Dogs: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Chase v. State 448 S.W.3d 6 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014) Appellant and his wife were walking their two dogs when two neighbor dogs attacked the group. After the attack, appellant slashed the attacking dog's throat with a knife, which resulted in the dog's death. Appellant was then charged with and convicted of cruelty to non-livestock animals under Texas law. The appellant appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals and the case was reversed and remanded. The State filed a petition for discretionary review with the Court of Criminal Appeals. The issue before that court was whether § 822.013(a) of the Texas Health and Safety Code, a non-penal code, provided a defense to criminal prosecution. The court held that § 822.013(a)—which allows an attacked animal's owner or a person witnessing an attack to kill a dog that is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked a domestic animal—is a defense against cruelty to non-livestock animals. The judgment of the Court of Appeals was therefore affirmed. The dissenting opinion disagreed. The dissent argued the goal of this statute was to protect farmers and ranchers against the loss of their livelihood by allowing them to protect their livestock from attacking dogs without fear of liability to the dog's owner, not to allow individuals in residential neighborhoods to kill a neighbor's dog after an attack with criminal impunity.
Chavez v. Aber 122 F. Supp. 3d 581 (W.D. Tex. 2015) Plaintiffs sought damages stemming from Defendants' refusal to accommodate Plaintiffs’ minor son's mental health disabilities by allowing Plaintiffs to keep a mixed-breed pit bull as an emotional support animal in their rented duplex. Plaintiffs asserted (1) housing discrimination under the Federal Housing Act (“FHA”), (2) unlawful retaliation under the FHA, (3) discrimination under the Texas Fair Housing Act (“TFHA”), and (4) unlawful retaliation under § 92.331 of the Texas Property Code. Defendants filed the Motion, seeking dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). The court found Plaintiffs had adequately pleaded all claims and denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss.
Chee v. Amanda Goldt Property Management 50 Cal.Rptr.3d 40 (Cal.App. 1 Dist., 2006), Plaintiff, Lila Chee, a resident and owner of a condominium unit, appealed from a judgment entered in favor of all defendants on her complaint seeking damages for personal injuries she suffered when a dog belonging to Olga Kiymaz, a tenant of another unit in the same complex, jumped on Chee. In affirming the lower court's award of summary judgment, this court held that the landlord had no duty in absence of landlord's actual knowledge of dog's dangerous propensities. Further, the landlord was not liable to owner for nuisance. Finally, the condominium covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R's) did not impose vicarious liability on landlord.
Christensen v. Lundsten 863 N.Y.S.2d 886, 2008 WL 4118071 (N.Y.Dist.Ct.)

In this New York case, the parent of child injured by a dog brought an action seeking to have the dog declared a “dangerous dog” under the relevant law. The Court conducted a trial of the “dangerous dog” petition filed and rendered an oral decision that declared the respondents' Chesapeake Bay Retriever “Nellie” to be a dangerous dog under New York Agricultural and Markets Law § 121. The parties contested the appropriateness of a finding of “negligence” and “strict liability” and the entry of judgment. The District Court held that the court would not resolve issue of negligence because the issue was not properly joined for disposition; however, the owners were strictly liable for child's unreimbursed medical expenses.

Christian v. Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc. 54 A.D.3d 707 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2008)

This New York case consists of an action to recover damages for personal injuries. The plaintiffs appeal the granting of the motion of the defendant for summary judgment dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against him and the cross motion of the defendants Petco. The infant plaintiff allegedly sustained personal injuries when she was bitten by a dog owned by the defendant Kenneth Coughlin at a Petco store. The court held that the evidence submitted established that the defendants were not aware that this dog had ever bitten anyone or exhibited any aggressive behavior.

Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Labs, Inc. v. Board of Trustees of State University of New York 92 NY2d 357 (NY, 1998)

Citizens wanted access to University records dealing with biomedical research using cats and dogs.   These records were created, as required by federal Law, but access to the records was requested under state law.   According to the New York Freedom of Information Act (FOIL), documents held by an “agency” should be disclosed.   The lower Appellate Division held that s ince the University did not fall under the definition of “agency" under New York Public Officers Law, it was not required to turn over such documents.  The New York Court of Appeals, however, found that the Appellate Division's rationale for denying FOIL disclosure was inconsistent with precedent, and that the legislative goal behind FOIL of was liberal disclosure, limited only by narrowly circumscribed specific statutory exemptions.  Thus, in reversing the Appellate Division's decision, the Court of Appeals held that the records were subject to disclosure.

Citizens' Rapid-Transit Co. v. Dew 45 S.W. 790 (Tenn.1898)

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

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

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

City of Armidale v Kiraly [2009] WASC 199

The respondent, an owner of a brindle boxer dog, was charged with the dog attacking a person and for having the dog in a public place without a leash. The dog had escaped from the respondent's house and allegedly ran to and lunged at a lady delivering pamphlets. On appeal, the question of whether the dog's behaviour constituted an 'attack' for the purposes of the Dog Act 1976 (WA) s 33D(1) was a question of fact to be determined by the trial judge and, accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.

City of Cleveland v. Lupica 2004 WL 2340639 (Ohio, 2004)

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

City of Delray Beach v. St. Juste 989 So.2d 655 (Fla.App. 4 Dist. 2008) In this Florida case, the city of Delray Beach appealed from a judgment for damages in favor of appellee plaintiff, who was injured by two loose dogs. The theory of liability was based on the city's knowledge, from prior complaints, that these dogs were loose from time to time and dangerous. The plaintiff suggested that the city's failure to impound the dogs after prior numerous complaints contributed to the attack. The court concluded that decisions made by the city's animal control officer and police to not impound the dogs were discretionary decisions, and therefore the city was immune.
City of Delray Beach v. St. Juste 989 So.2d 655 (Fla.App. 4 Dist.,2008)

In this Florida case, the city of Delray Beach appeals a judgment for damages in favor of  plaintiff, who was injured by two loose dogs. Plaintiff was attacked and severely injured by two large dogs owned by a resident of Delray Beach, when the dogs escaped from the resident's fenced yard. The theory of liability was based on the city's knowledge, from prior complaints and an actual visit by an animal control officer, that these dogs were loose from time to time and dangerous. This court agreed with the city, finding that the decision of an animal control officer was discretionary and therefore immune from liability under these circumstances.

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

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

City of Marion v. Schoenwald 631 N.W.2d 213 (S.D.,2001)

To keep excessive numbers of large dogs from becoming a public nuisance, the City of Marion, South Dakota passed an ordinance that, among other things, limited households to four dogs, only two of which could weigh over 25 pounds.  Schoenwald owned three dogs: one shepherd-collie mix weighing 75 pounds and two golden retrievers, weighing 30 pounds and 20 pounds.  She was then notified that by housing three dogs weighing over 25 pounds she was in violation of the ordinance.  She failed to comply with the City's order to remove one dog and was issued a citation.  The Supreme Court reversed the lower court's ruling in Schoenwald's favor and found that South Dakota law permits municipalities broad power to regulate the keeping of dogs; thus the weight limitation included in the City's comprehensive pet ordinance was within its authority. 

City of Pierre v. Blackwell 635 N.W.2d 581 (S.D. 2001)

In this South Dakota case, the owner of a dog declared by an animal control officer to be "dangerous" pursuant to Pierre City Ordinance § 10-3-111 challenged the conviction on the basis that the ordinances themselves were unconstitutional and that his constitutional right to procedural due process has been violated. The court held that the ordinances themselves were constitutional, noting the broad authority municipalities have to regulate pet ownership as a legitimate exercise of police power.  The court reversed and remanded for determination on the factual issue of the dog's dangerousness.  Specifically, if the City opts for a civil hearing, absent exigent circumstances, the owner of a dog is entitled to a due process hearing on the issue of dangerousness. 

City of Richardson v. Responsible Dog Owners of Texas 794 S.W.2d 17 (Tex. 1990).

City's animal control ordinance banning the keeping of pit bulls was not preempted by state Penal Code provisions governing the keeping of vicious dogs.

City of Water Valley v. Trusty 343 So.2d 471 (Miss. 1977) Appellants filed b ill of complaint seeking to enjoin enforcement of city's dog leash ordinance.  The court summarily held that Mississippi Code Annotated s 21-19-9 (1972) authorizes municipalities to regulate the running at large of animals of all kinds. The ordinance here was enacted pursuant to that authority, it meets the constitutional requirements, and the demurrer should have been sustained on that question.
City of Whitehall v. Zageris (Alise K.) 1985 WL 55 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.)

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

Cleveland Hts. v. Jones 2006 WL 256638 (Ohio App. 8 Dist.) In this Ohio case, the defendant was convicted in the Cleveland Heights Municipal Court of keeping more than two dogs at his single-family residence contrary to an ordinance that limited the keeping of more than two dogs at a single-family residence (defendant was found to have three dogs, one of whom he said was "visiting" his daughter). In affirming defendant's conviction, the court found no merit to defendant's challenge that the term "kept" was ambiguous. Further, the evidence adduced at trial was sufficient to support defendant's conviction where the officer witnessed the dogs at the residence and defendant admitted to having three dogs in his home even without ownership of the third.
Coballes v. Spokane County 274 P.3d 1102 (Wash.App. Div. 3)

In this case, the Washington Court of Appeals determined the appellant had a statutory right to appeal a county board’s dangerous dog declaration because the board had acted within its ordinary and usual duties. The availability of the right to appeal, however, foreclosed a statutory and constitutional writ of review/writ of certiorari.  Furthermore, given the court’s finding that a prior proceeding constituted an appeal as of right, the appellant’s dangerous dog declaration could only be appealed under a discretionary review. The court therefore granted the appellant leave to file a motion for discretionary review.

Coe v. Lewsader 64 N.E.3d 817, appeal denied, 77 N.E.3d 81 (Ill. 2017) In this case, Ryan and Hillary Coe filed suit against Eric and Trish Lewsader for damages resulting from an accident involving the Lewsader’s dog. Ryan Coe was driving his motorcycle while intoxicated on a public highway when he hit the Lewsader’s dog that was lying in the middle of the street. Coe suffered severe injuries as a result of the accident and filed suit against the Lewsader’s according to Section 16 of the Illinois Animal Attacks or Injuries statute. According to the Act, “if a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages.” In order to be awarded damages under the Act, the Coe’s needed to establish “some overt act” of the Lewsader’s dog . As a result, the question before the court was whether or not the Lewsader’s dog was acting overtly when it was lying in the middle of the street at the time of the accident. Ultimately, the court held that the dog was not acting overtly by lying in the middle of the street. Also, the court rejected the Coe’s argument that the dog had acted overtly when it walked into the street before lying down. The court rejected this argument because the overt act needed to take place at the time of the injury, not before. As a result, the court found that the Lewsader’s were not liable for civil damages under the Act because the dog had not acted overtly at the time of accident and therefore the Act did not apply in this situation.
Cohen v. Kretzschmar 30 A.D.3d 555 ((N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept. 2006)

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, held that the owners established that their dog did not have a propensity to jump up on people, and that they were not negligent in the manner in which they handled the dog at the time of the alleged accident.  The judgment granting defendants' motion for summary judgment was affirmed.

Cole v. Hubanks 681 N.W.2d 147 (Wis. 2003)

Police officer was injured by homeowner's dog and sued for damages.  The Supreme Court held that public policy does not dictate extending the firefighter's rule to the police officer, and therefore, that the officer could sue for injuries received as a result of the bite.  Reversed and remanded.

Collier v. Zambito 1 N.Y.3d 444 (N.Y. 2004)

Infant child attacked and bit by dog when he was a guest in the owner's home.  After defenses motion for summary judgment was denied, the Appellate Court reversed, and this court affirms.

Colorado Dog Fanciers v. City and County of Denver 820 P.2d 644 (Colo. 1991) The plaintiffs, dog owners and related canine and humane associations (dog owners), filed a complaint in the Denver District Court against the defendant, City and County of Denver (city), seeking both a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of the "Pit Bulls Prohibited" ordinance, Denver, Colo., Rev.Mun.Code § 8-55 (1989), and injunctive relief to prevent enforcement.  The dog owners in this case claim the ordinance is unconstitutional, violating their rights to procedural and substantive due process and equal protection, is unconstitutionally vague, and constitutes a taking of private property.
COLUMBUS R. CO. v. WOOLFOLK 58 S.E. 152 (Ga.1907)
In this Georgia case, Woolfolk brought a suit to recover the value of a dog that he alleged was willfully and wantonly killed by the running of a street car on defendant's line of road. The defendant demurred specially to the paragraph that alleged the value of the dog to be $200. Defendant argued that the measure of damages could not be based on the value of the dog because dogs have no market value. The court disagreed, first noting that, by the common law a dog is property, for an injury to which an action will lie and the modern trend is to value dogs in the same way other domestic animals are valued. Further, the court found a "better rule" for ascertaining the measure of damages: “The value of a dog may be proved, as that of any other property, by evidence that he was of a particular breed, and had certain qualities, and by witnesses who knew the market value of such animal, if any market value be shown. Judgment affirmed.
Columbus v. Kim 886 N.E.2d 217 (Ohio, 2008)

An Ohio dog owner was convicted in the Municipal Court, Franklin County, of harboring an unreasonably loud or disturbing animal as prohibited by city ordinance. On appeal to the Supreme Court, the owner contended that the term “unreasonable” in the ordinance “does not provide enough explanation to allow the average person to know what behavior is permissible.” The Supreme Court held that the ordinance was not unconstitutionally vague on its face, and was not unconstitutionally vague as applied.

Com v. Daly 56 N.E.3d 841 (Mass. App. 2016) The Defendant Patrick Daly was convicted in the District Court of Norfolk County, Massachusetts of animal cruelty involving a “snippy," eight-pound Chihuahua. The incident occurred when Daly flung the dog out of an open sliding door and onto the deck of his home after the dog bit Daly’s daughter, which led to the dog's death. On appeal, defendant raised several arguments. He first challenged the animal cruelty statute as vague and overbroad because it failed to define the terms "kill," "unnecessary cruelty," or "cruelly beat." The court disregarded his claim, finding the terms of the statute were "sufficiently defined" such that a person would know that he or she "may not throw a dog on its leash onto a deck with force enough to cause the animal to fall off the deck, twelve feet to its death . . ." Defendant also claimed that a photo of his daughter's hand showing the injury from the dog bite was improperly excluded. However, the court found the defendant was not prejudiced by the judge's failure to admit the photo. Under a claim that his conduct was warranted, defendant argues that the jury was improperly instructed on this point. It should not have been instructed on defense of another because that relates only to defending against human beings and, instead, the jury should have been instructed on a defense of attack by an animal. The court found while there is no precedent in Massachusetts for such a claim, the rationale is the same as the given instruction, and defendant cannot complain that the jury was improperly instructed where he invited the instruction with his claims that his actions were necessary to protect his daughter. His other claims were also disregarded by the court and his judgment was affirmed.
Com. v. Beam 923 A.2d 414 (Pa.Super., 2007)

In this Pennsylvania case, defendant appeals from convictions for licensing violations under the state's Dog Law and for violation of the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act after a copier repair person was attacked by defendant's three German Shepherds. Because the Department of Health dog warden could not gain access to either question defendant about the dogs' vaccinations or quarantine the dogs, the victim had to receive a series of rabies shots. Based on the testimony of the dog warden that he finally saw vaccination certificates, and the fact the Commonwealth did not present any contrary evidence, the fines imposed under the Rabies Act were reversed. However, the court sustained the convictions for licensing violations under the Dog Law since defendant failed to show proof of licenses for 2005 (when the attack occurred).

Com. v. Hackenberger 836 A.2d 2 (Pa.2003)
Defendant was convicted and sentenced to 6 months to 2 years jail following a jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas of cruelty to animals resulting from his shooting of a loose dog more than five times. On appeal, appellant contends that the use of a deadly weapon sentencing enhancement provision does not apply to a conviction for cruelty to animals since the purpose is to punish only those offenses where the defendant has used a deadly weapon against persons. The Commonwealth countered that the purpose behind the provision is immaterial because the plain language applies to any offense where the defendant has used a deadly weapon to commit the crime, save for those listed crimes where possession is an element of the offense. This Court agreed with the Commonwealth and held that the trial court was not prohibited from applying the deadly weapon sentencing enhancement to defendant's conviction for cruelty to animals.
Com. v. Hake Com. v. Hake, 738 A.2d 46 (1998)

Dog owner appealed conviction of harboring a dangerous dog that attacked a child in violation of the Dangerous Dog Statute. The Commonwealth Court held that the statute imposes strict liability for the dog’s first bite if a dog inflicts severe injury on a human being without provocation.

Com. v. Kneller 971 A.2d 495 (Pa.Super.,2009) Defendant appealed a conviction for criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after Defendant provided a gun and instructed her boyfriend to shoot and kill their dog after the dog allegedly bit Defendant’s child.   The Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed the conviction, finding the relevant animal cruelty statute to be ambiguous, thus requiring the reversal under the rule of lenity.   Concurring and dissenting opinions were filed, in which both agreed that the statute is unambiguous as to whether a dog owner may destroy his or her dog by use of a firearm when that dog has attacked another person, but disagreed as to whether sufficient evidence was offered to show that the dog in fact attacked another person. (See Supreme Court order - Com. v. Kneller, 978 A.2d 716, 2009 WL 5154265 (Pa.,2009)).
Com. v. Kneller 987 A.2d 716 (Pa., 2009)

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania took up this appeal involving the defendant's criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after the defendant provided a gun and instructed her boyfriend to shoot and kill their dog after the dog allegedly bit the defendant’s child. The Supreme Court vacated the order of the Superior Court and remanded the case to the Superior Court (--- A.2d ----, 2009 WL 215322) in accordance with the dissenting opinion of the Superior Court's order. The Court further observed that the facts revealed no immediate need to kill the dog and that there was "unquestionably malicious beating of the dog" prior to it being shot.

Com. v. Raban 31 A.3d 699 (Pa.Super., 2011)

Defendant was convicted of violating the dog law for failing to properly confine his dog after it escaped from his property and attacked another dog. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed, holding that 1) scienter was not a necessary element of the violation because the statutory mandate to confine a dog was stated absolutely, and 2) a dog attack is not a de minimis infraction that would preclude a conviction.

Com. v. Seyler 929 A.2d 262 (Pa.Cmwlth., 2007)

This Pennsylvania case construes the term "owner" for purposes of the state's Dog and Rabies Laws. Gretta R. Seyler appeals from an order of the trial  court, which found her guilty of two counts each of violating Dog Law and guilty of two counts of violating Section 8 of the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act after a pit bull jumped out of a window of her home and attacked a neighbor. First, the court found that there was no question that Seyler was caring for the dogs at the time the incident occurred or was permitting them to remain “on or about” the premises occupied by her.  Although Seyler argues that the record clearly indicates that the two dogs were owned by her adult sons, the court found that the argument is without much force, as no paperwork showing the sons' ownership of the dogs was introduced at the hearing. Further, the court observed that the plain and unambiguous intent of Sections 8 of the Rabies Act and 305 of the Dog Law is that dogs be vaccinated and confined at all times. Thus, if the person having the property interest in a dog does not perform that function, then the statutes clearly require one harboring or caring for the dog, here Seyler, to perform it. 

Com. v. Trefry 51 N.E.3d 502 (Mass. App. Ct., 2016), review denied, 475 Mass. 1104, 60 N.E.3d 1173 (2016) The Defendant Trefry, left her two sheepdogs, Zach and Kenji, alone on the property of her condemned home. An animal control officer noticed that Kenji was limping badly and took him to a veterinarian. Both dogs were removed from the property three days later. The Defendant was convicted of two counts of violating statute G.L. c. 140, § 174E(f ), which protects dogs from cruel conditions and inhumane chaining or tethering. The Defendant appealed. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Barnstable held that: (1) neither outside confinement nor confinement in general is an element of subjecting dogs to cruel conditions as prohibited by statute; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to support finding that the defendant subjected her dogs to cruel conditions. The Appeals Court reasoned that the defendant subjected her dogs to cruel conditions in violation of the statute because by the time they were removed, the dogs were “incredibly tick-infested” and “matted,” and Kenji had contracted Lyme disease and sustained a soft shoulder injury to his leg. An animal control officer also testified that the defendant's home was cluttered on the inside and overgrown on the outside. The yard also contained items that posed a danger to the animals. There was also sufficient evidence to infer that, while the dogs could move in and out of the condemned house, the dogs were confined to the house and fenced-in yard. The area to which the dogs were confined presented with every factor listed in § 174E(f)(1) as constituting “filthy and dirty” conditions. Also, "Zach's and Kenji's emotional health was further compromised by being left alone virtually all day every day" according to the court. Therefore the Defendant’s conviction was affirmed.
Com. v. Zalesky 906 N.E.2d 349, (Mass.App.Ct.,2009)
In this Massachusetts case, the defendant was convicted of cruelty to an animal, in violation of G.L. c. 272, § 77. On appeal, the defendant contended that the evidence was insufficient to establish his guilt; specifically, that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that his actions exceeded what was necessary and appropriate to train the dog. A witness in this case saw defendant beat his dog with a plastic "whiffle" bat on the head about 10 times. The defendant told the officer who arrived on the scene that he had used the bat on previous occasions, and did so to “put the fear of God in [the] dog.” At trial, a veterinarian testified that the dog suffered no trauma from the bat, but probably experienced pain if struck repeatedly in that manner. The court found that defendant's behavior fell under the ambit of the statutes because his actions were cruel, regardless of whether defendant viewed them as such. Judgment affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Austin 846 A.2d 798 (Pa. 2004)

Defendant appeals his conviction of harboring a dangerous dog.  The Court affirmed, holding that there was sufficient evidence supporting the conviction, and also holding that serious injuries are not a prerequisite for convicting a defendant for harboring a dangerous animal.

Commonwealth v. Bishop 67 Mass.App.Ct. 1116 (2006)

David Bishop was convicted of animal cruelty and failing to provide a sanitary environment for his five dogs. He was ordered to pay over $60,000 in order to provide for the medical expenses that his dogs needed after they were taken away from him. While defendant argued that the amount of restitution was excessive, the court found that each of the five dogs had medical bills in excess of $10,000. Defendant was sentenced to three months in a house of corrections, and ten years probation.

Commonwealth v. Craven 817 A.2d 451 (Pa. 2003)

The issue before the Court in this consolidated appeal was whether the trial court properly determined that 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511(h.1)(6), which criminalizes an individual's attendance at an animal fight "as a spectator," is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.  Specifically, appellees contended that the statute criminalized "mere presence" at a dog fight.  The Supreme Court disagreed, finding the evidence showed appellees were active spectators at the fight (as seen in the videotape evidence).  The court concluded that the statute is constitutionally sound, thereby reversing the lower court's decision that the statute imposed strict liability on mere presence.

Commonwealth v. Craven 572 Pa. 431 (Pa. S.C. 2003)

Defendants who were charged with cruelty to animals and criminal conspiracy for their attendance at a dogfight as spectators challenged the constitutionality of the dogfighting statute. The trial court found that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that since the statute only creates criminal liability for a person's conscious decision to attend a dogfight, it is not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.

Commonwealth v. Gardner 74 Pa. D. & C. 539 (Pa. 1950)

In this Pennsylvania case, a new resident moved next door to a woman who had been operating a kennel for years.  He then complained to the borough council which then amended an ordinance such that the keeping of more than six dogs over six months of age was made a nuisance per se, illegal and a violation of the ordinance.  The court held that it did not believe that the borough council or the court had the power or the authority to determine that more than a certain number is a nuisance per se, and less than that number is a nuisance only upon proof of the same being a nuisance. "In other words, it is our opinion that the borough council, in the exercise of its police power may not unreasonably and arbitrarily prohibit things which were not nuisances at common law, and their declaration in an ordinance that a thing is a public nuisance does not make it so, if it is not a nuisance in fact . . ."

Commonwealth v. Kneller 999 A.2d 608 (Pa., 2010)

Kneller appealed from a conviction of criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals after she gave an acquaintance a gun and asked him to shoot a dog. The Court affirmed the conviction, concluding that “The Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law” (ADMA) and the “Dog Law” are not ambiguous. In addition, the deadly weapon enhancement applies to an owner who is convicted of cruelty to animals and used a firearm to kill it.

Commonwealth v. Lee 2007 WL 4555253 (Pa. Super. 2007)

Sheriffs removed Defendant's starving dog from his garage and took it to a shelter for hospitalization.  Following a conviction and sentencing for animal cruelty and an order of restitution payable to the shelter, Defendant appealed.  The Superior Court remanded for re-sentencing and vacated the order of restitution, holding that the shelter was not a victim of Defendant's actions, and that restitution is only payable to humans.

Commonwealth v. Szewczyk 53 N.E.3d 1286 (Mass.App.Ct.,2016) In this Massachusetts case, defendant was charged with animal cruelty after he shot a dog that had wandered onto his property with a pellet gun. The pellet was lodged in the dog’s leg and caused significant pain and discomfort to the dog. Following conviction, defendant appealed the District Court’s ruling arguing that the judge erred in denying three of his eleven requests for rulings of law.Specifically, defendant's principal argument was that he had a lawful purpose in shooting (to scare the dog off his property), his intent was justified (to insure his wife's safety on the property), and the pain inflicted by defendant shooting the dog does not fit the statutory meaning of "cruel." At the close of evidence, defendant submitted a written request for ruling under Mass. R.Crim. P.26 setting out these issues. The court held that the District Court judge correctly denied the three requests because they were clearly outside the scope of rule 26 because they called upon the judge as a fact finder to weigh the evidence presented at trial. Next, the court reviewed the facts of the case to determine whether or not a rational trier of fact could have found the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Ultimately, the court held that a rational trier of fact would have been able to find that defendant did commit animal cruelty by shooting the dog. The court focused on the fact that the defendant could have used other means to ensure that the dog did not enter the property again without causing pain and suffering to the dog by shooting the dog in the leg. The judgment was affirmed.
Commonwealth v. Thorton Commonwaelth v. Thorton, 113 Mass 457 (1873)

The defendant was convicted of causing his dog to be bitten, mangled and cruelly tortured by another dog.  The defendant appealled and the Supreme Court affirmed.

Commonwealth v. Waller 58 N.E.3d 1070 (Mass. App. Ct., 2016), review denied, 476 Mass. 1102, 63 N.E.3d 387 (2016) Tasha Waller was convicted of animal cruelty for starving her dog to death. As a result of this conviction, Waller was placed on probation which prohibited her from owning animals and allowed for random searches of her property. Waller appealed this decision for the following reasons: (1) the animal cruelty statute under which she was convicted was unconstitutionally vague; (2) the expert witness testimony was improper and insufficient to support her conviction; (3) she may not as a condition of her probation be prohibited from owning animals, and the condition of probation allowing suspicions searches should be modified. The court reviewed Waller’s arguments and determined the statute was not unconstitutionally vague because it is common for animal cruelty statutes to only refer to “animals” in general and not specifically mention dogs. The court noted that dogs are commonly understood to fall within the category of animals and therefore the statute was not vague. Also, the court held that the expert witness testimony from the veterinarian was not improper because the veterinarian was capable of examining the dog and making a determination as to how the dog had died. Lastly, the court held that it was not improper to prohibit Waller from owning animals, but did agree that the searches of her property should only be warranted if authorities have reasonable suspicion to search the property. Ultimately, the court upheld Waller’s conviction and probation but modified the terms in which authorities are able to search her property.
Concerned Dog Owners of California v. City of Los Angeles 123 Cal.Rptr.3d 774 (Cal.App.2 Dist., 2011)

Dog owners mounted a constitutional challenge to a Los Angeles municipal ordinance that required all dogs and cats within the city to be sterilized. The Court of Appeal held that the ordinance did not violate the owners’ freedom of association rights, free speech rights. or equal protection rights. The court held that it was not unconstitutionally vague, was not outside of the city's police powers, did not vest unfettered discretion in city officials, did not constitute an unconstitutional prior restraint or an unconstitutional taking. Finally, the law did not violate individual liberties under the California Constitution.

Connor v. Bogrett 596 P.2d 683 (Wyo., 1979)

This Wyoming case concerns the application of the sales provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code as adopted in Wyoming (ss 34-21-201 through 34-21-299.5, W.S.1977) to a sale of a registered Black Labrador retriever which was intended for competition in field trials. More specifically the question is whether the continued physical ability of this retriever, as a matter of law, was precluded from becoming part of the basis for the bargain of the parties. The court agreed with the district court in this instance that, as a matter of law, the expressions of the seller relative to the potential of this retriever were only expressions of opinion or commendation and not an express warranty.

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

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