did not present any argument during the trial about the jury being prejudiced by the presence of the service dog. Therefore, there was nothing present for review at the appellate level. Also, the Defendant did not identify any harm from the use of a service dog. The Defendant’s conviction was affirmed.
Lira v. Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue, Inc. 488 S.W.3d 300 (Tex. Apr. 1, 2016)

In this case, plaintiff’s family dog, a German Shepherd named Monte, ran away and was rescued by Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue (GHGSDR). The organization refused to return the dog to plaintiff, so plaintiff filed suit against GHGSDR. The court found that there is no common law that states that a dog owner loses property rights to its dog if it runs away and is found by someone else. The court also looked to whether or not there was a city ordinance that would determine the proper ownership of the dog. Ultimately, the court found that the city ordinance regarding stray dogs did not strip the plaintiff of ownership rights because the dog had run away. The court also held that if there were any doubts as to the meaning of the ordinance, it should always be read “against a forfeiture of property.” The Supreme Court of Texas reversed judgment of the court of appeals and rendered judgment reinstating the trial court's judgment that Monte belonged to the Liras and the court properly enjoined GHGSDR to return him to his owners. 

Boosman v. Moudy 488 S.W.2d 917 (Mo.App. 1972)
In this Missouri case, an action was brought on behalf of a child who was bitten by a dog (a large dog of the malemute breed). After the lower court entered judgment against the dog owner, the owner appealed. The Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's evidence demonstrated that the dog had become ill-natured and had acquired the persistent menacing habit of growling, bristling and snapping at people. Such behavior was repeatedly brought to the attention of the owner's wife prior to time dog bit child. This evidence, together with owner's evidence that his daughter had encouraged the dog to play tug-of-war with her clothing, supported the verdict in favor of the plaintiff that the injury to child resulted from the propensity of the dog to do bodily harm, either in anger or from playfulness.
Miller v. Nye Cty. 488 F. Supp. 3d 973 (D. Nev. 2020) In this case, Plaintiff Gary Miller sued Nye County and one of its deputies under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and various Nevada state laws for the fatal shooting of his dog, Blu. Blu was shot four times at the plaintiff's residence after officers responded when Mr. Miller accidentally set off a silent alarm at his own residence. The County and deputy moved to dismiss three of the plaintiff's claims and his request for punitive damages against the County. The court granted the motion to dismiss those claims because it found that the County is statutorily immune from Plaintiff's negligent-training claim and because he lacks the necessary relationship with Blu to establish a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. With regard to the punitive damages claim in a § 1983 action, the court granted the County's motion to dismiss that request for relief. Finally, the court granted the County's motion to dismiss Miller's § 1983 claim against it because the plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to state a plausible claim for relief under a theory of single-incident liability. However, the court granted leave to amend this claim if the plaintiff can plausibly allege that the County has engaged in a pattern of similar conduct, or that the scenario in this case is likely to recur and that an officer who is ill-equipped to handle the scenario will likely commit a constitutional violation.
Szabla v. City of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota 486 F.3d 85 (8th Cir. 2007)
A man who was bitten by a police dog brought a § 1983 action against two cities and police officers for violating his Fourth Amendment rights; the man also brought some state laws claims against the defendants as well. When the district court granted Minnesota’s motion for summary judgment, the park occupant appealed and the appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision. The appeals court also granted a petition to rehear, en banc, the question of the city’s municipal liability and found that the city was entitled to summary judgment on that claim. Circuit Judge Gibson filed a dissenting opinion and was joined by Wollman, Bye, and Melloy.
Stephens v. Target Corp. 482 F.Supp.2d 1234 (2007)

Lamp owners sued the lamp’s manufacturer and seller under Washington Products Liability Act, alleging that  lamp caused a fire that injured their dog. The District Court held that Plaintiffs could not recover damages for emotional harm arising from injury to their dog. The appropriate measure of damages for personal property is market value, but if it has none, then the value to the owner is the proper measure. Plaintiffs' recovery was limited to the actual or intrinsic value of the dog.

Mackley v. State 481 P.3d 639 (Wyo. 2021) The Wyoming Supreme Court considers whether the jury was properly instructed on the charge of aggravated animal cruelty. The case stems from an incident where a dog escaped his owner and attacked the defendant's dogs at his front door. A local teenager grabbed the offending dog ("Rocky") and dragged him into the street as the dog fight carried on. The defendant responded by grabbing his gun and shooting Rocky as he was held by the teenager. A jury convicted defendant of both aggravated animal cruelty and reckless endangering. At the trial, defendant moved for judgment of acquittal on both charges, arguing that the Wyoming Legislature has established that humanely destroying an animal is not animal cruelty and that the State did not provide evidence that he intentionally pointed a firearm at anyone, which defendant contends is necessary for the reckless endangering charge. On appeal here, the court first observed that defendant's challenge to a confusing or misleading jury instruction was waived because he negotiated with the prosecution to draft it. Further, the Supreme Court did not find an abuse of discretion where the district court refused defendant's additional instructions on the humane destruction of an animal in the jury instructions on the elements for the aggravated cruelty to animals charge. While defendant argued that the instructions should include subsection m from the statute, he only now on appeal contends that the subsection should have been given as a theory of defense. Thus, reviewing this argument for plain error, the Court found that defendant's theory that his killing was "humane" and thus excluded from the crime of aggravated cruelty was not supported by the language of the statute. In fact, such an interpretation not only goes against the plain language, but "then any animal could be killed, under any circumstances, as long as it is killed quickly." Defendant presented no evidence that the dog he shot was suffering or distressed and needed euthanasia. The trial court did not commit error when it declined to instruct the jury on subsection m. As to the reckless endangering conviction, the court also affirmed this charge as defendant showed a conscious disregard for the substantial risk he placed the teenager in regardless of whether he pointed the gun at the victim. Affirmed.
Martinez v. State 48 S.W.3d 273 (Tex. App. 2001).

A jury may infer a culpable mental state ("intentionally and knowingly") from the circumstances surrounding the offense of cruelty to animals.

In re MARRIAGE OF Kimberly K. Enders and Michael A. BAKER 48 N.E.3d 1277 (Ill. App. Ct., 2015)

In this case, Michael A. Baker appealed the trial court’s decision regarding property distribution and visitation rights with regard to his two dogs, Grace and Roxy, following his divorce from Kimberly K. Enders. The trial court awarded custody of both dogs to Enders and denied Baker any visitation rights. In making its decision, the trial court relied on a New York case in which the New York Supreme Court did not allow dog visitation. (Travis v. Murray, 42 Misc.3d 447, 977 N.Y.S.2d 621, 631 (N.Y.Sup.Ct.2013). The New York Supreme Court refused to apply the “best interests of the dog” standard and instead applied a “best for all standard,” holding that “household pets enjoy a status greater than mere chattel.” Baker appealed the trial court’s decision arguing that Illinois courts have the authority to order pet visitation. On appeal, the court determined that there was no case law to suggest that an Illinois court had ever addressed the issue of dog visitation. As a result, the court found that the trial court was well within its discretion to apply the standard used in the New York case. Additionally, the court of appeals applied the statutory definition of “dog owner” in Illinois and determined that Enders was the dogs’ rightful owner. The Illinois statute defined owner as “any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian.” The court found that because the dogs were left in Ender’s care following the divorce, she is the one who “keeps or harbors” the dogs and is therefore the owner. Ultimately, the court affirmed the trial court’s decision and denied Baker visitation rights.

McDougall v. Lamm 48 A.3d 312 (N.J.,2012)

This New Jersey case considered whether a pet owner should be permitted to recover for emotional distress caused by observing the traumatic death of that pet. The incident giving rise to this case occurred when plaintiff's "maltipoo" dog was attacked and killed by a neighbor's larger dog as she was walking her dog. Plaintiff then brought an action against the owner of the larger dog, alleging negligence and emotional distress. The lower court entered partial summary judgment to the owner of the large dog on the emotional distress claim, and a bench trial awarded plaintiff replacement costs for her dog. On appeal here, the Supreme Court recognized that while many individuals develop close, familial bonds with their pets, expanding a cause of action for emotional distress due to the loss of a pet would create "ill-defined and amorphous cause of action that would elevate the loss of pets to a status that exceeds the loss of all but a few human beings."

Amos v. State 478 S.W.3d 764 (Tex. App. 2015), petition for discretionary review refused (Nov. 18, 2015) A jury found appellant guilty of the offense of cruelty to a nonlivestock animal after he beat a Shih Tzu to death with a broom. After finding an enhancement paragraph true, the jury assessed Appellant's punishment at thirty-one months’ confinement. Appellant asserted five issues on this appeal: (1) the admission of a State's witness's recorded statement to the police, which the court overruled because the evidence was received without objection; (2) the denial of his motion to quash the indictment for failing to allege an offense, which the court overruled because the indictment tracked the statutory language; (3) the denial of six of his challenges for cause, which the court overruled because the venire members gave the defense counsel contradictory answers meaning the trial court could not abuse its discretion in refusing to excuse a juror; (4) the denial of his objection to the charge, which the court overruled because the jury charge tracked the statute’s language; and (5) the denial of his motion to suppress the dog’s necropsy, which the court overruled because the appellant had no intention of reclaiming the dog's body or her ashes and thereby relinquished his interest in them such that he could no longer retain a reasonable expectation of privacy and lacked standing to contest the reasonableness of any search. The lower court’s decision was therefore affirmed.
Jones v. State 473 So. 2d 1197 (Ala. App. 1985)

Defendant was convicted of unlawfully owning, possessing, keeping or training a dog or dogs with intent that such dog or dogs be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog, and he appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that: (1) dogfighting statute was not unconstitutionally vague; (2) testimony of animal cruelty investigator was sufficient for jury to conclude that defendant owned dogs after effective date of antidog-fighting statute; (3) evidence as to poor conditions of dogs and their vicious propensities exhibited while lodged at animal shelter was relevant to issue of defendant's intent to fight the dogs; and (4) evidence gained by police officer pursuant to search warrant was not inadmissible.

IN RE: JAMES W. HICKEY, D/B/A S&S FARMS, AND S.S. FARMS, INC. 47 Agric. Dec. 840 (1988) Licensed dealer found guilty of numerous violations of Act involving care and housing of dogs and cats, failure to allow inspection of records, and failure to keep and maintain adequate records as to acquisition and disposition of animals, is properly penalized with 25-year suspension of license, civil penalty of $40,000, and cease and desist order.
IN RE: ERVIN STEBANE 47 Agric. Dec. 1264 (1988) Licensed dealer who engaged in recurring pattern of trivial noncompliance with housekeeping requirements, failed to provide records on two occasions and failed to permit inspection on one occasion, is properly sanctioned with 20-day license suspension, $1500 civil penalty, and cease and desist order.
Rowlette v. Paul 466 S.E.2d 37 (Ga. 1995) This Georgia case involved a dog bite to a person who went to went to the Pauls' house in order to verify and update information for the Oglethorpe County Tax Assessor's Office.  The court held that in the absence of any evidence showing that the owners of a dog had knowledge, prior to a mauling incident, that their dog had ever bitten another human being, the owners of the dog were not liable to the victim even though the dog's presence on the premises where the incident occurred was in violation of the county leash law.  In order to support an action for damages under OCGA § 51-2-7, it is necessary to show that the dog was vicious or dangerous and that the owner had knowledge of this fact.
McBride v. Orr 466 A.2d 952 (N.H., 1983)

In this New Hampshire case, defendant animal control officer killed plaintiff’s dog believing that it was in pursuit of a deer. Defendant claimed immunity pursuant to a state statute. The Court reversed and remanded for a determination of damages for the plaintiff. The Court went on to state that the purpose of the statute was not to authorize defendant’s killing of plaintiff’s dog when the dog was no longer pursuing the deer.

Swilley v. State 465 S.W.3d 789 (Tex. App. 2015) In the indictment, the State alleged Appellant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortured or in a cruel manner killed or caused serious bodily injury to an animal by shooting a dog with a crossbow, a state jail felony. The dog in question was a stray, which fell within the statutory definition of an “animal.” After a jury found Appellant guilty, the trial court assessed his punishment at two years' confinement in a state jail. On appeal, Appellant contended that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a mistrial after the jury heard evidence of an extraneous offense also involving cruelty to animals. Since the video that mentioned the extraneous offense was admitted without objection, the court held the Appellant waived the error and the trial court did not err by denying Appellant's motion for mistrial or by giving the instruction to disregard and overrule Appellant's first issue. Appellant further asserted the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. The court, however, held the evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to have found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Appellant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortured or in a cruel manner killed or caused serious bodily injury to an animal by shooting it with a crossbow. The trial court's judgment was therefore affirmed.
Ott v. Pittman 463 S.E.2d 101 (S.C.App.,1995)

In this South Carolina case, a dog owner brought a negligence action against a hog farmer who shot two of the owner's champion "Treeing Walker Coonhound" dogs. The farmer counterclaimed, alleging damages for the dogs' action and malicious prosecution. The lower court ordered judgment for the dogs' owner (Ott) in the amount of $19,800, finding Pittman 90% liable. On the farmer's appeal, this court upheld the $19,800 award, finding sufficient support based on expert testimony about the specific qualities of the breed.

DeRobertis by DeRobertis v. Randazzo 462 A.2d 1260 (N.J. 1983)

The principal issue in this New Jersey case is the liability of a dog owner to an infant plaintiff bitten by the owner's dog. At trial the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs, and the Appellate Division, in an unreported opinion, affirmed. A factual issue existed at the trial, however, as to whether the infant plaintiff was lawfully on the property of the owner, but the trial court did not submit that question to the jury. The omission is important because the "dog-bite" statute, N.J.S.A. 4:19-16, imposes absolute liability on an owner whose dog bites someone who is "lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog." If the plaintiff was a trespasser, he was not lawfully on the property, and liability should not be determined under the statute but according to common-law principles.  It was necessary to find that the invitation to infant plaintiff to be on defendant's property extended to the area where the dog was chained.

Blake v. County of Wyoming 46 N.Y.S.3d 753 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017)

The City of Wyoming filed an appeal after the court dismissed the City’s motion for summary judgment. The initial law suit was filed by Cassandra Blake after she sustained injuries from a dog bite at the Wyoming County Animal Shelter. Blake was working at the shelter as a volunteer dog walker when the incident occurred. Blake filed suit against the City of Wyoming on the basis of strict liability. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision to deny the City’s motion for summary judgment on the basis that the City did not have actual or constructive knowledge that the dog had vicious propensities. The Court of Appeals rejected Blake’s argument that the City did have knowledge because the shelter was aware that the dog had previously knocked over a four year old child. The Court of Appeals found that this behavior was not notice to the shelter that the dog had any propensity to bite. As a result, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision and granted the City’s motion for summary judgment.

Motta v. Menendez 46 A.D.3d 685 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2007)

This New York case arose following an incident that occurred on December 13, 2003, in which the appellant's two pit bull terriers entered the petitioner's property, and one of appellant's dogs ("Duke") attacked and injured the petitioner's pet dog. Following a special proceeding, the lower court determined that appellant's pit bull terrier named “Duke” was a dangerous dog and directed that it be destroyed. On appeal, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division found that the dangerous dog statute in effect on December 13, 2003, did not provide that one dog attacking another was conduct subject to the penalty of destruction (Agriculture and Markets Law former §§ 108, 121).

Andrews v. City of West Branch Iowa 454 F.3d 914 (8th Cir., 2006)

Appellants filed a suit against defendant, City of West Branch, Iowa and former police chief Dan Knight, seeking damages and relief under Section 1983. The dog was killed by Knight in the owners' fenced backyard in view of one of the plaintiffs. The district court's grant of summary judgment for the officer was reversed and the case was remanded for a jury trial.

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