Dogs: Related Cases

Case name Citationsort ascending Summary
Mitchell v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. 188 F.Supp. 869 (D.C.Cal. 1960)

In Mitchell v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. , 188 F.Supp. 869 (S.D. Cal. 1960), an expert was allowed to testify about a dog’s income-potential based on evidence that the dog could perform special tricks and made numerous appearances at charitable events. A jury verdict amounting to $5,000 was upheld where the court determined that the amount was not excessive and evidence of the dog’s income potential was not improper.

Jones v. Craddock 187 S.E. 558 (N.C. 1936)

The plaintiff in Jones v. Craddock , 210 N.C. 429 (N.C. 1936), brought a cause of action for negligent injury to her dog. In this case of first impression, the court embraced, “. . . the modern view that ordinarily dogs constitute a species of property, subject to all the incidents of chattel and valuable domestic animals.” The court determined that plaintiff was entitled to a cause of action for negligence since defendant could have avoided running over plaintiff’s companion animal with a slight turn.

Town of Ogden v. Lavilla 185 A.D.3d 1414, 126 N.Y.S.3d 832 (2020) This matter involves an appeal of an order for euthanasia of respondent's dog. The Justice Court of the Town of Ogden found respondent's dog to be dangerous under Agriculture and Markets Law § 123 and ordered the dog to be euthanized. On appeal, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department agreed with respondent that the lower court misapprehended and misapplied the law. The court found the power to apply the most drastic measure (euthanasia) under Section 123 is reserved for aggravating circumstances, namely a serious disfigurement. The court noted that emotional trauma is not a factor in determining whether a victim has been disfigured. In addition, the language of the law is permissive, not mandatory; even with aggravating circumstances, a court may direct other measures to keep the dog contained. The court noted that the lower court repeatedly misstated the law, saying it only had two options, euthanasia or permanent confinement. As a result, this court modified the by vacating that part affirming the order of the Justice Court insofar as it directed that respondent's dog be euthanized, and remitting to the Justice Court for a determination whether petitioner established the existence of an aggravating circumstance and for the imposition of remedial measures as permitted by statute.
Morawek v. City of Bonney Lake 184 Wash. App. 487, 337 P.3d 1097 (2014) A woman filed a complaint with the Bonney Lake animal control authority after her neighbor’s dog killed her cat. The animal control officer served plaintiff with paperwork stating that his dog satisfied the definition of a dangerous dog under the Bonney Lake Municipal Code because the dog had killed a domestic animal without provocation while off his owner's property. Plaintiff appealed the designation to the police chief, the city hearing examiner, and the superior court; all of which affirmed the designation. The Washington Court of Appeals, however, held that the hearing examiner's finding that the owner's dog killed the neighbor's cat without provocation was not supported by substantial evidence, as required to uphold a dangerous dog designation, even though the “location” element of the dangerous dog designation was satisfied. The dangerous dog designation was therefore reversed.
Roos v. Loeser 183 P. 204 (Cal.App.1.Dist.,1919)

This is an action for damages alleged to have been sustained by plaintiff by reason of the killing of her dog, of the variety known as Pomeranian, by an Airedale belonging to the defendant. In 1919, a California court determined damages to be limited to the veterinary expenses connected with the injury to the animal. In the opinion, the court lovingly discusses the value of the animal. Notwithstanding these words of praise for the small animal, the court decided that the value was limited to the fair market value and related expenses.

Saxton v. Pets Warehouse 180 Misc.2d 377 (N.Y. 1999)

In this small claims action, the plaintiff purchased an unhealthy dog from defendant that died soon after purchase.  The court held that the plaintiff is not limited to the remedies provided by General Business Law § 753 (1), which sets forth a consumer's right to a refund and/or reimbursement for certain expenses incurred in connection with the purchase of an unhealthy dog or cat, as plaintiff's dog came within the definition of "goods" as set forth in UCC 2-105 and defendant was a "merchant" within the meaning of UCC 2- 104 (1).  Accordingly, plaintiff could recover damages pursuant to UCC 2-714 on the theory that defendant breached the implied warranty of merchantability.  The case was remanded for a new trial to solely on the issue of damages limited to any sales tax paid by plaintiff that was not reimbursed by the insurance policy and the reasonable cost of veterinary expenses incurred.

Carpenter v. State 18 N.E.3d 998 (Ind. 2014) After being convicted by a Superior Court bench trial and having the Superior Court’s judgment affirmed by the Court of Appeals, defendant appealed the admission of evidence recovered from his home after officers entered it without a warrant in pursuit of an aggressive and bloody dog. The Supreme Court of Indiana found that the entry was unreasonable under the Indiana Constitution and that the evidence obtained pursuant to a subsequent search warrant was inadmissible. The Superior Court's judgment was therefore reversed.
ANSON v. DWIGHT 18 Iowa 241 (1865)

This case involved the killing of a dog by defendant's minor son. While the issues on appeal were mostly procedural, the court did find that dogs belong to a class of personal property for which a witness can testify as to their value.

Dog Federation of Wisconsin, Inc. v. City of South Milwaukee 178 Wis.2d 353, 504 N.W.2d 375 (Wis.App.,1993)

This appeal is by the Dog Federation of Wisconsin and others who contest a City of South Milwaukee ordinance that imposes restrictions on the ownership and keeping of “pit bulls.” The Federation claims that the “pit bull” aspects of the ordinance are facially invalid because:  the definition of “pit bull” is impermissibly vague; the ordinance is overbroad; and the ordinance violates their right to equal protection. The court found that reference to recognized breeds provides sufficient specifics to withstand a vagueness challenge. With regard to equal protection, the court held that the ordinance is founded on “substantial distinctions” between the breeds of dog covered by the ordinance and other breeds of dog. Moreover, the ordinance is “germane” to the underlying purpose of the ordinance to protect persons and animals from dangerous dogs. Finally, the ordinance applies equally to the affected class of persons owning or keeping pit bulls.

Gorman v. Pierce County 176 Wash. App. 63, 307 P.3d 795 (2013) review denied, 179 Wash. 2d 1010, 316 P.3d 495 (2014)

After leaving a sliding glass door open for her service dog and her neighbor's dog, the plaintiff in this case was mauled by two pit bulls. Plaintiff sued the dogs' owners under a strict liability statute and the county for negligently responding to prior complaints about the dogs. At trial, a jury not only found all defendants guilty, but also found the plaintiff contributorily negligent.  Upon appeal, the court affirmed the judgment the lower court entered based on the jury verdict.  Chief Judge Worswick concurred in part and dissented in part.

Nava v. McMillan 176 Cal.Rptr. 473 (Cal.App.2.Dist.)

In a personal injury action brought by a pedestrian who was hit by an automobile when she stepped into a street, the trial court dismissed the complaint against occupiers of land who maintained fenced dogs, which plaintiff alleged frightened her, causing her to step into the street. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The court held that the complaint failed to set forth facts giving rise to tortious liability on the part of the owners of fenced dogs, either on the theory of simple negligence or strict liability.

McMahon v. Craig 176 Cal.App.4th 1502, 97 Cal.Rptr.3d 555 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2009)

In this California case, the plaintiff appealed a demurrer granted by the trial court on her claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress and portions of her complaint struck that sought damages for emotional distress and loss of companionship. The case stems from defendant-veterinarian's care of plaintiff's Maltese dog after surgery. Defendant also lied to plaintiff and falsified records concerning the treatment of the dog. On appeal of the trial court demurrer, this court held that an owner cannot recover emotional distress damages for alleged veterinary malpractice. The court found that it would be incongruous to impose a duty on a veterinarian to avoid causing emotional distress to the owner of the animal being treated, while not imposing such a duty on a doctor to the parents of a child receiving treatment.

People v. Zamora 175 N.E.3d 700 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2020) Defendant Juan Zamora was found guilty of failing to provide humane care and treatment for, and abusing, his 10 dogs in violation of the Humane Care for Animals Act. On appeal, defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions because the it generally showed that he treated his dogs well and they had not sustained physical or psychological injuries. Additionally, he argues that section 3(a)(4) of the act, which criminalizes the failure to provide “humane care and treatment,” is unconstitutionally vague. The conviction stems from defendant's conduct with his 10 pit bull type dogs. When the investigating officer executed a search warrant on defendant's residence, they found the ten dogs heavily chained in the basement standing on newspaper completely saturated with feces and urine, along with breeding harnesses and training treadmills indicative of dog fighting. In challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, defendant suggests the evidence showed he was a "considerate dog owner with healthy dogs." However, the court was unconvinced, finding the slates of the metal and wooden makeshift cages were not appropriate for indoor or outdoor housing. Further, the accumulation of dog waste also supported the officer's testimony and the presence of dog fighting supplies supported a conclusion that "defendant's treatment of the dogs reflected something other than mere companionship." As to the vagueness challenge, the court found that defendant did not demonstrate that section 3(a)(4) fails to sufficiently enable a person of ordinary intelligence to understand what conduct the statute criminalizes or that it fails to provide police officers and the courts explicit standards. In fact, the court found that "defendant did not demonstrate compassion, sympathy or consideration for the dogs when he failed to provide an adequate habitat or ensure that bodily waste did not accumulate" and that this conduct fell squarely in the conduct addressed by the law. Thus, the court affirmed the lower court's judgment and rejected defendant's claims on appeal.
Sacco v. Tate 175 Misc.2d 901 (N.Y. 1998)

Plaintiffs commenced the instant action to recover veterinary expenses incurred by reason of the fact that the dog sold to them by defendant was not healthy. The court held that plaintiffs were not entitled to avail themselves of the remedies afforded by article 35-D of the General Business Law by reason of their failure to comply with the requirements set forth in section 753 thereof (to wit, they did not produce the dog for examination by a licensed veterinarian designated by the dealer, nor did they furnish the dealer with a certification of unfitness of the dog within three days after their receipt thereof). The court, however, noted that the article does not limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law, so the award by the court was affirmed (albeit on a different basis).

Shotts v. City of Madison 170 So. 3d 554 (Miss. Ct. App. 2014) Defendant was charged with animal cruelty after burning his girlfriend's dog while giving it a bath. He said it was an accident. There were no other witnesses, and the attending veterinarian testified that the dog's injuries were consistent with defendant's account. Defendant was nevertheless convicted after the county court suggested he could be guilty of animal cruelty if he had “carelessly” hurt the dog. Instead, the appeals court found the lower court applied the wrong legal standard. The 2011 animal cruelty statute, since repealed, that applied in this case required proof beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant acted maliciously. Since the prosecution failed to meet that burden, the Mississippi Court of Appeals reversed and rendered the defendant's conviction. Justice James dissents finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction.
Miller v. Dep't of Agric. 168 Conn. App. 255, 145 A.3d 393 (2016) The Plaintiff, Kim Miller, argued “a severe deprivation” of her rights when the Superior Court dismissed her appeal to prevent her dogs from being euthanized. Miller owned two Rottweiler dogs that attacked the victim Cynthia Reed, causing injuries to Reed's head, the back of her neck, and her back. An animal control officer issued two disposal orders to euthanize Miller’s dogs. The Defendant, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, then affirmed the orders and Miller appealed. The Superior Court also dismissed the appeal, and Miller appealed further to the Appellate Court of Connecticut. Here, Miller argues, among other things, that her Sixth Amendment rights to confront witnesses were violated when witnesses were not available for cross-examination. Plaintiff Miller also claims that there were procedural violations in the initial hearing because of lack of written rules that applied to dog disposal orders and claimed error when the hearing officer acted acted arbitrarily and capriciously by “interject[ing] his opinion” while questioning a witness. The Appellate Court held that: (1) the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) did not preclude the admission of statements from the victim and an eyewitness, even though the victim and witness did not testify at the hearing. The court reasoned that in administrative proceedings under the UAPA, evidence is not inadmissible solely because it constitutes hearsay, as long as the evidence is reliable and probative. Additionally, a party to an administrative proceeding under the UAPA is not required to call any particular witness. (2) A dog owner's appeal of disposal orders for a biting animal is not a criminal prosecution that invokes Sixth Amendment protections. The court reasoned that the issuance of a disposal order does not, by itself, trigger the imposition of a fine or prison term on the owner. Rather, by obviating the threat that dangerous animals pose to the public, the provision is remedial and civil in nature. The judgment of the trial court dismissing the plaintiff's appeal was affirmed.
SENTELL v. NEW ORLEANS & C. R. CO. 166 U.S. 698 (1897)

This was an action originally instituted by Sentell in the civil district court for the parish of Orleans, to recover the value of a Newffoundland bitch, known as 'Countess Lona,' alleged to have been negligently killed by the railroad company.  The company answered, denying the allegation of negligence, and set up as a separate defense that plaintiff had not complied either with the requirements of the state law, or of the city ordinances, with respect to the keeping of dogs, and was therefore not entitled to recover.  Recognizing that an owner has only a conditional interest in a dog as a form of property, the Supreme Court held that the Louisiana law was within its police power, and the judgment of the court of appeals against plaintiff was therefore affirmed.

WERTMAN v. TIPPING 166 So.2d 666 (Fla.App., 1964)

The plaintiffs, owners of a seven-year-old trained, registered full blood German Shepherd dog, sued the defendants for the loss of this dog from the kennels at the animal hospital owned and operated by the defendant. The dog had been boarded at defendant's place and while there escaped from the kennel and was never found. This case set the wheels in motion for companion animals damages in Florida when the court affirmed a verdict of $1000, for a purebred dog. The court declined in only applying the fair market value and held that recovery could include special or pecuniary value to the owner.

Brown v. State 166 So. 3d 817 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015) Defendant was found guilty of felony cruelty to animals after a Chow mix was found near defendant's mobile home emaciated and suffering from several long-term conditions that had gone untreated. Defendant was convicted in the Circuit Court, Pasco County and was sentenced to six months of community control followed by three years of probation. She timely appealed, raising several arguments. The District Court of Florida affirmed the trial court’s decision, writing only to address her claim that the trial court erred in denying her motion for judgment of acquittal because a felony conviction for animal cruelty Florida Statutes could not be based on an omission or failure to act. In doing so, the court noted that a defendant could be properly charged with felony animal cruelty under this version of the Florida statute for intentionally committing an act that resulted in excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal by failing to provide adequate food, water, or medical treatment. The court then held that sufficient evidence existed showing that defendant owned a dog and failed, over a period of more than one year, to provide adequate food, water and needed medical care.
De Leon v. Vornado Montehiedra Acquisition L.P. 166 F. Supp. 3d 171 (D.P.R. 2016) The defendant in this case sought to dismiss plaintiff’s case, stating that the plaintiff claim did not have proper constitutional standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court denied defendant’s request and held that plaintiff did present sufficient evidence to establish standing under the ADA. In order to establish standing, the plaintiff needed to prove three elements: (1) actual or threatened injury, (2) causal connection between the injury and the challenged conduct, and (3) that a favorable court decision can redress the injury. The court determined that plaintiff did satisfy all three elements by showing that plaintiff’s disabled daughter was not allowed in defendant’s shopping mall with her service dog after the mall security guard was not properly informed of protocol regarding service dogs. Ultimately, the security guard mistakenly believed that the service dog needed documentation in order to enter the mall; however, the dog was properly identified as a certified service dog and should have been allowed into the mall. Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied.
Salinas v. Martin 166 Cal.App.4th 404

Construction worker brought negligence action against homeowner for injuries sustained by another contractor's pit-bull dog, after homeowner had given the contractor permission to allow the dog to run loose on homeowner's property. The Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, held that a landlord does not generally owe a duty to protect third parties from injuries by his or her tenant's dangerous dog without actual knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities and ability to prevent or control the harm. However, a homeowner, who maintains possession of and control over the premises, and thus is not acting as a landlord, is not required to have actual knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensities to owe a duty of care to his or her invitees.  

Longhi v. APHIS 165 F3d 1057 (6th Cir. 1999)

APHIS was unsuccessful in asserting that an applicant who is part of one license as a partnership can not apply for another as a corporation.

Justice for Animals, Inc. v. Robeson County 164 N.C. App. 366, 595 S.E.2d 773 (2004)

Non-profit and advocate challenged the improper treatment/euthanasia of animals and complaint was dismissed.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff's qualified as "aggrieved persons" within the statute, but that all administrative remedies were not sought.  Affirmed.

LaPorte v. Associated Independents, Inc. 163 So.2d 267 (Fla. 1964)

Respondent was a corporation engaged in the garbage collection business.  One of its employees maliciously hurled an empty garbage can at plaintiff's pet pedigreed dog, who was tethered at the time, killing it.  The issue before the court was the reconsideration not of  the issue of liability, but for determination only of compensatory and punitive damages.  The court stated that it was obvious from the facts that the act performed by the representative of the respondent was malicious and demonstrated an extreme indifference to the rights of the petitioner. Having this view, there was no prohibition of punitive damages relative to awarding compensation for mental pain, as would be the case if there had been physical injury resulting only from simple negligence.  The court went on to say that the restriction of the loss of a pet to its intrinsic value in circumstances such as the ones before us is a principle we cannot accept and that the malicious destruction of the pet provides an element of damage for which the owner should recover, irrespective of the value of the animal because of its special training.

People v. Collier 160 N.E.3d 137 (Ill.App. 1 Dist., 2020) Chicago police officers, while investigating reports of animal abuse, visited Samuel Collier’s place of residence and observed a dog chained up outside in 15-degree weather. On a second visit, the same dog was observed chained up outside in the cold. The dog happened to match the description of a dog that had been reported stolen in the neighborhood. Office Chausse executed a search warrant on Collier’s property and was welcomed by the smell of urine and feces. The house had feces everywhere. The house was also extremely cold with no running water. A total of four dogs were found that were kept in rooms without food or water. One of the dogs found was a bulldog that had been stolen from someone’s backyard. Collier was subsequently arrested. Collier was found guilty of one count of theft and four counts of cruel treatment of animals and was sentenced to two years in prison. Collier subsequently appealed. Collier argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt at trial because despite the photographs of his house the dogs were found to be in good health. The Court held that the poor conditions in which the dogs were kept along with the condition of the dogs and the premises was sufficient to prove that the dogs were abused or treated cruelly under Illinois law. Collier also attempted to argue that the charging instrument failed to adequately notify him of the offense he was charged with. The Court found no merit in this argument. Lastly, Collier argued that the animal cruelty statute violated due process because it was unconstitutionally vague and potentially criminalized innocent conduct. The Court, however, stated that the statute did not capture innocent conduct, instead, it captured conduct that can be defined as cruel or abusive. Cruel and abusive conduct is clearly not innocent conduct. The statute sufficiently informed reasonable persons of the conduct that was prohibited. The Court ultimately affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
State v. Acker 160 Conn. App. 734 (2015) Defendant, the director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut, Inc., was charged with 63 counts of animal cruelty for failing to give animals “proper care by exposing [them] to conditions that placed [them] at risk of hypothermia, dehydration, or to conditions injurious to [their] well-being....” Defendant was the director of a nonprofit animal rescue organization and housed rescued dogs in an uninsulated outdoor barn heated solely by space heaters. After a trial, Defendant was convicted of 15 counts and acquitted of the remaining 48 counts of animal cruelty. On appeal, the defendant claimed that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction and (2)C.G.S.A. § 53-247(a) was unconstitutionally vague as applied to the facts of this case. The appellate court rejected defendant’s claims and affirmed the trial court’s decision.
Heiligmann v. Rose 16 S.W. 931 (Tex.,1891)

Appellees sued appellant for damages after he poisoned three of their dogs. The Court held that an owner has an action and remedy against a trespasser for damages resulting from injuries inflicted upon dogs because they are property. The Court elaborated on the true rule in determining the value of dogs, explaining that  It may be either a market value or some special or pecuniary value to the owner. The Court allowed actual damages.

Brown by Brown v. Southside Animal Shelter, Inc. 158 N.E.3d 401 (Ind. Ct. App. 2020), adhered to on reh'g sub nom. Brown v. Southside Animal Shelter, Inc., 162 N.E.3d 1121 (Ind. Ct. App. 2021) This case from Indiana explores whether an animal shelter had a duty to inform a dog adopter of a dog's vicious propensities. Plaintiffs (the Browns) appeal the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Southside Animal Shelter, Inc. (“Southside”). The case stems from the adoption of a dog from defendant animal shelter. In 2014, the dog was surrendered by its owner to a neighboring animal shelter because it did not get along with another dog. The dog was then adopted to another party where it attacked the family's two-year-old boy, causing significant injuries. The dog was then surrendered to the county animal shelter, who recorded the bite incident upon intake of the dog. After the mandated quarantine, the dog was eventually transferred to defendant animal shelter who was informed of the bite according to deposition testimony. However, during an 8-day aggression observation, the dog showed no signs of aggression. In late 2015, plaintiffs adopted the dog with a release that stated the history of the dog was unknown and the shelter was released from all liability resulting from illness or actions by the dog. Less than a month later, the dog attacked the Brown's six-year-old daughter causing injuries to her face. In the trial court action by the Browns against Southside, the court granted the defendant's motion of summary judgment based on the adoption release and dismissed the case. In this instant appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals, the court focused on whether Southside owed a duty to the Browns to establish liability for the dog bite. The court found factual disputes remain as to whether Southside knew or should have known of the dog's past aggression and whether the knowledge from the volunteer who did intake for the dog imputed knowledge to the animal shelter. Additionally, the court indicated there was a question of fact whether Southside exercised reasonable care in evaluating the dog's behavioral history prior to adoption. Ultimately, the Court found that Southside had a duty to the Browns to inform them of the dog's past bite history, and factual issues relating to that duty preclude the granting of summary judgment. The case was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
Moreno v. Hughes 157 F.Supp.3d 687 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 19, 2016) This § 1983 action arises from the shooting of Plaintiffs' dog by Defendant Ronald Hughes, a Michigan Department of Corrections Absconder Recovery Unit Investigator. Defendant shot Plaintiffs' dog after entering her house by mistake to execute a fugitive warrant. This proceeding concerns a Motion in Limine filed by defendant seeking an order that plaintiffs are not entitled to noneconomic losses for the pain and suffering they sustained as a result of Defendant shooting their dog. Defendant contends that damage to personal property (including dogs) is limited to market value only. In rejecting Defendant's argument, this court found that it is "beyond dispute" that compensatory damages under § 1983 may include noneconomic injuries. A Plaintiff's interests in § 1983 actions contain different policy considerations than in traditional negligence claims. In fact, the court stated that, "[p]rohibiting recovery for emotional damages stemming from the loss of, or harm to, an animal caused by a constitutional violation would conflict with the compensatory and deterrence aims of § 1983." Additionally, applying Michigan law on the issue of emotional damages for injury to an animal would create inconsistency in civil rights actions since other states allow such damages. The court found that the determination of both compensatory and punitive damages must be left to the fact finder for each case, including this one. Defendant's Motion in Limine was denied.
Brandon v. Village of Maywood 157 F. Supp.2d 917 (N.D. Ill. 2001)

Plaintiffs brought § 1983 action against village and police officers after botched drug bust in which bystander and dog were wounded.  The court held that the police officers were entitled to qualified immunity in shooting of dog and the village did not have policies on police conduct that warranted liability.  However, issues of fact precluded summary judgment on false imprisonment claim based on officers' assertion of immunity.

Perkins v. Hattery 155 N.E.2d 73 (Ohio App. 1958)

This Ohio case examined the propriety of a county dog warden killing a dog that had killed a sheep nine hours before such seizure.  The Court of Appeals held that dog warden was not authorized to destroy or otherwise dispose of a duly licensed dog found and seized by such warden upon the premises of its owner following a complaint made to the warden by the owner of sheep that the dog had killed certain of his sheep approximately nine hours before such seizure.

People v. Richardson 155 A.D.3d 1595, 66 N.Y.S.3d 757 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017), leave to appeal denied, 30 N.Y.3d 1119 (2018) In this New York case, defendant appeals from a three-county felony animal fighting conviction. Defendant's dog fighting activities came to light when police were dispatched to defendant's residence after defendant's wife reported a burglary in progress. Upon entry by consent, police found, in plain view, a wounded dog in a cage, several modified treadmills for use by dogs, blood on a water heater, and apparent dogfighting paraphernalia. After seeking a search warrant, the items were photographed and other evidence (supplements, training sticks, etc.) was collected. On appeal, the court rejected defendant's argument that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress all of the physical evidence as fruit of the poisonous tree. The court noted that the dogfighting paraphernalia were observed in plain view by responding policy officers. Additionally, police officers remaining at the house after the protective sweep to prevent the destruction of evidence while the search warrant was issued did not render the search unlawful. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to establish that defendant intended to engage in dogfighting and that the dogs were deprived of medical treatment. In addition to the paraphernalia and collection of literature on dogfighting, defendant's dogs had extensive scarring and healing consistent with dogfighting and inconsistent with defendant's proffered "cat-scratch" and "broken window" explanations. Defendant's convictions and judgment of sentence were affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Whitson 151 N.E.3d 455 (2020) This case involves an appeal of an animal cruelty conviction after defendant repeatedly stabbed a dog named Smokey, a three-year old pit bull. The incident in question occurred on a street outside of defendant's barber shop. Smokey was on-leash walking with his owner when an unleashed smaller dog ran at Smokey and began biting his ankles. Smokey responded playfully, not aggressively. The defendant responded to calls of assistance from the smaller dog's owner and helped separate the dogs. After this, the defendant returned briefly to his barbershop and came back with a knife that he used to repeatedly stab Smokey with while he restrained the dog with his other arm. The police eventually responded and defendant was taken to the hospital for a laceration on his hand where he yelled, "I'm glad I killed the [expletive] dog." Smokey survived the attack and defendant was charged and convicted. On appeal, defendant raised several arguments challenging the verdict. In particular, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that he stabbed Smokey repeatedly to release the dog from biting his hand. The appellate court found that no defense witnesses testified that Smokey bit defendant and the no medical records corroborated defendant's version of events. Defendant also argued that the judged erred in denying his motion in limine regarding Smokey prior and subsequent "bad acts," which, defendant claimed, were relevant to the issue of Smokey as the initial aggressor. This court found that the proffered evidence of bad acts was inadmissible hearsay and the acts subsequent to Smokey's stabbing occurred too remotely to have any probative value. Finally, the court found no substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice where the judge failed to give a sua sponte necessity defense. The judgment was affirmed.
Drake v. Dean 15 Cal. App. 4th 915 (Cal.App.3.Dist. 1993)

Plaintiff, engaged in religious solicitations, was knocked down by dog owner's pit bull on the defendant's driveway.  She argued that the superior court should have instructed on negligence in addition to strict liability.  The court agreed, finding that a negligence cause of action arises whenever there is insufficient control of a dog in a context in which it could be reasonably expected that injury could occur and injury did proximately result from the negligence.  Thus, the court reversed the decision for defendant dog owners.

State v. Arnold 147 N.C. App. 670 (N.C. App. 2001)

Defendant appealed from a conviction of participating as a spectator at an exhibition featuring dog fighting alleging that the statute under which he was convicted is unconstitutionally vague, overbroad and an invalid exercise of police power. The appellate court found the statute to be constitutional. Defendant also argued that the trial court erred in failing to dismiss the charge for insufficient evidence, however the appellate court found that there is substantial evidence to support the conviction. 

Martinez v. Robledo 147 Cal.Rptr.3d 921 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)

These two consolidated California appeals address the measure of damages for the wrongful injury to a companion animal. Both respondents filed motions in limine concerning the issue of damages in the cases and, in both case, the trial court limited the measure of damages to the market value of the dogs. On appeal, the appellants argued that the measure of damages should go beyond market value to cover the reasonable costs of the pets' treatment. The appellate court found the recent case of Kimes v. Grosser (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1556 (decided after these appeals were filed) persuasive (where the court held that a plaintiff can recover reasonable and necessary costs where a pet is wrongfully injured). The court reasoned that otherwise, the injured animal's owner would bear the burden of all the costs of treatment, regardless of the wrongdoer's conduct. Moreover, this ruling reflects a basic principle of tort law - to make a plaintiff whole again - and accords with the different way animals, as property, are treated in the criminal arena. Thus, the court agreed with Kimes that allowing a pet owner to recover reasonable and necessary costs related to the treatment of an animal wrongfully injured is an appropriate measure of damages.

Plotnik v. Meihaus 146 Cal.Rptr.3d 585 (Cal. App. 3 Dist.)

A long history of bad neighborly relations resulted in the plaintiffs' dog sustaining injuries from being hit with a baseball; the injuries required surgery and post-operative care. While the plaintiffs brought many causes of actions against their neighbors, a father and his two sons, this case is significant in the realm of animal law because it held that a pet owner may recover for emotional distress under the trespass to personal property cause of action. The court, however, would not allow the plaintiffs to recover for their dog's injuries under the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action because they would have recovered duplicative damages for the same transactional event.

Take Me Home Rescue v. Luri 146 Cal.Rptr.3d 461 (Cal.App. 2 Dist, 2012.)

Defendant Luri appeals an injunction against her to return a foster dog that she failed to have spayed in accordance with an agreement between her and Take Me Home pet rescue organization. In finding that the trial court did not err in issuing the injunction, the court found that Take Me Home had a reasonable likelihood for success on the merits of its breach of contract claim because the original agreement was amended by a separate oral agreement that the dog would be spayed after recovering from a bout of mange. Further, in assessing the balance of harms, the court found that it favored Take Me Home. While Luri can either spay the dog or adopt a new one, the organization's "entire existence depends on its ability to place pets that it obtains from shelters in adoptive homes."

Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. v. Schuster 144 S.W.3d 554 (Tex.App.-Austin,2004)

In this Texas case, a dog owner brought an action against a Petco groomer for damages when her dog was killed after escaping from the pet groomer and running into traffic. The trial court entered a default judgment in favor of the owner and awarded damages. The Court of Appeals, held that the dog owner was not entitled to damages for mental anguish, absent pet store's ill-will, animus or desire to harm her personally. Moreover, the owner was not entitled to intrinsic value damages, lost wages, or counseling expenses.

Nuijens v. Novy 144 Misc.2d 453 (N.Y. 1989)

Plaintiff brought a New York Small Claims Court action seeking recovery of the sum of $254.63, after a licensed veterinarian determined that plaintiff's newly purchased dog was unfit according to Article 35-B of the General Business Law.  Specifically, plaintiff sought damages under two alternate theories: violation of the sale contract's five-day express warranty and violation of the implied warranty of merchantability.  Due to the vet's initial diagnosis, plaintiff did not return the dog.  The court held that plaintiff elected to forgo the express warranty by retaining the dog.  With regard to the implied warranty of merchantability, the court found defendant is not a "person who deals in goods of the kind" to fall within the definition of merchant under the statute.

Savory v. Hensick 143 S.W.3d 712 (Mo. 2004)

Contractor brought a premises liability action against homeowners after falling over their dog.  Contractor was descending from a ladder while working on homeowners' premises and stepped on the dog at the base of the ladder.  The trial court held in favor of the contractor because the homeowners' dog made the yard foreseeably dangerous and the appellate court affirmed. 

Kennedy House, Inc. v. Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations 143 A.3d 476 (Pa. Commw. Ct. July 11, 2016)

In this case, Kennedy House appealed the lower court’s decision in finding that it had violated Section 9–1108 of the Philadelphia Fair Practice Ordinance when it denied Jan Rubin’s request for a housing accommodation in the form of a waiver of its no-dog policy. Rubin applied for a housing accommodation at Kennedy House because she suffered from multiple physical aliments. In a meeting with Kennedy House, Rubin did state that her dog was not a trained service animal that helped with her physical and mobility issues but rather helped with reminding her to take medication and getting out of bed. The lower court determined that Rubin had satisfied her burden of proving that her dog was necessary in helping with her medical issues. After reviewing the lower court’s decision, the Commonwealth Court held that the lower court had erred in its decisions. Ultimately, the court found that because Ms. Rubin's physician described a disability related to her mobility, and there was no evidence establishing a nexus between her mobility-related needs and the requested assistance animal, Ms. Rubin did not meet her burden necessary for Kennedy House to waive its no-dog policy. As a result, the court reversed the lower court’s decision.

Tighe v. North Shore Animal League 142 A.D.3d 607, 36 N.Y.S.3d 500 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016) In May 2012, Tighe adopted a dog from the North Shore Animal League after having been warned that the dog was possessive regarding food. After taking the dog home, Tighe noticed that the dog exhibited aggressive behavior, such as jumping at the backyard fence and growling at her when she attempted to feed the dog. In July of 2012, the dog bit Tighe’s hand when she tried to pick up a cookie off of the floor. As a result, Tighe spent three days in the hospital due to severe blood loss and swelling. Additionally, in September of 2012, the dog bit Tighe in the face causing severe injuries. After the incident in September, Tighe filed suit against the North Shore Animal League to recover damages for negligence, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court dismissed the claim of emotional distress but granted summary judgment in favor of Tighe with regard to the other claims of negligence. The North Shore Animal League appealed the lower court’s decision. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of New York overturned the lower court’s decision and granted summary judgment in favor of the North Shore Animal League on all claims. The court found that the North Shore Animal League was not a proximate cause to Tighe’s injuries for failing to adequately warn her about the dog’s aggreesive behavior because Tighe learned of the dog’s aggressive behavior three months prior to the incident that caused Tighe’s injuries. According to the court, once Tighe learned of the dog’s aggressive tendencies, she was in the best position to take “precautionary measures to prevent harm to herself.” So, even if the North Shore Animal League had failed to warn Tighe of the dog’s aggressive tendencies prior to the adoption, Tighe “independently” learned of the dog’s aggressive behavior prior to the incident which eliminated the North Shore Animal League as being a proximate cause of her injuries.
ELLIS v. OLIPHANT 141 N.W. 415 (1913)

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

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

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

Davis v. Gaschler 14 Cal.Rptr.2d 679 (Cal.App.3.Dist.)

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

White v Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y 138 A.D.3d 1470 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016) Plaintiff, Rosemary White brought action against the Defendant, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church seeking damages for injuries she sustained when she was bitten by a priests’ dog, at premises owned by the church. White brought the action claiming negligent supervision and retention of the priest who owned dog. The church moved to dismiss, and White moved for summary judgment. The New York Supreme Court, Erie County, granted the church's motion for dismissal, and denied White’s motion. White appealed and the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the church was not liable for negligent supervision or retention of the priest. The Appellate Division, reasoned that the Supreme Court, Erie County, properly granted the church’s motion to dismiss White’s complaint for failure to state a cause of action. The Court stated that to the extent White alleged a theory of negligent supervision and retention of the priest in her bill of particulars, the “purpose of the bill of particulars is to amplify the pleadings . . . , and [it] may not be used to supply allegations essential to a cause of action that was not pleaded in the complaint.” Therefore, the order from the Supreme Court was affirmed.
Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools 137 S.Ct. 743 (U.S., 2017)

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

Jackson v. Georgalos 133 A.D.3d 719 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015) Plaintiff appealed an order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The personal injury action arises from an incident where defendants' dog, who was barking at the time, jumped on the screen door causing the door to open, whereupon the dog ran out of the house. When the plaintiff turned to get away from the dog, her ankle twisted, causing her to fall on the steps and become injured. To recover in New York on such an action, a plaintiff must prove that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner of the dog, or a person in control of the premises where the dog was, knew or should have known of such propensities. The court held that plaintiff did not raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant was aware of the dog's alleged propensity to run out of the house and chase after people. Defendants' motion summary judgment and dismissal was affirmed.
Burgess v. Shampooch Pet Industries, Inc. 131 P.3d 1248 (Kan.App., 2006)

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

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