Dogs: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
State v. Mumme 29 So.3d 685 (La.App. 4 Cir.,2010.)

In this unpublished Louisiana case, the defendant was charged with “cruelty to an animal, to wit, a bat, belonging to Julian Mumme, by beating the animal with a bat causing the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

State v. Nelson 219 P.3d 100 (Wash.App. Div. 3, 2009)

Defendants in this Washington case appeal their convictions of animal fighting and operating an unlicensed private kennel. They contend on appeal that the trial judge abused her discretion by allowing an expert from the Humane Society to render an opinion on whether the evidence showed that the defendants intended to engage in dogfighting exhibitions. The Court of Appeals held that the judge did not abuse her discretion in admitting the expert's opinion. The opinions offered by the expert were based on the evidence and the expert's years of experience. The court found that the expert's opinion was a fair summary and reflected the significance of the other evidence offered by the prosecution. Further, the expert's opinion was proffered to rebut defendants' contention that the circumstantial evidence (the veterinary drugs, training equipment, tattoos, etc.) showed only defendants' intent to enter the dogs in legal weight-pulling contests. Defendants convictions for animal fighting and operating an unlicensed private kennel were affirmed.

State v. Pinard 300 P.3d 177 (Or.App.,2013), review denied, 353 Or. 788, 304 P.3d 467 (2013)

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

State v. Pless 646 S.E.2d 202 (Ga. 2007)

In this Georgia case, the defendant was convicted by a jury in the trial court of two counts of failure to keep an animal under restraint and one count of allowing an animal to become a public nuisance. Defendant appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. The appellate court found that the evidence showed that in the months prior to the July 14 and August 1 incidents, Pless's dogs were repeatedly found loose in neighbors' yards and garages. Accordingly, evidence supported the conviction on the charge of allowing an animal to become a public nuisance under § 3-4-7(5). ("Public nuisance" is defined, among other things, as any animal which "[i]s found repeatedly at large."). On certiorari review, the Georgia Supreme Court concluded the issue was not properly before the Court of Appeals and there was no authority for the court to address it sua sponte.

State v. Schuler --- N.E.3d ----, 2019 WL 1894482 (Ohio Ct. App., 2019) Appellant is appealing an animal cruelty conviction. A deputy dog warden received a report from a deputy sheriff who observed a pit bull on appellant's property who was unable to walk and in poor condition while responding to a noise complaint. Appellant released the dog to the deputy and the dog was later euthanized. While the deputy was on appellant's property she observed two other dogs that were extremely thin which prompted the deputy to return to the appellant's house the next day, but the appellant was in the hospital. The deputy later returned to the appellant's home a few days later and the appellant's ex-wife allowed the deputy to perform an animal welfare check on the property. Two Australian cattle dogs were very muddy and in an outdoor kennel with no food or water. Numerous chickens, rabbits, mice, snakes, and raccoons were also observed inside and outside the house all living in cramped, filthy conditions. The deputy went to the hospital and the appellant signed a waiver releasing the raccoons and snakes to the wildlife officer, but the appellant refused to release the other animals to the deputy. As a consequence a search warrant was obtained. "Two raccoons, 3 black rat snakes, 8 dogs, 7 chickens, 3 roosters, 17 rabbits, 5 rats, 200 mice, and 2 guinea pigs were removed from the property." Appellant was charged by complaints with five counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of cruelty to companion animals. An additional complaint was filed charging appellant with one count of cruelty to a companion animal (the euthanized pit bull). The appellant raised 3 errors on appeal. The first error is that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to convict him of animal cruelty. The Court found that the complaint charging the appellant with animal cruelty in counts B, C, and D were not valid because it did not set forth the underlying facts of the offense, did not provide any of the statutory language, and failed to specify which of the 5 subsections the appellant allegedly violated. Therefore, the Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to convict the appellant and the animal cruelty conviction regarding the three counts for the rabbits was vacated. The second error appellant raised was that his conviction for cruelty to companion animals for the two Australian cattle dogs was not supported by sufficient evidence. The Court overruled appellant's second error because it found that the state had presented sufficient evidence to show that the appellant negligently failed to provide adequate food and water for the Australian cattle dogs. The third error the appellant raised was that the Court erred by ordering him to pay $831 in restitution. The Court also overruled appellant's third error since the appellant stipulated to paying the restitution. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed in all other respects.
State v. Schuler (Unpublished) 1997 WL 76337 (Unpub. Minn. 1997)

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

State v. Scott 2001 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 561 The appellant pled guilty to one count of animal fighting, one count of cruelty to animals, and one count of keeping unvaccinated dogs, and asked for probation. The trial court denied the appellants request for probation and sentenced him to incarceration. The appellant challenged the trial court's ruling, and the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision to deny probation, stating that the heinous nature of the crimes warranted incarceration.
State v. Siliski Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1931814 (Tenn.Crim.App.)

In this Tennessee case, the defendant, Jennifer Siliski, was convicted of nine counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Williamson County Animal Control took custody of over two hundred animals forfeited by the defendant as a result of her criminal charges and convictions. Third parties claiming ownership of some of the animals appeared before the trial court and asked for the return of their animals. This appeal arises from third parties claiming that they were denied due process by the manner in which the trial court conducted the hearing regarding ownership of the animals and that the trial court erred in denying their property claims. The appellate court concluded that the trial court did not have jurisdiction in the criminal case to dispose of the claims, and reversed the judgment.

State v. Siliski 238 S.W.3d 338 (Tenn.Crim.App., 2007)

The defendant operated a dog breeding business, “Hollybelle's Maltese,” in which she bred purebred Maltese dogs in her Franklin home, advertised the resulting puppies on an Internet website, and shipped the puppies to buyers located around the country. She was convicted by a Williamson County Circuit Court jury of eleven counts of animal cruelty. The main issue on appeal concerned the imposition of sentence, which included both consecutive terms of probation and a permanently prohibition from engaging in any commercial activity involving animals. The appellate court affirmed the defendant's convictions but concluded that the trial court erred by ordering consecutive periods of probation in conjunction with concurrent sentences. However, the court found that  the trial court's permanent prohibition against her buying, selling, breeding, or engaging in any commercial activity involving animals  was authorized by the animal cruelty statute. As the court stated, "Given this proof and the court's findings, we cannot conclude that the trial court erred in ordering that the defendant be permanently barred from engaging in commercial activity with respect to dogs."

State v. Smith 54 A.3d 638 (Conn.App.)

A defendant was charged and convicted of one count of permitting a dog to roam at large. Upon appeal, the defendant argued the statute he was convicted under was unconstitutionally vague and that he was convicted under insufficient evidence. Defendant contended that simply having his dog off-leash did not mean that it was roaming at large and not under his control where the dog responded to verbal commands. The court rejected both of defendant's arguments, finding that the plain language of the statute clearly prohibits an owner allowing a dog to move freely on another's property unrestrained and not under the owner's direct influence.

State v. Smith 685 A.2d 73 (N.J.Super.L. 1996)

This case involves the construction of a Hoboken, New Jersey dangerous dog ordinance in light of the state Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Act.  The owner's dog that was the subject of this case was ordered by the municipal court to be destroyed after it bit a person on the hand.  In applying the relevant preemption test, the court found that the Act preempted any city ordinance purporting to cover same subject.  As noted by the court, it was the procedural conflict that caused the most concern.  Thus, because the procedural/jurisdictional defect in the ordinance was not cured, the municipal court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.

State v. Taffet (unpublished) Not Reported in A.2d, 2010 WL 771954 (N.J.Super.A.D.)
The State of New Jersey, through the Borough of Haddonfield, appeals from the final judgment of the Law Division, which reversed the finding of the municipal court that defendant's dog is a potentially dangerous dog pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:19-23(a) as well as the imposition of certain measures to mitigate any future attacks. Defendant, a resident of Haddonfield, owns, breeds, and shows four Rhodesian Ridgebacks kept at his home in a residential neighborhood. The Superior Court concluded that the Law Division's did not properly defer to the trial court's credibility determinations and were not supported by sufficient credible evidence. The court found that the dog's dual attacks causing bodily injury to two individuals were undisputed, and along with evidence of more recent intimidating activity in the neighborhood, the municipal court could have reasonably concluded that the dog posed a more serious threat to cause bodily injury to another.
State v. Taylor 322 S.W.3d 722 (Tex.App.-Texarkana,2010)

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

State v. Walker 841 N.E.2d 376 (Ohio 2005)

A dog owner was placed on probation which limited him from having any animals on his property for five years.  While on probation, bears on the owner's property were confiscated after getting loose.  The trial court ordered the dog owner to pay restitution for the upkeep of the confiscated bears, but the Court of Appeals reversed holding the trial court did not the authority to require the dog owner to pay restitution for the upkeep of the bears because the forfeiture of animals penalty did not apply to conviction for failure to confine or restrain a dog.

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.
State v. Weekly 65 N.E.2d 856 (1946)

The court affirmed a conviction for stealing a dog by holding that it was a "thing of value" despite the traditional common law rule to the contrary and even though it was not taxable property.

State v. West Slip Copy, 2007 WL 2963990 (Table) (Iowa App.)

In this Iowa case, the defendant, West, shot his neighbor's dogs after the dogs were seen running the perimeter of his deer-pen, agitating 15 of his deer in the process. Defendant was subsequently convicted of two counts of animal abuse charges and fifth degree criminal mischief.  On appeal, West argued that the section 351.27 (a provision that allows a person to kill a dog caught in the act of worrying livestock) provides an absolute defense to the charges of animal abuse and that he had the right under the facts and this statute to summarily kill Piatak's dogs because they were worrying and chasing his deer. He also contended that the statute has no additional “reasonableness” requirement, and the trial court was incorrect to graft the “reasonably acting” standard from the animal abuse law. The appellate court agreed, finding that section 351.27 provides an absolute defense to a charge of animal abuse under section 717B.2.

State v. Wilson --- P.3d ----, 2019 WL 4955178 (Wash. Ct. App. Oct. 8, 2019) Defendant Robert Wilson appeals his conviction of first degree animal cruelty, which arose from an incident at an archery club when Wilson shot a large dog in the hindquarters (70lb. "Dozer") with an arrow after that dog attacked Wilson’s small dog ("Little Bit"). (Dozer recovered from his injuries.) Wilson argues that his action was lawful under RCW 16.08.020, which states that it is lawful for a person to kill a dog seen chasing, biting, or injuring a domestic animal on real property that person owns, leases, or controls. The trial court declined to give defendant's proposed jury instruction based on this statutory language, finding that it only applied to stock animals and not when a dog was injuring another dog. The court did, however, permit the common law defense that allows owners to take "reasonably necessary action" in defense of their animals, which the State must then disprove beyond a reasonable doubt. On appeal, this court noted that no Washington court has interpreted RCW 16.08.020 in a published case. Under common law cases that allow a person to kill an animal to defend his or her property, the court found those cases require the killing be "reasonably necessary." While the parties dispute whether the statute requires that the actions be "reasonably necessary," the appellate court first found Wilson was still not entitled to a dismissal of charges because he could not establish that the location where he shot the arrow at Dozer was land that he "owned, leased, or had control over" per the statute. As to the Wilson's next argument that the trial court erred in not giving his proposed instruction for RCW 16.08.020, the appellate court agreed. While the trial court found that the statute only applied to stock animals, the appellate court noted that the law does not define the term "domestic animal." Using the plain dictionary meaning for "domestic" - "belonging to or incumbent on the family" - and for "domestic animal," this court stated that "Little Bit certainly belonged to Wilson's family" and a dog fits the meaning of "domestic animal." Finally, the court found that the "reasonably necessary" requirement from the common law cases on shooting domestic animals cannot be grafted onto the statutory requirements of RCW 16.08.020. Thus, the trial court's refusal to give defendant's proposed instruction based on RCW 16.08.020 cannot be grounded in the reasonably necessary common law requirement. The trial court's refusal to give the proposed instruction was not harmless. As such, the appellate court reversed Wilson's conviction and remanded the action for further proceedings.
State v. Woods 2001 WL 224519 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.) Defendant was indicted on three counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted aggravated murder, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated robbery, and one count of kidnapping in an incident following a dogfight. Following a jury trial, d efendant was found guilty of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and kidnapping. The court reversed and remanded the case to the trial court.
Steagald v. Eason 797 S.E.2d 838 (2017)

In this case, Gary and Lori Steagald sued the Eason family, alleging that the Easons failed to keep their dog properly restrained and were therefore liable under OCGA § 51-2-7. Lori Steagald suffered injuries after the Easons dog attacked her while she was visiting the Easons home. The Easons filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that they had no reason to know that the dog was vicious or dangerous and therefore were not liable under the statute. Both the trial court and Court of Appeals affirmed the motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed the lower court’s decision. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of Georgia found that the Eason family was liable under the statute because they did have reason to believe that the dog could potentially be vicious or dangerous. The Court focused on the fact that the dog had previously “growled and snapped” at the Easons while being fed. The Court held that although the dog had never bit anyone prior to Lori Steagald, it was reasonable to assume that the dog could potentially bite and injure someone given the fact that it had a history of snapping and growling. As a result, the Court reversed the Easons motion for summary judgment and determined that the question of whether or not the Easons are liable under the statute is a question for the jury. 

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

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

Stephens v. City of Spokane Slip Copy, 2007 WL 3146390 (E.D.Wash.)

Before the court here is defendant's motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's motion to certify a class. Plaintiffs claim is based on Spokane's "barking dog" ordinance" for which they were each issued an infraction by animal control officers. Plaintiffs contend the ordinance is void for vagueness. The court disagreed, finding that the ordinance has incorporated the reasonableness standard and is presumptively constitutional. In the ordinance, the citizen of average intellect need not guess at the prohibition of allowing an animal to unreasonably disturb persons by “habitually barking, howling, yelping, whining, or making other oral noises.”

Stephens v. State 247 Ga. App. 719 (2001)

Defendant was accused and convicted of 17 counts of cruelty to animals for harboring fighting dogs in deplorable conditions. Defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence and the probation terms. The appellate court found, in light of the evidence, any rational trier of fact could have found the elements of cruelty to animals beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, defendant failed to overcome the presumption that the probation the trial court imposed was correct.

Stephens v. Target Corp. 482 F.Supp.2d 1234 (2007)

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

Stevens v. Hollywood Towers and Condominium Ass'n 836 F.Supp.2d 800 (N.D. Ill. 2011) Plaintiffs brought the instant suit contending that their Condo Board's refusal to accommodate the need for an emotional support animal forced them to sell their condo. The Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state claims upon which relief could be granted. After finding that Plaintiffs were not entitled to unrestricted access for their dog despite a no pet waiver and after needing more facts to determine whether Defendants restrictions on Plaintiffs’ access to the building were reasonable, the District Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims under the Federal Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). The District Court also found Plaintiffs' interference or intimidation allegations sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. However, the District Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ nuisance claim because Plaintiffs had not contended that Defendants unreasonably used their own property to interfere in Plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their home, but rather, contended that Defendants made rules that interfered with the Plaintiff's ability to use the common areas of the property as they wished. Plaintiffs’ intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was also dismissed because Plaintiffs had not sufficiently alleged that Defendants' conduct was extreme or outrageous. Finally, the constructive eviction claim was dismissed because more than a year had past between the owners’ accommodation request and the sale of their condominium. In sum, Counts I, II, and III went forward, but the remainder of the complaint was dismissed. Additionally, Defendant Sudler Building Services was dismissed from the complaint.
Stolte v. Hammack 716 S.E.2d 796 (Ga. App., 2011)

After home owner’s roommate was attacked by a pit bull inside the home, the victim filed suit against owner under the vicious animal and the premises liability statutes. The Court of Appeals held that, because the roommate knew about the dog’s vicious propensity to the same extent as the owner, the owner was not liable. Plaintiff must present evidence that the owner had superior knowledge of the dog's temperament for the owner to be liable.

Storms v. Fred Meyer Stores, Inc. 120 P.3d 126 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2005)

This Washington discrimination case was brought by a dog owner (Storms) with psychiatric conditions against a store and its managers who refused to allow her to stay in store with her alleged service dog. The dog was trained to  put herself between Storms and other people so as to keep an open area around Storms and alleviate her anxiety (a symptom of her post-traumatic stress syndrome). The appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of discrimination against Fred Meyer for refusing to allow her to shop accompanied by her dog. Testimony showed that Brandy had been specifically trained to help Storms with her particular disability by placing herself in between Storms and others in a way that alleviated her anxiety, which was further corroborated by testimony that Brandy engaged in such behavior. Thus, evidence showed that the defendants' violated RCW 49.60.215 by not allowing Storms to do her own shopping within the store because she was accompanied by a service animal.

Strawser v. Wright 610 N.E.2d 610 (Ohio App. 12 Dist., 1992)

Plaintiff sued defendant dog breeders after defendants misrepresented that the dog had been vaccinated as a newborn against Parvo.  In affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendants on the issue of negligent infliction of emotional distress the court noted that dogs are considered property in Ohio.  While the court sympathized "with one who must endure the sense of loss which may accompany the death of a pet; however, we cannot ignore the law . . . Ohio law simply does not permit recovery for serious emotional distress which is caused when one witnesses the negligent injury or destruction of one's property."

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.
Swanson v. Tackling 335 Ga. App. 810 (2016) This is an interlocutory appeal by the dog owners (the Swansons) in a personal injury lawsuit for a dog bite. The court in this case overruled the lower court’s ruling that the defendant was not entitled to summary judgement after defendant’s dog bit a child but the dog had never shown a propensity to injure anyone prior to the incident. Plaintiff was suing defendant after defendant’s dog bit plaintiff’s child on the arm and head. Plaintiff argued that defendant is responsible for the injuries caused by the dog because the defendant neglected to properly restrain the dog. The court reversed the lower court’s decision and held in favor of defendant, stating that there was no evidence that was presented to indicate that defendant could have or should have known that the dog would act in this way towards the child. In order to prevail, the plaintiff needed to present evidence that the dog had acted in a similar way in the past.
Swilley v. State 465 S.W.3d 789 (Tex. App. 2015) In the indictment, the State alleged Appellant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortured or in a cruel manner killed or caused serious bodily injury to an animal by shooting a dog with a crossbow, a state jail felony. The dog in question was a stray, which fell within the statutory definition of an “animal.” After a jury found Appellant guilty, the trial court assessed his punishment at two years' confinement in a state jail. On appeal, Appellant contended that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a mistrial after the jury heard evidence of an extraneous offense also involving cruelty to animals. Since the video that mentioned the extraneous offense was admitted without objection, the court held the Appellant waived the error and the trial court did not err by denying Appellant's motion for mistrial or by giving the instruction to disregard and overrule Appellant's first issue. Appellant further asserted the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. The court, however, held the evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to have found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Appellant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortured or in a cruel manner killed or caused serious bodily injury to an animal by shooting it with a crossbow. The trial court's judgment was therefore affirmed.
Szabla v. City of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota 486 F.3d 85 (8th Cir. 2007)
A man who was bitten by a police dog brought a § 1983 action against two cities and police officers for violating his Fourth Amendment rights; the man also brought some state laws claims against the defendants as well. When the district court granted Minnesota’s motion for summary judgment, the park occupant appealed and the appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision. The appeals court also granted a petition to rehear, en banc, the question of the city’s municipal liability and found that the city was entitled to summary judgment on that claim. Circuit Judge Gibson filed a dissenting opinion and was joined by Wollman, Bye, and Melloy.
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).

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).

T. , J. A. s/ infracción Ley 14.346 Id SAIJ: FA12340061 The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower court that sentenced the Defendant to eleven months of imprisonment after finding him criminally responsible for acts of cruelty in violation of Article 1 of Ley 14.346 against a stray dog. The Defendant was found guilty of sexually abusing a dog, who he forced into his premises. The dog’s genital area was sheared and she had serious injuries, which the veterinarian concluded were clear signs of penetration. The Supreme Court referred to the Chamber of Appeals on Criminal Matters of Parana "B.J.L. s/ infracción a la Ley 14.346", of October 1, 2003, where the referred court stated that “the norms of Ley 14.346 protect animals against acts of cruelty and mistreatment, is not based on mercy, but on the legal recognition of a framework of rights for other species that must be preserved, not only from predation, but also from treatment that is incompatible with the minimum rationality." Further, "the definition of ‘person’ also includes in our pluralistic and anonymous societies a rational way of contact with animals that excludes cruel or degrading treatment."
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."

Tarquinio v. City of Lakewood, Ohio (unpublished) Slip Copy, 2011 WL 4458165 (N.D.Ohio)

Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment from the court that Lakewood City Ordinance (“LCO”) 506.01, which bans pit bull dogs or those dogs with "appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of such breeds," unconstitutional under the Ohio Constitution Home Rule provisions. In this motion, plaintiffs argue that LCO 506 conflicts with and impermissibly expands the provisions of Ohio Revised Code § 955.22. The court found that while § 955.22 outlines requirements that must be met by a person who houses vicious dogs, including all pit bulls, it does not explicitly permit pit bulls. The court found that the General Assembly intended to allow municipalities to regulate the possession of pit bulls.

Ten Hopen v. Walker 55 N.W. 657 (Mich. 1893)

Defendant was convicted of wilfully and maliciously killing a dog.  On appeal, the court found the instructions proper and held that a plaintiff could recover exemplary damages in addition to market value as compensation, not as punitive damages.  The court also found that the killing of a dog is not justified by trespass because there are remedies for destruction of property by animals of another.

Terral v. Louisiana Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co. 892 So.2d 732 (La.,2005)

A motorcyclist hit a dog wandering on the road and sued the defendant under strict liability theory. The court found that the defendant was strictly liable because he owned the dog in fact. Although the dog was originally a stray, the court upheld a finding of ownership because the defendant regularly fed the dog and harbored it on his property.  

Texas Attorney General Letter Opinion 94-071 Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. LO 94-071

Texas Attorney General Opinion regarding the issue of whether staged fights between penned hogs and dogs constitutes a criminal offense. The Assistant Attorney General deemed these staged fights as violating the criminal cruelty laws.

Thompson v. Dover Downs, Inc. 887 A.2d 458 (Del.Supr.,2005)

Vernon Thompson appeals from a Superior Court order reversing a decision and order of the Delaware Human Relations Commission (DHRC) after Thompson was denied access to defendant's casino because Thompson insisted that his dog accompany him, but refused to answer the officials' inquiries about what his alleged support animal had been trained to perform. The DHRC determined that by denying access, Dover Downs had unlawfully discriminated against Thompson in violation of the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law. The Supreme Court here agreed with the Superior Court in reversing the DHRC. It found that Dover Downs' personnel were entitled to ask Thompson about his dog's training. Since Thompson refused to answer these questions, there is no rational basis to conclude that Dover Downs' refusal to admit Thompson accompanied was pretextual.

Thurber v. Apmann 91 A.D.3d 1257 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2012)

In 2007, the plaintiff and defendant were walking their respective dogs when one of defendant's two dogs, a retired K-9 dog, attacked the plaintiff's dog. Plaintiff sued defendant for damages she received as a result. While each dog did received "handler protection" training (where a K-9 dog is trained to react to an aggressive attack on defendant while on duty), that situation had never arisen because the dogs acted in passive roles as explosive detection dogs. Plaintiff countered that the severity of the attack coupled with the dogs' breed and formal police training should have put defendant on notice of the dogs' vicious propensities. In affirming the summary judgment, this court found that the formal police training was not evidence of viciousness and there was no support to plaintiff's assertion that defendant kept the dogs as "guard dogs."

Thurston v. Carter 92 A. 295 (Maine, 1914) This action of trespass is brought for the recovery of damages for the killing of the fox hound of plaintiff by defendant.  Defendant claimed that he shot and killed the plaintiff's dog while it was chasing and worrying a cat belonging to and upon the land of the defendant. After the introduction of all the evidence, the court ordered a verdict for defendant. To this direction, plaintiff filed his bill of exceptions in which it is stipulated that if a cat is a domestic animal, the ruling below is to stand, otherwise judgment is to be entered for plaintiff in the sum of $50.
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.

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.
Tilbury v. State 890 S.W.2d 219 (Tex. App. 1994).

Cruelty conviction of defendant who shot and killed two domesticated dogs. Defendant knew dogs were domesticated because they lived nearby, had demeanor of pets, both wore collars, and had been previously seen by defendant.

Toledo v. Tellings 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007)

In this Ohio case, the defendant, who owned three pit bull type dogs, was convicted in the Municipal Court, Lucas County, of violating the Toledo city ordinance that limited ownership to only one pit bull per household. On appeal by the City, the Supreme Court found the state and the city have a legitimate interest in protecting citizens against unsafe conditions caused by pit bulls. The evidence presented in the trial court supports the conclusion that pit bulls pose a serious danger to the safety of citizens. The statutes and the city ordinance are rationally related to serve the legitimate interests of protecting Ohio and Toledo citizens.

Toledo v. Tellings - Reversed - 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007) Slip Copy, 2006 WL 513946 (Ohio App. 6 Dist.), 2006-Ohio-975

Reversed - 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007). In this Ohio case, defendant, who owned three pit bull type dogs, was convicted in the Municipal Court of violating city ordinance limiting ownership to only one pit bull per household, and of violating statute requiring owner of a "vicious dog" to provide liability insurance.  On appeal, the court held that the statute requiring an owner of a pit bull to provide liability insurance was unconstitutional.  Further, the statute, which provides that the ownership of a pit bull is prima facie evidence of the ownership of a vicious dog, was unconstitutional because after hearing evidence the trial court found that pit bulls as a breed are not inherently dangerous.  Thus, the court held that R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a)(iii) is unconstitutional, since it has no real and substantial relationship to a legitimate state interest. 

Toney v. Glickman 101 F.3d 1236 (8th Cir., 1996) Plaintiffs were in the business of selling animals to research facilities. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that they had committed hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131 et seq. The ALH then imposed what was, to that point, the harshest sanction, $200,000, in the history of the Act. The Judicial Officer affirmed the ALJ's findings and denied the Plaintiffs' request to reopen the hearing for consideration of new evidence. While the 8th Circuit affirmed most of these findings, it held that the evidence did not support all of them. Accordingly, the court remanded the matter to the Department for redetermination of the sanction. The court also affirmed the Judicial Officer's refusal to reopen the hearing and denied the Plaintiffs' Request for Leave to Adduce Additional Evidence. The Plaintiffs were free, however, to seek leave to offer this additional evidence on remand to the extent it was relevant to the sanction.
Town of Bethlehem v. Acker 102 A.3d 107 (Conn. App. 2014) Plaintiffs seized approximately 65 dogs from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Connecticut pursuant to a search and seizure warrant that had been issued on facts showing that the dogs, which were being kept in an uninsulated barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, were neglected, in violation of General Statutes § 22–329a. The trial court found that the smaller breed dogs were neglected, but found that larger breed dogs were not. On an appeal by plaintiffs and a cross appeal by defendants, the appeals court found: (1) the trial court applied the correct legal standards and properly determined that the smaller breed dogs were neglected and that the larger breed dogs were not neglected, even though all dogs were kept in a barn with an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit; (2) § 22–329a was not unconstitutionally vague because a person of ordinary intelligence would know that keeping smaller breed dogs in an uninsulated space with an interior temperature of approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit would constitute neglect; (3) the trial court did not err in declining to admit the rebuttal testimony offered by the defendants; and (4) the trial court did not err in granting the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief and properly transferred ownership of the smaller breed dogs to the town. The appellate court, however, reversed the judgment of the trial court only with respect to its dispositional order, which directed the parties to determine among themselves which dogs were smaller breed dogs and which dogs were larger breed dogs, and remanded the case for further proceedings, consistent with this opinion.

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