Dogs: Related Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
De Lanoy v. Taylor 452 P.3d 1036 (Or.App., 2019) This Oregon case involves a dispute over who now owns a female whippet dog named "Isis." Isis was adopted from the local humane society and lived with the plaintiff and his family until 2014. In the summer of 2014, plaintiff asked his friend Rich to keep Isis while plaintiff moved to Florida. Both plaintiff and Rich understood that Rich was just caring for Isis and that plaintiff remained Isis' owner. Defendant is Rich's ex-girlfriend had a different understanding; that plaintiff had abandoned Isis and, as such, Isis became defendant's property. In 2016, plaintiff filed an action for replevin against defendant, seeking immediate return of Isis. Defendant countered with a counterclaim for a declaratory judgment that the dog was gifted to Rich - who subsequently abandoned the dog - and so defendant became the rightful owner. A bench trial ruled in favor of plaintiff, finding insufficient evidence to establish that plaintiff had gifted the dog or that Rich had abandoned the dog. On appeal, defendant raises a single procedural error, that the court erred by granting plaintiff replevin the procedures in ORCP 83 A were not followed. Notably, the court found that there was no ruling against defendant with regard to noncompliance of a court rule. More importantly, there was no challenge to the court's disposition of the declaratory judgement counterclaim. Thus, defendant presented no error in the disposition of her counterclaim. Accordingly, because the trial court declared plaintiff to be the lawful owner of Isis, and no one has challenged that declaration, the court did not reach defendant's arguments about the proper procedure for a replevin claim.
Citizens' Rapid-Transit Co. v. Dew 45 S.W. 790 (Tenn.1898)

This is an action for negligently injuring and killing a dog by the driver of a streetcar. The Supreme Court of Tennessee affirmed a verdict for $200 after defendant train killed plaintiff’s dog. The Court reasoned that since large amounts of money are now invested in dogs, and since they are regarded as companions to many in society, they now have "a distinct and well established status in the eyes of the law." Thus, the owner of a dog has property rights in that dog to maintain an action at law. The Supreme Court of Tennessee found that the defendant company was guilty of negligence in the killing of Dew's dog, that his death could have been prevented by the exercise of proper care and diligence.

CITIZENS' RAPID-TRANSIT CO. v. DEW 45 S.W. 790 (Tenn. 1898)

In 1898, this court affirmed a verdict for $200 after defendant train killed plaintiff’s dog. The Court reasoned that, "Large amounts of money are now invested in dogs, and they are extensively the subjects of trade and traffic. They are the negro's associates, and often his only property, the poor man's friend, and the rich man's companion, and the protection of women and children, hearthstones and hen roosts. In the earlier law books it was said that "dog law" was as hard to define as was "dog Latin." But that day has passed, and dogs have now a distinct and well established status in the eyes of the law."

IN RE: ROSIA LEE ENNES 45 Agric. Dec. 540 (1986) Civil penalty of $1,000 against unlicensed dealer was appropriate under 7 USCS § 2149(b), and greater penalty could have been requested where although moderate size of kennel suggested modest penalty, selling hundreds of dogs without license over 40-month period was grave violation of Animal Welfare Act, violations were not committed in good faith since dogs were knowingly and intentionally sold without license after receiving 4 warnings, and even though dealer thought mistakenly that Department would not prosecute her for such violations and there was no history of previous violations, the hundreds of violations proven were sufficient to warrant severe sanction.
Quave v. Bardwell 449 So.2d 81 (La.App. 1 Cir.,1984)

Plaintiff-appellee, Debbie Quave, filed this suit against defendant-appellant, Curtis Bardwell, seeking damages for the deliberate and unjustified killing of her german shepherd dog, Kilo Bandito. The court upheld an award of $2,650, finding that the assessment of damages for plaintiff’s dog was proper since they were based on the value paid, stud fees, medical care, loss of income, and replacement costs.

Chase v. State 448 S.W.3d 6 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014) Appellant and his wife were walking their two dogs when two neighbor dogs attacked the group. After the attack, appellant slashed the attacking dog's throat with a knife, which resulted in the dog's death. Appellant was then charged with and convicted of cruelty to non-livestock animals under Texas law. The appellant appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals and the case was reversed and remanded. The State filed a petition for discretionary review with the Court of Criminal Appeals. The issue before that court was whether § 822.013(a) of the Texas Health and Safety Code, a non-penal code, provided a defense to criminal prosecution. The court held that § 822.013(a)—which allows an attacked animal's owner or a person witnessing an attack to kill a dog that is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked a domestic animal—is a defense against cruelty to non-livestock animals. The judgment of the Court of Appeals was therefore affirmed. The dissenting opinion disagreed. The dissent argued the goal of this statute was to protect farmers and ranchers against the loss of their livelihood by allowing them to protect their livestock from attacking dogs without fear of liability to the dog's owner, not to allow individuals in residential neighborhoods to kill a neighbor's dog after an attack with criminal impunity.
Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue, Inc. v. Lira 447 S.W.3d 365 (Tex. App. 2014), reh'g overruled (Oct. 16, 2014) A German Shepherd dog owned by the appellees escaped through an open garage door of the appellees' home. Animal control impounded the dog for violations of city ordinances. When the appellees did not redeem the dog, instead of being euthanized, animal control turned the dog over to a rescue society for adoption. The dog was then sterilized and micro chipped. After learning what happened, appellees made a request to transfer the dog to them. When they were refused, the appellees filed suit. The trial court ruled in favor of the appellees on their conversion cause of action and their requests for declaratory and injunctive relief, which ordered appellant to turn the dog over to the appellees. On appeal, the court held that since the appellees did not redeem the dog in compliance with city ordinances, they did not have an entitlement to the dog, which was required to establish a conversion claim. Further, since the rescue organization was a recognized city rescue partner, animal control could lawfully transfer the dog to the rescue organization. The court also held the ordinance setting forth an additional 30-day redemption period did not apply to owners. The appeals court therefore reversed the judgment of the trial court, rendered judgment that appellees take nothing, and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, including an appropriate order restoring possession of the dog to appellant.
Brousseau v. Rosenthal 443 N.Y.S.2d 285 (N.Y.City Civ.Ct., 1980)

This small claims action presents the question of how to make plaintiff whole in dollars for the defendant bailee's (a boarding kennel) negligence in causing the death of plaintiff's dog.  While the dog was a gift and a mixed breed and thus had no ascertainable market value, the court contravened common law principles and assessed the dog's actual value to the owner in order to make the owner whole.  While resisting the temptation to romanticize the virtues of a "human's best friend," the court stated it would be wrong not to acknowledge the companionship and protection that Ms. Brousseau lost with the death of her canine companion of eight years.

IN RE: JAMES AND JULIA STUEKERJUERGEN, D/B/A CORNER VIEW KENNELS. 44 Agric. Dec. 186 (1985) Dog broker shipping dogs under 8 weeks old was assessed civil penalty of $7,000 and license as dealer under Animal Welfare Act was suspended for 35 days, since broker was one of largest dog brokers in state, 8-week minimum age requirement was based on finding that ability of dogs to function in adult environment was adversely affected if shipped under that age, violations were serious and flagrant in view of large number of puppies shipped on 10 different occasions during 2-month period, and broker had violated Act and standards on prior occasion resulting in 12 day license suspension.
State v. Warren 439 P.3d 357 (Mt. 2019) Cathie Iris Warren was convicted of three felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty, five felony counts of aggravated cruelty, and a misdemeanor cruelty to animals count. Warren appealed contending that the district court erred by denying Warren’s motion to suppress evidence obtained in a warrantless search of her commercial kennel property, denying Warren’s Baston challenge, and in imposing costs to be reimbursed by Warren under Montana law. Cathie Iris Warren operated a kennel on her residential property in Libby, Montana. Warren obtained her initial license to operate her business in 2013. In 2016 it was discovered that Warren was operating her kennel despite the fact that her business license had expired in October of 2015. In order to obtain a new license, Warren needed to have an inspection of her property. Warren ended up having three separate inspections of her property. After each inspection, Warren had failed to meet the requirements. The members of the Health Department who were involved in the inspections became concerned that the animals were not being adequately cared for and were not of good health. Warren could not provide appropriate vaccination records for all of her animals. A search warrant was executed on Warren’s property on August 2, 2016. Warren’s animals were seized the same day. Warren moved to suppress the evidence that was obtained arguing that a warrant was required for each inspection that had been conducted on her property. The court concluded that there was no search because Warren did not have an expectation of privacy in her commercial kennel operation that society would consider objectively reasonable. The trial court convicted Warren and found that Warren owed statutorily-imposed costs, including veterinary care, food and supplies, excess hours worked by county employees, and travel costs as well as the shelter’s lost revenue. Warren appealed her conviction and sentence. The Supreme Court of Montana found that Warren treated parts of her home as part of her kennel, therefore, those areas of her home that were searched were considered commercial property which is subject to a less significant expectation of privacy. The Court concluded that the administrative inspection fell within the applicable warrant exception, was reasonable, and did not require a search warrant. Warren also challenged the State’s peremptory challenge of a minority juror (Baston Challenge). The Court concluded that the District Court reached the right conclusion on the Baston challenge but for the wrong reason. Warren’s third challenge was whether the District Court erred in calculating the statutory costs owed by Warren. The Court found that the costs approved by the District Court were reasonably supported by the evidence. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgment of the District Court.
Just Puppies, Inc. v. Frosh 438 F. Supp. 3d 448 (D. Md. 2020), vacated and remanded, No. 20-1631, 2021 WL 4452349 (4th Cir. Apr. 29, 2021) The State of Maryland passed a “No More Puppy-Mill Pups Act” which went into effect January 1, 2020. The Act prohibits retail pet stores in Maryland from offering for sale or otherwise transferring or disposing of cats or dogs. Four pet stores, a dog breeder, and a dog broker filed suit against Brian Frosh, the Attorney General of Maryland, the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Maryland Attorney General (CPD), the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee, and the Maryland State Senate Finance Committee seeking an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the Act as well as a declaration that it is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The Defendants were all entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment, unless an exception were to apply. Under the Ex parte Young exception “private citizens may sue state officials in their official capacities in federal court to obtain prospective relief from ongoing violations of federal law.” The CPD and Committee Defendants were not State officials and, therefore, they did not fall within the Ex parte Young exception. The Ex parte Young exception, however, applied to Mr. Frosh as he was the Attorney General of Maryland since he had some connection with the enforcement of the Act. In Counts I, II, and III, the Plaintiffs alleged that the Puppy-Mill Act violated the Constitution's Commerce Clause. The Court found that the Plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege that the Act discriminated against out-of-state breeders and brokers in its text, in its effect, or in its purpose. Count IV alleged that the Puppy-Mill Act was preempted by the AWA. The Court found that prohibiting Maryland pet stores from selling dogs or cats had no effect on the operation of the AWA. The Puppy-Mill Act's impact on pet stores did not clash with the AWA, because pet stores were explicitly exempt from the AWA. Count V alleged that the Puppy-Mill Act deprived Plaintiffs of their constitutional right to the equal protection of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Court found no merit in this argument. Count VI asserted that the Act created a monopoly prohibited by Article 41 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. The Court found that the Puppy-Mill Act did not constitute an exclusive right to sell cats and dog in Maryland. Although the Act prohibited brick and mortar stores from participating in the sale of cats and dogs, consumers still had a plethora of choices when seeking to obtain a pet, including rescue shelters, animal control units, USDA licensed breeders and brokers, and unregulated hobby breeders. The Court ultimately dismissed all claims against the CPD and the Committee Defendants and allowed the claims against Brian Frosh to proceed.
Szabla v. City of Brooklyn Park, MN 437 F.3d 1289 (8th Cir. 2006)

After an 8th Circuit decision to affirm the district court's summary judgment against Szabla and to reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the City of Brooklyn Park, the City of Brooklyn Park filed a petition requesting a hearing en blanc. The 8th Circuit granted the petition, but limited the en blanc hearing to the issues raised in the city’s petition.  In all other respects, however, the Szabla v. City of Brooklyn Park, Mn., 429 F.3d 1168 (8th Cir. 2005) panel opinion and judgment were reinstated. Szabla v. City of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, 486 F.3d 385 (8th Cir. 2007).

McDonald v. Bauman 433 P.2d 437 (Kan. 1967)

This is an action for damages, both actual and punitive, wherein the plaintiff seeks to recover for the defendant's willful, wanton, malicious and cruel conduct in coming onto the plaintiff's premises, in plaintiff's absence, and in shooting and wounding plaintiff's dog in the presence of plaintiff's wife without justification or excuse and without the acquiescence or condonation of the plaintiff or his wife. A jury in the lower court acted found in favor of the defendant and the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the Supreme Court held that evidence that the defendant caught the dog in the act of injuring his hogs, and that the defendant was in hot pursuit of the dogs, was sufficient to support the jury's verdict.

Turner v. Ferguson 432 F. Supp. 3d 876 (E.D. Wis. 2020) On March 5, 2017 Lori turner was attacked by her neighbor’s (“Arndt”) dog which required her to receive 11 staples to close the wound on her scalp. She also suffered bites on her shoulder and wrist that would later require surgery. Pursuant to local regulations, the neighbor’s dog was quarantined for a ten-day period. Lori mentioned to officers that the City of Gelndale had recently enacted an ordinance that allowed for an officer to declare a dog vicious which then required the owner of the dog to adhere to certain requirements like securing the dog in a kennel when it was outdoors and maintaining liability insurance for dog bites. On March 14, 2017, Officer Ruppel issued a citation to Ardnt under a Glendale ordinance for damage caused by dogs, however, he did not declare the dog vicious under the vicious-dog ordinance. Officer Ruppel reasoned during deposition that he chose not to do so because he considered Ardnt grabbing the dog by the neck and Lori walking up and petting the dog (prior to Ardnt’s action) provocation. Lori filed suit against the officers she interacted with over the course of the next year claiming that the officers denied her equal protection of the law by refusing to declare Arndt’s dog vicious and by failing to protect her from loose dogs in the neighborhood. Lori had repeatedly contacted the police department over the course of a year about how she did not like the outcome of her dog bite case and about loose dogs in the neighborhood. Lori specifically alleged that the officers treated her with animus. The Court ultimately found that the evidence in the record did not support a class-of-one equal protection claim. Officer Ruppel’s decision to not declare Ardnt’s dog vicious was supported by a rational basis. Additionally, no evidence existed that suggested that the Glendale police department intentionally and irrationally treated Lori’s complaints about loose dogs in the neighborhood differently than it treated similar complaints by other citizens. The Defendant’s motion for summary judgment was granted.
Young's Bus Lines v. Redmon 43 S.W.2d 266 (Tex. 1931)

Appellee blind newspaper vendor had a trained seeing eye dog that was run over and killed by a public bus, driven by appellant. The court held that the measure of damages was the market value of the dog at the time and place where it was killed. If the dog had no market value, then the intrinsic or actual value to appellee was the measure of damages.

Szabla v. City of Brooklyn Park, Mn. 429 F.3d 1168 (8th Cir., 2005)

A homeless man was mistaken for the driver of a crashed car while sleeping in a public park and was bitten by a police dog.  The homeless man brought claims under Section 1983 claiming his Fourth Amendment rights had been violated.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the police department and city, but the Court of Appeals remanded the issue of excessive force. Rehearing en Banc Granted in Part, Opinion Vacated in Part by Szabla v. City of Brooklyn Park, MN , 429 F.3d 1289 (8th Cir., 2006).

Village of Carpentersville v. Fiala 425 N.E.2d 33 (Ill.App., 1981)

In this Illinois case, the defendant, Joseph R. Fiala, appealed a violation of the Village Code of Carpentersville, which prohibited the ownership of more than two adult dogs at his single-family residence.  In a hearing, one of defendant's neighbor's testified that the defendant was maintaining 15 large red dogs (Irish setters).  The Illinois Appellate Court held that the village had statutory authority to enact any ordinance necessary for the promotion of health, safety and welfare of the community and that a municipality may also pass ordinances that "define, prevent, and abate nuisances."  Further, the court also held that the village ordinance is not unconstitutional as violative of equal protection based on a classification between single-family residences and single-family units within multiple housing buildings, where such considerations of indoor and outdoor space, density, and proximity to others, noise levels, and structural differences, are rationally related to the object of the ordinance.

Earl v. Piowaty 42 A.D.3d 865 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.) Plaintiffs' son was seriously injured when he was bitten in the face by a dog that belonged to defendant Susan Piowaty.  Plaintiffs brought action on behalf of their son against Piowaty and the animal shelter from which Piowaty had adopted the dog two weeks prior to the incident, alleging that they had constructive notice of the dog's vicious propensities because of a minor incident earlier that week.  However, this court agreed with the denial of plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment because there remains a triable issue as to the defendants' notice of the dog's vicious propensities at the time of the son's injury.
Animal Hospital of Elmont, Inc. v. Gianfrancisco 418 N.Y.S.2d 992 (N.Y.Dist.Ct., 1979)

In this New York case, defendant presented his puppy to plaintiff-animal hospital for treatment. After discussions between about the cost of the care, defendant apparently felt that he would not be allowed to retrieve the puppy from the hospital's possession. As a consequence, plaintiff sent a letter to defendant describing the balance owed, and stating that the hospital would retain the puppy for 10 more days after which it would "take care of the dog in accordance with the legal methods available to dispose of abandoned dogs." The issue on appeal is whether this letter qualified as noticed required by the Agriculture and Markets Act, Sec. 331. The court found that it did not comply with the statutory requirements and thus, plaintiff was responsible for defendant's loss of his puppy valued at $200 at trial. Plaintiff was entitled to a judgment on its complaint for the costs of care amounting to $309.

Becker v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. 416 N.W.2d 906 (Wis.,1987)

Motorist sued dog owner after he was injured in a car accident allegedly caused by dog. The Court of Appeals held that the “injury by dog” statute creates strict liability for any injury or damage caused by dog if owner was negligent (with public policy exceptions). Here, the dog owner was not strictly liable because he was not negligent when his dog escaped from its enclosure.

Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital, Inc. 415 N.Y.S.2d (182 N.Y.City Civ.Ct., 1979)

Plaintiff sued for mental suffering after she discovered a dead cat in the casket that was meant for her dead dog in an elaborate funeral for the dog.  In ruling that the plaintiff was entitled to damages beyond market value for this actionable tort, the court found that plaintiff Ms. Corso did suffer shock, mental anguish and despondency due to the wrongful destruction and loss of the dog's body.  The court specifically distinguished a pet from other sentimental inanimate objects as they are not capable of returning love and affection.

Williams v. Lexington County Bd. of Zoning Appeals 413 S.C. 647, 776 S.E.2d 749 (S.C. Ct. App. 2015) Appellant sought review of the circuit court's order upholding the Lexington County Board of Zoning Appeals' unanimous decision that the county zoning ordinance prohibits Appellant from operating a dog grooming business at her home. The appeals court found that the word kennel, as used in the Lexington County Zoning Ordinance for Resident Local 5 (RL5), included dog grooming. Since Appellant’s dwelling was zoned RL5 and the ordinance prohibited kennels in RL5, the appeals court upheld the circuit court’s decision.
DILLON v. O'CONNOR 412 P.2d 126 (Wash. 1966)

As the court stated, "This is ‘The Case of the Costly Canine.' ‘Bimbo,’ an acknowledged ‘tree hound' but without pedigree or registration papers, lost a bout with defendant's automobile. For ‘Bimbo's' untimely demise, his owner, plaintiff, brought suit against defendant alleging that ‘Bimbo’ was killed as a result of defendant's negligent operation of his automobile." Ultimately, the court used a market value approach in determining damages.  However, based on subsequent caselaw, it should be noted that Washington uses the market value approach only for negligent injury, and not intentional injury.

Juelfs v. Gough 41 P.3d 593 (Alaska 2002) In this case, the husband and wife had agreed to shared ownership of their dog, which the lower court incorporated into its order.Based on danger the dog faced by other dogs in the wife’s home and increased contention between the parties, the lower court next gave the husband custody with an order for the wife’s visitation, and finally awarded sole custody to the husband. The state’s Supreme Court affirmed the modified order.
Mitchell v. Snider 41 N.Y.S.3d 450 (N.Y. Civ. Ct. 2016) This is a case of an unmarried, co-habitating couple that jointly bought a dog and now dispute who should have the dog after the relationship has terminated. Mitchell brought this replevin action against his girlfriend, Snider, to recover possession of Django, their black lab. This court recognized the traditional way to treat such a case is to consider which party has superior possessory right to the dog. However, modern courts have started to recognize a special category of property in pets and have used a 'best for all concerned' analysis to decide who gets the animal. In this case, the court grants judgment for Snider in part because she had been solely responsible for the dog's care for the previous 20 months. No money was awarded to Mitchell because the expenses he paid were an expression of the parties' mutual love and desire to care for the dog.
Galgano v. Town of North Hempstead 41 A.D.3d 536 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2007)

In this New York Case, the plaintiffs appeal from an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County which granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint for personal injuries and damages due to a dog bite. The court reaffirmed New York law that to recover in strict liability in tort for a dog bite or attack, the plaintiff must establish that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner knew or should have known of the dog's propensities. The fact that the subject dog was brought to the animal shelter because another dog in the owner's household did not get along with it is not indicative that it had vicious propensities.

Wall v. City of Brookfield 406 F.3d 458 (7th Cir. 2005)

A dog that was constantly in violation of local leash ordinances was held as a stray by the town.  The owner of the dog brought a section 1983 action claiming deprivation of the dog's companionship without due process and the trial court held in favor of the town.  The Court of Appeals affirmed reasoning that only a post-deprivation hearing was necessary under the statute (which defendant could have received had she filed a petition with the court).

American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. City of Lynn 404 Mass. 73, 533 N.E.2d 642 (Mass.,1989)

This is an appeal by American Dog Owners Association from a judgment upholding two of three city of Lynn ordinances which restrict ownership of certain dogs within the city limits. The lower court found that one of three animal control ordinances regulating “pit bulls” was unconstitutional. First, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the first two ordinances were repealed by passage of third which was intended to treat subject of pit bulls comprehensively. However, the court found that the third ordinance which attempted to define pit bull by breed was unconstitutionally vague. The court stated that, "if identification by breed name does not provide sufficient ascertainable standards for enforcement, then the “definition” of “Pit Bull” in the fourth ordinance, which is devoid of any reference to a particular breed, but relies instead on the even less clear 'common understanding and usage' of the term 'Pit Bull,' is not sufficiently definite to meet due process requirements."

San Jose Charter of Hells Angels Motorcycle Club v. City of San Jose 402 F.3d 962 (C.A.9 (Cal.),2005)

In this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Defendants-Appellants, seven San Jose City Police Officers and Deputy Sheriff Linderman, appeal from an order of the district court denying in part their motions for qualified immunity. This action arises out of the simultaneous execution of search warrants at the residences of members of the Hells Angels, and at the Hells Angels clubhouse on January 21, 1998. While executing search warrants at two plaintiffs' residences, the officers shot a total of three dogs. This court held that the shooting of the dogs at the Vieira and Souza residences was an unreasonable seizure, and an unreasonable execution of the search warrants, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Exigent circumstances did not exist at either residence, as the officers had a week to consider the options and tactics available for an encounter with the dogs. The unlawfulness of the officers' conduct would have been apparent to a reasonable officer at the time the officers planned for serving the search warrants.

Bogart v. Chapell 396 F.3d 548 (4th Cir., 2005)

A woman was housing hundreds of animals in her residential home, the animals were seized and more than two hundred of them were euthanized.  The woman brought a section 1983 claim against the county sheriff's department and human society.  The trial court granted defendants summary judgment and the Court of Appeals affirmed holding no viable due process claim existed arising from the euthanization. 

Repin v. State 392 P.3d 1174 (Wash. Ct. App., 2017), review denied, 188 Wash. 2d 1023, 398 P.3d 1137 (2017)

In this case, Robert Repin sued Washington State University (WSU) and WSU veterinarian, Dr. Margaret Cohn-Urbach after his dog suffered complications while being euthanized. Repin argued that Cohn-Urbach was grossly negligent in performing the euthanasia which caused his dog pain and prolonged her death. Ultimately, Repin sued for breach of contract, reckless breach of contract, professional negligence, lack of informed consent, intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress, and conversion. The trial court dismissed all of Repin’s claims and Repin appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision and found that Repin was unable to provide sufficient evidence to establish that a reasonable jury may be able to find in his favor. As a result, the Court of Appeals dismissed Repins claims. 

Puckett v. Miller 381 N.E.2d 1087 (Ind.App.,1978)

In this Indiana case, a dog owner brought action against a farmer for the negligent destruction of his two "coon dogs." The lower court granted the farmer's motion for involuntary dismissal, and dog owner appealed. The Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's two dogs, at time they were shot by defendant farmer, were “roaming unattended.” This meant that an attempt to find them had been abandoned, and they were, according to defendant's uncontradicted testimony, trying to get into defendant's chicken enclosure. Thus, defendant farmer was protected in his shooting of those dogs by state statutes that provided that any dog known to have worried any livestock or fowl or any dog found roaming over the country unattended may be lawfully killed.

Dziekan v. Gaynor 376 F.Supp.2d 267 (D. Ct. 2005)

The plaintiff brought civil rights action against municipality and police officer after officer shot and killed his pet dog.  Specifically, he alleged a violation of his substantive due process and Fourth Amendment rights, and the negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On the defendants' motion for summary judgment the court held that the shooting and killing of pet dog was not unreasonable seizure, and the officer was entitled to qualified immunity.

Sullivan v. Ringland 376 A.2d 130 (N.H. 1977) A New Hampshire husband and wife owned their dog jointly when they divorced. The husband planned to take care of the dog while the wife relocated. Instead, he gave the dog away to a friend with a young son. The court held that the wife’s replevin action was not available against the donee of a cotenant.
Pet Dealers Ass'n of New Jersey, Inc. v. Division of Consumer Affairs, Dept. of Law and Public Safety, State of N. J. 373 A.2d 688 (N.J. 1977)

By this appeal Pet Dealers Association of New Jersey, Inc. challenges the validity of the Attorney General's regulations governing the sale of pet cats and dogs adopted pursuant to the Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8--4. Pet Dealers first contends that the regulations in question conflict with Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (N.J.S.A. 12A:2--101 Et seq.) in that the regulations provide the consumer with broader remedies than are available under the Code. The court disagreed, finding that the UCC is intended to give stability and certainty to commercial transactions, not to limit otherwise valid exercise of police powers by the State. Appellant also maintains that the regulations create an invalid classification, contrary to the Equal Protection Clause. The court held the regulations are a valid act of police power that does not evince any invidious discrimination the state's part.

Marek v. Burmester 37 A.D.3d 668, 830 N.Y.S.2d 340, 2007 N.Y. Slip Op. 01527

In this New York case, a bicyclist was injured after allegedly being chased and attacked by defendant's two dogs. The plaintiff-bicyclist sued to recover damages for his injuries. The Supreme Court , Putnam County, granted a defense motion for summary judgment, and the bicyclist appealed. The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that a genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether defendants had constructive notice of the dogs' proclivity to chase bicyclists on the roadway and as to whether those actions put others at risk of harm.

Watson v. State of Texas 369 S.W.3d 865 (Tex.Crim.App. 2012)

Defendants were convicted of attack by dog resulting in death (Tex. Health & Safety Code § 822.005(a)(1)) after a 7-year-old was killed by several of defendants' pit bull dogs. On this appeal, appellants contend that the statute fails to define the terms “attack” and “unprovoked,” and that it fails to specify what conduct is prohibited, resulting in arbitrary enforcement. Thus, jurors could have determined different definitions of the elements of the offense, violating the unanimous jury guarantees of the Texas and United States Constitutions. The Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed, finding, "[t]he statute contains objective criteria for determining what conduct is prohibited and therefore does not permit arbitrary enforcement." The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the Court of Appeals decision stating that the Dog Attack statute did not violate Due Process and that the defendants' convictions did not violate the unanimous jury guarantees of the Texas or the U.S. constitution.

City of Garland v. White 368 S.W.2d 12 (Tex. Civ. App. 1963).

Police officers were trespassers and could be held civilly liable for damages when they entered a dog owner's property with the intent to unlawfully kill the dog. Reports had been made that the dog was attacking other animals but because the attacks were not imminent, in progress, or recent, the killing of the dog was not lawful.

Benningfield v. Zinsmeister 367 S.W.3d 561 (Ky.,2012)

An 8-year-old boy and his sister were walking down a street when they were approached by a Rottweiler. Scared, the boy ran and was attacked by the dog, which caused the boy to suffer serious injuries. As a result, the mother of the child sued the owner of the dog and the landlord of the house where the dog resided under a Kentucky dog bite statute. The landlord won at both the trial and the appellate court level. Upon granting discretionary review for the case, the Kentucky Supreme Court investigated whether or not a landlord could be held strictly liable under the dog bite statute. The Court ruled that a landlord could, but only if the landlord permitted the dog to stay on or about the premises. Since the attack did not occur on or about the premises, the landlord was not found liable under the dog bite statute.

State v. Cochran 365 S.W.3d 628 (Mo.App. W.D., 2012)

Prompted by a phone call to make a return visit to the defendant's house, the Missouri Department of Agriculture and Animal Control were asked, by the defendant, to wait at the door. After waiting by the door for some time, the officers discovered the defendant in the backyard, where she housed at least eleven dogs, trying to remove dog excrement from a pen and trying to remove ice from dog bowls. After further investigation, the defendant was charged with one count of animal abuse and with one count of violating a city ordinance for failure to vaccinate. At the trial, the defendant was convicted on both accounts. On appeal, however, the defendant was found guilty of animal abuse, but was cleared from the ordinance violation.

Roalstad v. City of Lafayette 363 P.3d 790 (Col. Ct. App. Div. III , 2015) The origins of this matter began when the City of Lafayette (City) charged Defendant/Appellant with violating its municipal ordinance regarding vicious animals. Defendant/Appellant requested a jury trial pursuant to C.R.S.A. § 16-10-109. The municipal court denied the request. Defendant/Appellant appealed the district court's dismissal of her C.R.C.P. 106 and declaratory judgment action in which she challenged the municipal court's denial of her request for a jury trial. The sole issue on appeal was whether the offense for which Defendant was charged under the City's ordinances was a “petty offense” under C.R.S.A. § 16-10-109, which would entitle her to a jury trial under that statute. Since the municipal ordinance imposed fines that met that definition and because it was not a crime at common law, the court concluded the offense met the definition of “petty offense;” Defendant/Appellant was therefore entitled to a jury trial in municipal court pursuant to C.R.S.A. § 16-10-109. Further, because the ordinance and the state Dangerous Dog law were counterparts and because the ordinance was criminal in nature, the vicious animal offense was not exempt from the “petty offense” definition. Accordingly, the district court’s order was reversed.
Knowles Animal Hospital, Inc. v. Wills 360 So.2d 37 (Fla.App.,1978)

Dog owners brought negligence action against veterinarian and animal hospital after their dog suffered injuries while under the veterinarian's and the hospital's care. The Appeals Court held that the trial court did not err by allowing the jury to consider plaintiff-owners' mental pain and suffering, and that the jury could reasonably have viewed defendants' neglectful conduct resulting in the dog's injury to have amounted to great indifference to plaintiffs' property.

Tighe v. N. Shore Animal League Am. 36 N.Y.S.3d 500 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016)

In this New York case, the defendant appeals denial of its motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff filed an action to recover damages for personal injuries after the dog she adopted from defendant-North Shore Animal League America bit plaintiff's face causing severe personal injuries. Plaintiff alleges causes of action that include negligence, breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and interposed a claim for punitive damages. After defendant opposed the filing, plaintiff submitted evidence that the dog previously had been returned to defendant animal shelter after biting another individual in the face. This court noted that, under long-standing rule, the owner of a domestic animal who knew or should have known of the animal's vicious propensities is liable for harm. However, here, even if defendant failed to disclose the dog's vicious propensities, that breach was not the proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries. In fact, the dog showed aggressive behavior during the three-and-a-half months the plaintiff owned the dog (including a previous bite to plaintiff's hand). This, in effect, placed the plaintiff on notice of the dog's vicious propensities. The court found that the lower court erred by not granting defendant's motion for summary judgment. With regard to the reach of the implied warranty of merchantability, the court found that even if a transaction from an animal shelter is subject to the warranty, the plaintiff failed to notify defendant of the "nonconformity of the goods" (to wit, the dog) within a reasonable period of time. The order was reversed.

Fuller v. Vines 36 F3d 65 (9th Cir. 1994)

Motion for leave to amend § 1983 civil rights complaint to add claims that police officer violated Fourth Amendment by shooting pet dog and by pointing gun at one plaintiff was denied and the United States District Court for the Northern District of California entered summary judgment in favor of police officers and city. Plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals held that: (1) killing of pet dog stated Fourth Amendment violation, but (2) no seizure of plaintiff occurred when police pointed gun.

In re Marriage of Stewart 356 N.W.2d 611 (Iowa Ct. App. 1984)

Dog which had been gift from husband to wife was awarded to husband in divorce decree; wife appealed.  Appeals court found that the trial court did not err, considering both "the property division as a whole" and that the dog had accompanied husband to work each day.  Court held that a dog is personal property whose best interests need not be considered.

WILCOX v. BUTT'S DRUG STORES, Inc. 35 P.2d 978 (N.M. 1934)

In Wilcox v. Butt’s Drug Stores , plaintiff came into pharmacy to purchase her usual laxative for her show dogs when pharmacist recommended a different brand that ended up killing one of the dogs. The New Mexico Supreme Court held that although sentimental value was not appropriate when calculating the dog’s value, it found recovery not to be limited to market value. Factors such as breed, special qualities, and purchase price were looked at to determine value.

Miles ex rel. Miles v. Rich 347 S.W.3d 477 (Mo.App. E.D., 2011)

In this Missouri case, the plaintiff filed an action against defendant dog owner for damages after defendant's dog bit the plaintiff's child. Defendant dog owner then filed a third-party petition against the Humane Society of Missouri from which defendant had adopted the dog, seeking contribution under a theory of common law negligence. Defendant appeals the lower court's dismissal, specifically contending that the Humane Society breached 1) its duty to prevent the adoption of the dog by doing tests it knew would have identified the dog's dangerous propensity to bite ; and 2) its duty to fully inform defendant of the risks of keeping a dog who has bitten in the past. The appellate court found that the Humane Society did not own, possess, harbor or control the dog when it bit Ms. Miles; thus, it had no duty under common law negligence principles to prevent the harm.

Nelson v. Lewis 344 N.E.2d 268 (Ill.App. 1976)

Toddler accidentally stepped on the tail of the owner's dog, and the dog responded by scratching her eye, causing permanent damage to the tear duct.  The toddler sought damages under Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 8, para. 366 (1973), arguing that her unintentional act did not constitute provocation.  The court held that provocation under the statute referred to both intentional or unintentional acts.  Because the dog was provoked by the unintentional act, he did not react viciously.

City of Water Valley v. Trusty 343 So.2d 471 (Miss. 1977) Appellants filed b ill of complaint seeking to enjoin enforcement of city's dog leash ordinance.  The court summarily held that Mississippi Code Annotated s 21-19-9 (1972) authorizes municipalities to regulate the running at large of animals of all kinds. The ordinance here was enacted pursuant to that authority, it meets the constitutional requirements, and the demurrer should have been sustained on that question.
Muela v. Gomez 343 S.W.3d 491 (Tex.App.-El Paso, 2011)

Defendant Samuel Muela appeals a judgment for damages in the amount of $30,279.45 after plaintiff was attacked by a pit bull. Samuel contends that the evidence is legally insufficient to establish that he owned or possessed the pit bull and thus had no knowledge of its vicious propensities. The court concluded that there is no evidence that Samuel lived at his parents' trailer or owned the pit bull. Additionally, while Samuel did visit his parents' house to feed their pet dog, there was no direct evidence that he had ever seen the pit bull or knew of it. The court reversed and rendered judgment that Gomez take nothing against Samuel.

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