Dogs: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
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. Baumgartner --- A.3d ----, 2019 WL 1010357 (Mar. 4, 2019) Appellant Charles Baumgartner was charged and convicted of animal fighting for amusement or gain as a result of an incident that occurred on March 9, 2017. Baumgartner brought his white pit pull named "Menace" to fight a pit bull that belonged to Adam Aviles. Police learned of the dog fight after being informed a video of the fight had been uploaded to social media. Baumgartner was ultimately charged with animal fighting and assaulting Mr. Aviles, but was convicted by jury only of animal fighting. On appeal, Baumgartner contends that his conviction should be set aside because the Commonwealth failed to present any evidence of amusement or gain as required by statute. As a matter of first impression, this Court considered the term "amusement or gain" as an element of the animal fighting, which is undefined in the anti-cruelty laws. The court found that no cases or other jurisdiction defines the term with respect to animal fighting, and thus, under principles of statutory interpretation, relies on the common usage and dictionary definitions. The court found that there was sufficient evidence admitted a trial for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Baumgartner allowed his dog to engage in animal fighting for amusement or gain, i.e., for “pleasurable diversion” or “advantage acquired or increased.” The Court concluded that Baumgartner facilitated the dog fight as a means of retribution against Aviles for a prior dog fighting incident. Therefore, his motive was personal gain. Accordingly, the Court affirmed Baumgartner’s conviction. Judge Pellegrini dissented stating that she does not believe that retribution is the type of amusement or gain within the meaning of the statute. She interprets the statute as outlawing animal fighting as a sport rather than all animal fights.
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 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. 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. Deible 300 A.3d 1025 (2023) This case is an appeal from a judgment convicting appellant of animal cruelty for failure to groom her terrier dog. Appellant has owned the 17-year-old terrier dog since the dog was a puppy. At one point, the dog escaped from appellant’s home and was found by a bystander. This bystander testified that the dog’s fur was heavily matted, with objects stuck in its fur. The bystander took pictures of the dog and contacted a veterinary clinic to shave the dog. The dog was then left at an animal shelter, where a humane police officer examined the dog and found it matted so heavily it could not see, stand, or defecate properly. Appellant testified that the dog was aggressive when she attempted to groom him, and that the dog made itself dirty when it escaped appellant’s home. Appellant also argued that their veterinarian was supposed to groom the dog, but the dog’s veterinary records did not support this. The lower court found that there was sufficient evidence to charge appellant with animal cruelty, and ordered her to pay fines totaling $946.58 and forfeit ownership of the dog. Appellant filed this appeal to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence used to support her conviction of animal cruelty. The court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the cruelty charge, as the statute prohibits “ill-treatment” and the evidence of the condition of the dog supports that it was treated improperly. Appellant also argues that the court’s order for her to forfeit her dog was improper, but the court of appeals disagreed due to the pattern of neglect established by appellant’s history with the dog. Accordingly, the court of appeals affirmed the holding of the lower court.
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. Russo 218 N.E.3d 116, review granted, 493 Mass. 1104, 223 N.E.3d 741 (2023) This is a case regarding an animal cruelty charge brought against defendant, the owner of an elderly, terminally ill dog. First, defendant’s family brought the fourteen-year-old dog to an animal hospital. The staff at the hospital examined the dog, which had a large mass on his side, and recommended that the dog have surgery to remove the mass. Defendant did not authorize the surgery, and instead took the dog home. Three weeks later, defendant brought the dog back to the animal hospital, where the staff noticed that his condition had worsened significantly. At this point, the veterinarian recommended humane euthanasia to end the dog’s suffering, but defendant declined and requested the surgery. The veterinarian declined, claiming the dog would not survive the surgery, and defendant took the dog home saying they would have another vet euthanize the dog. The veterinarian reported defendant to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, who conducted a welfare check on the dog and found it in very poor health. When the Animal Rescue League asked defendant to euthanize the dog or get him medical attention, defendant declined and insisted the dog would die at home. Defendants were charged with violating the animal cruelty statute, defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint was granted, and this appeal followed. The question on appeal is whether defendant’s conduct in refusing to euthanize the dog constitutes animal cruelty under the statute. The Commonwealth argues that the animal cruelty statute covers the conduct of one who has charge of an animal but, rather than inflicting the harm directly, “authorizes or permits” the animal “to be subjected to” harm, and that keeping the dog in a state of suffering rather than euthanizing the dog fits this definition. However, after examining case law, the court could not find a case in which a person's failure to euthanize an animal was interpreted as “subjecting” an animal to harm, and did not want to extend the statute that far. The court affirmed the holding of the lower court.
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.
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.
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.

Cordoves v. Miami-Dade Cnty 92 F. Supp. 3d 1221 (S.D. Fla. 2015) This case arises out of an incident at the Dadeland Mall, during which plaintiff had a confrontation with security personnel that ended with her arrest. The incident was precipitated by the presence of a small dog plaintiff was toting in a stroller while shopping with her mother and daughter. Plaintiff alleged discrimination in public accommodations under the ADA, and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment under § 1983. Defendants moved for summary judgment.The District Court denied the motion in part and granted the motion in part, finding that an issue of material fact existed as to whether the dog was a service animal; that the patron was precluded from bringing negligence claim premised on intentional torts; that officer's use of force in arresting patron was de minimis; and that the right to be free from officer's application of force was not clearly established.
Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital, Inc. 415 N.Y.S.2d (182 N.Y.City Civ.Ct., 1979)

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

County of Pasco v. Riehl 620 So.2d 229 (Fla.App. 2 Dist.,1993)

When owners of a "dangerous dog" attempted to enjoin such a classification, this court held the dangerous dog statute was unconstitutional.  Because dogs are subjects of property and ownership, the owner's deprivation of a dog entitles him to procedural due process.

Cox v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 925 F.2d 1102 (8th Cir. 1991)

USDA had suspended a kennel owner’s license for 90 days and imposed a fine on the owner for violating AWA regulations.   These violations included delivering dogs for transportation in commerce, that were under eight weeks old, failing to hold dogs for at least five days after acquiring them, and refusing APHIS inspections.   Owner claimed that such sanctions were excessive.   However, the court found that there was willful violation of the AWA, since inspections were refused.   Also, ignorance is not considered a defense, and although the owners claimed they did not know the age of the eight-week old puppies, they could have found out.   Thus, the sanction was appropriate.

Crisman v. Hallows 999 P.2d 1249 (Utah App.,2000)

Plaintiff dog owners appeal the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of defendant Ted Hallows. Hallows. a Division of Wildlife Resources employee, shot the dogs after they got loose from plaintiffs' backyard. While the factual accounts of the shooting differed, Hallows asserted that he shot the dogs within the scope of his employment and was therefore protected under the Governmental Immunity Act. On appeal, the court first found that plaintiffs may maintain an action against Hallows for conduct outside the scope of his employment and this claim was not barred by their admitted failure to comply with the Immunity Act's notice of claim and statute of limitations requirements. Further, as to plaintiffs' claims that Hallows was not acting within his scope of employment when the shooting occurred, there was sufficient evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact.

Crowder v. Kitagawa 81 F.3d 1480 (C.A.9 Hawai‘i,1996)

The plaintiffs in this case were a class of visually-impaired persons who use guide dogs. Plaintiffs sought exemption from Hawaii's imposition of a 120-day quarantine on carnivorous animals entering the state (which necessarily included their guide dogs). Specifically, they contend Hawaii's quarantine, designed to prevent the importation of rabies, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),and their constitutional rights of travel, equal protection and substantive due process. On appeal of summary judgment, this Court held that without reasonable modifications to its quarantine requirement for the benefit of visually-impaired individuals who rely on guide dogs, Hawaii's quarantine requirement effectively prevents such persons from enjoying the benefits of state services and activities in violation of the ADA. The district court's issuance of summary judgment in favor of Hawaii, was reversed and the case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

Custer v. Coward 667 S.E.2d 135 (Ga.App.,2008)

Plaintiffs appeal the trial court's granting of summary judgment in favor of defendants. The plaintiffs' 5-year-old child was bitten by the defendants' dog while the plaintiffs were visiting the defendants, who were also their neighbors. While jumping on the defendants' trampoline, the plaintiffs' child fell onto the defendants' dog who bit the child on the leg and would not let go for a few minutes.  The plaintiffs contended at trial that the defendants' knowledge that the dog had "Wobbler's Syndrome," a cranial neck instability that causes leg problems, somehow put the defendants on notice of the dog's vicious propensity. However, the court discarded plaintiffs' argument, finding that is no evidence that Butkus had bitten or attempted to bite anyone before the incident. Further, there was no reason for the defendants to believe that the dog's leg condition would make it more apt to attack humans.

Dancy v. State 287 So. 3d 931 (Miss. 2020) The Justice Court of Union County found Michael Dancy guilty of three counts of animal cruelty and ordered the permanent forfeiture of Dancy’s six horses, four cats, and three dogs. Dancy appealed to the circuit court. The circuit court ordered that the animals be permanently forfeited and found Dancy guilty. The circuit court also ordered Dancy to pay $39,225 for care and boarding costs for the horses. Dancy subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Mississippi. Essentially, Dancy failed to provide adequate shelter, food, and water for the animals. The Court found that the circuit court properly released the animals to an animal protection organization. The Court also found that the reimbursement order was permissible. Two of Dancy’s three convictions were for violations of the same statute regarding simple cruelty, one for his four cats and one for his three dogs. The Court held that, according to the statute's plain language, Dancy’s cruelty to a combination of dogs and cats occurring at the same time "shall constitute a single offense." Thus, the State cannot punish Dancy twice for the same offense without violating his right against double jeopardy. For that reason, the court vacated Dancy’s second conviction of simple cruelty. The court affirmed the permanent forfeiture and reimbursement order and his other cruelty conviction.
Daniels v. Drake 195 N.E.3d 866 (Ind. Ct. App. 2022), transfer denied, 208 N.E.3d 1250 (Ind. 2023) Plaintiff Damon Daniels appeals from the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants, the Drakes. The incident stems from an unprovoked dog bite at defendants' home. The Drakes live on a large, rural property in Indiana with no neighbors. The Drakes own five dogs including "Max," a large Great Dane. Max would roam the property unrestrained. Daniels is a FedEx driver. In September of 2020, Daniels entered the property to deliver a package. Upon approaching the residence, Daniels honked his horn a couple times to get the attention of Lisa Drake. Daniels, who was still inside the vehicle, asked Lisa if Max was "okay," to which Lisa indicated a "thumbs up." However, after walking toward Lisa with the package, Max barked once and then bit Daniels in the abdomen. Daniels sustained puncture wounds, a one-centimeter laceration, swelling and a hematoma from the bite. Approximately two months later, Daniels filed the instant complaint seeking damages related to the dog bite. The Drakes filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that they did not have actual knowledge of Max's vicious propensities prior to the bite. In response, Daniels contended that Great Danes have a "natural propensity" to be territorial, which is exacerbated by isolation. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. On appeal here, the court explained that Indiana law states that knowledge of a dog's dangerous or vicious tendencies may not be inferred from a first-time, unprovoked bite, but that knowledge may be inferred where evidence shows that the particular breed to which the owner's dog belongs is known to exhibit such tendencies." While the court observed that the Drakes presented evidence of a lack of actual knowledge of Max's vicious propensities, the expert who testified on Great Dane behavior presented evidence that Great Danes might behave with "territorial aggressive tendencies" in a given situation. The Drakes argued on appeal (for the first time) that this evidence by a canine behavioral expert was "immaterial" and cannot be used to show what lay people would know about Great Danes. The court was unpersuaded by the Drakes' novel argument, and this created a genuine issue of material fact. Thus, this court reversed the order granting summary judgment for the Drakes and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Dart v Singer [2010] QCA 75

The applicants pleaded guilty to a number of charges under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) following the seizure of 113 live dogs, one cat, 488 rats, 73 mice, 12 guinea pigs and 11 birds from their premises due to unsanitary and inappropriate living conditions. The applicants claimed that RSPCA officers were acting ultra vires and that a stay preventing the RSCPA from parting with the animals should be effected. The applicants' argument failed.

Daskalea v. Washington Humane Soc. 577 F.Supp.2d 82 (D.D.C., 2008)

In relevant part, the District of Columbia’s Freedom from Cruelty to Animal Protection Act allows any humane officer to take possession of any animal to protect the animal(s) from neglect or cruelty. Plaintiffs, all of whom had their dogs seized under the Act, brought a Motion for Partial Summary Disposition for a count alleging that the Act is unconstitutional on its face and as customarily enforced. The United States District Court, District of Columbia, denied Plaintiffs’ motion without prejudice, finding the parties’ briefs in connection to the motion insufficient to determine whether an issue exists as to the Act‘s constitutionality.

Daughen v. Fox 539 A.2d 858 (Pa. Super. 1988)

Plaintiffs brought a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of companionship after defendant animal hospital performed unnecessary surgery based on a mix-up of x-rays.  The court denied the first claim, finding the defendant's conduct did not meet the "extreme and outrageous" conduct test.  With regard to plaintiff's claim for loss of a unique chattel and for loss of the dog's companionship and comfort, the court observed that, under Pennsylvania law, a dog is personal property, and, under no circumstances under the law of Pennsylvania, may there be recovery for loss of companionship due to the death of an animal.  

Davis v. Animal Control–City of Evansville 948 N.E.2d 1161 (Ind., 2011)

Dog attack victim sued city and its animal control department, seeking damages for injuries he sustained from a dog attack in his neighborhood. The victim claimed that the city failed to enforce its animal control ordinance. The Supreme Court held that city and its animal control department had law enforcement immunity because the Tort Claims Act provided immunity to governmental entities for any loss due to failure to enforce a law.

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.

Davison v. Berg 243 So.3d 489 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Mar. 22, 2018) Deborah Davison volunteered at her local Humane Society to help take care of a dog park. Three years later, Rebecca Berg’s dog who was chasing other dogs collided with Davison. Davison suffered a broken leg that required extensive medical care. Davison then filed an action against Berg under a Florida statute that “imposes liability on dog owners for damage their dogs cause to other persons and animals.” The trial court granted final summary judgment in favor of Berg for two reasons. The first reason was that the signs outside of the park sufficiently warned Davison of the risks of injury inside. The second reason was that Davison essentially consented to the risk of potential injuries by being a volunteer for the dog park. On appeal, this court stated that the Florida statute was a strict liability statute that makes an owner the insurer of their dog’s conduct. The only defense to the statute is for an owner to display in a prominent place on his or her premises a sign that includes the words “Bad Dog.” Berg presented evidence that the park had two signs prominently displayed at the entrance to the park with the title “Dog Park Rules.” The two signs listed rules for entrance to the dog park. One of these rules stated that park use is at the dog owner’s risk. Another rule stated that rough play and chasing were not allowed if any dogs or owners were uncomfortable with that behavior. The last rule stated that visitors enter at their own risk. Even though Davison entered the park at her own risk, the purpose of the sign requirement in the statute was to give notice that a bad dog is on the premises. The Court found that the trial court erred in finding that the signs at the dog park were sufficiently equivalent to “Bad Dog” signs to preclude liability under the Florida statute. The trial court also found that by virtue of Davison volunteering at the dog park, she was aware that she could be injured during the course of her work and that she signed a volunteer application form that acknowledged that she could be exposed to “bites, scratches, and other injuries.” Davison had also witnessed a prior collision between a dog and an individual that resulted in a broken leg. After witnessing that, Davison began to warn others at the Humane Society about the dangers of being inside the dog park with dogs chasing each other. The Court held that even though there may be evidence to support the trial court’s conclusion that Davison consented to the risk of injury, “an actual consent or assumption of the risk defense cannot bar liability.” The Court reversed the trial court’s entry of final summary judgment in favor of Berg.
De Lanoy v. Taylor 452 P.3d 1036 (Or.App., 2019) This Oregon case involves a dispute over who now owns a female whippet dog named "Isis." Isis was adopted from the local humane society and lived with the plaintiff and his family until 2014. In the summer of 2014, plaintiff asked his friend Rich to keep Isis while plaintiff moved to Florida. Both plaintiff and Rich understood that Rich was just caring for Isis and that plaintiff remained Isis' owner. Defendant is Rich's ex-girlfriend had a different understanding; that plaintiff had abandoned Isis and, as such, Isis became defendant's property. In 2016, plaintiff filed an action for replevin against defendant, seeking immediate return of Isis. Defendant countered with a counterclaim for a declaratory judgment that the dog was gifted to Rich - who subsequently abandoned the dog - and so defendant became the rightful owner. A bench trial ruled in favor of plaintiff, finding insufficient evidence to establish that plaintiff had gifted the dog or that Rich had abandoned the dog. On appeal, defendant raises a single procedural error, that the court erred by granting plaintiff replevin the procedures in ORCP 83 A were not followed. Notably, the court found that there was no ruling against defendant with regard to noncompliance of a court rule. More importantly, there was no challenge to the court's disposition of the declaratory judgement counterclaim. Thus, defendant presented no error in the disposition of her counterclaim. Accordingly, because the trial court declared plaintiff to be the lawful owner of Isis, and no one has challenged that declaration, the court did not reach defendant's arguments about the proper procedure for a replevin claim.
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.
Demeo v. Manville 68 Ill.App.3d 843 (1979)

This is an Illinois' small claims action involving the death of plaintiffs' show dog. Plaintiff alleged that defendant ran over the dog while it was tied up near the driveway. Defendant denied plaintiff’s allegations that defendant ran over the dog and used a cover-up story. The court upheld an award of five-hundred dollars although the purchase price was two-hundred. Plaintiff testified that he paid $200 for his dog when it was a puppy, but it had appeared in four shows, winning first prize in each. Evidence was considered for commercial value and special qualities in that case.  

Dempsey v. Rosenthal 121 Misc.2d 612 (N.Y. 1983)

A buyer of a poodle brought an action against a kennel, seeking to recover purchase price on ground that poodle was "defective" due to an undescended testicle.  The buyer argued that the kennel had breached implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The Civil Court of the City of New York held that since the contract of sale did not exclude or modify implied warranty of merchantability, it carried with it such a warranty.  In light of this, the poodle was not a merchantable good because a poodle with an undescended testicle would not pass without objection in the trade.  Further, the kennel breached the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose since the kennel was aware that the buyer wanted a dog for breeding purposes.  This case is also significant because the court also held that a buyer's opportunity to examine the dog when purchasing it does not defeat a warranty claim.  Indeed, the type of examination would not be undertaken by a casual buyer of a male puppy.  The court allowed buyer to revoke her acceptance of the dog and receive her purchase price.

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

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

Desanctis v. Pritchard 803 A.2d 230 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2002) The trial court dismissed a couple's complaint asking the court to enforce a settlement agreement which provided for shared custody of the couple's dog.  The appellate court upheld that decision, holding that the settlement agreement was void to the extent that it attempted to award visitation or shared custody with personal property.
DeVaul v. Carvigo Inc. 526 N.Y.S.2d 483 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept.,1988)

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

Dias v. City and County of Denver 567 F.3d 1169 (C.A.10 (Colo.),2009)

The Tenth Circuit took up a challenge to Denver's breed-specific ban against pitbull dogs. The plaintiffs, former residents of Denver, contended the ban is unconstitutionally vague on its face and deprives them of substantive due process. The district court dismissed both claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) before plaintiffs presented evidence to support their claims. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the district court erred by prematurely dismissing the case at the 12(b)(6) stage. The Tenth Circuit agreed in part, finding that while the plaintiffs lack standing to seek prospective relief for either claim because they have not shown a credible threat of future prosecution, taking the factual allegations in the complaint as true the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the pit bull ban is not rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

Diehl v. Cumberland Mut. Fire Ins. Co. 686 A.2d 785 (N.J.Super.A.D.,1997)

 In this New Jersey case, the plaintiff was bitten by a dog when walking around the back of pickup and $55,000 in damages were awarded.   The issue on appeal concerned the issue of which insurance policy, auto or homeowners, should cover this type of incident. The court adopted the nexus test; the auto insurance is liable if the injury arises out of the operation of a vehicle. The Court held :   “We are satisfied that automobile liability insurance should cover this injury caused by a dog bite to the face occurring while the dog was in the open rear deck of a pickup truck because it arose out of the use of the vehicle to transport the dog. Moreover, the bite incident was facilitated by the height and open design of the deck. In our view the act was a natural and foreseeable consequence of the use of the vehicle, and there was a substantial nexus between the dog bite and the use of the vehicle at the time the dog bit the plaintiff.”

Diercks v. Wisconsin 2006 WL 3761333 (E.D. Wis. 2006)

An owner of a greyhound kennel was suspected of giving her dogs illegal steroids because an informant told the government agency this was happening. The particular steroid used was impossible to detect using urine samples, so the government agency, without a warrant, installed covert video cameras in the kennel and that way determined that the owner was injecting her dogs. The owner claimed this violated her Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights, and the court agreed; however, the agency actors were not liable because the state of the law on this issue was not clear and it was reasonable for them to think they could legally install the video surveillance system.

DILLON v. O'CONNOR 412 P.2d 126 (Wash. 1966)

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

Dillon v. Ohio Dep't of Rehab. & Correction 211 N.E.3d 746 (Ohio App. 10 Dist., 2023) Plaintiff-Appellant, Anna Dillon, a certified “senior dog handler” through a rehabilitation program for inmates in Ohio, was attacked by a dog named Roosevelt, a German Shepherd/Husky mix owned by an Ohio Reformatory for Woman (ORW) corrections officer. Dillon had previously interacted with Roosevelt without incident on multiple occasions, but in March 2018, Roosevelt attacked her, causing 16 puncture wounds. On March 19, 2018, while attempting to put on Roosevelt's leash and collar, he displayed signs of anxiety and suddenly attacked Ms. Dillon, biting her multiple times. After the incident, Roosevelt was removed from the program. In August 2018, Ms. Dillon requested records pertaining to Roosevelt but was unable to obtain his handler folder. The dog’s handler folder included the dog’s training history, breed, eating habits, type of collar, preferences, personality, demeanor, and incidents of aggression, and was retained by the handler assigned to that dog. Ms. Dillon filed a civil action against ODRC in 2020, alleging negligence and spoliation of evidence. The trial court found in favor of ODRC in a decision issued in September 2021. Ms. Dillon appealed that decision, asserting several assignments of error. In her first and second assignments of error, Ms. Dillon argues that the trial court's findings in favor of ODRC on her negligence claim were against the manifest weight of the evidence. The court evaluated whether there was sufficient evidence to support the determination that Roosevelt was not a vicious dog prior to the incident. The court referred to Ohio's statutory definition of a vicious dog, which states that it is a dog that has killed or caused serious injury to a person without provocation. The court found that none of Roosevelt's previous behaviors, such as mouthing, baring teeth, or lunging, met the definition of serious injury as defined by the statute. The trial court concludes that Ms. Dillon failed to prove that Roosevelt met either standard before the incident. The court noted that no evidence or testimony showed that Roosevelt had attacked or seriously injured anyone before March 2018 and Ms. Dillon's reliance on the case of Pickett, which dealt with a traditional negligence claim - a claim that she had abandoned in this case - was not relevant. In her second assignment of error, Ms. Dillon challenged the trial court's finding regarding the negligent keeping of Roosevelt, but since the first assignment of error has been resolved, the second assignment is also overruled. The trial court did not make any findings regarding ODRC's knowledge or negligent keeping of Roosevelt because it found him not to be a vicious dog. As to the spoliation of evidence claim, Ms. Dillon alleged that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) willfully destroyed evidence, specifically the handler folder of a dog named Roosevelt, to disrupt her case. The court outlined the elements of intentional spoliation of evidence, which include pending litigation, knowledge of litigation by the defendant, willful destruction of evidence, disruption of the plaintiff's case, and damages caused by the defendant's actions. The court found that Ms. Dillon failed to prove the willful destruction of the handler folder or that her case was disrupted by its disposal. It was determined that the inmate-secretaries involved in the program managed the handler folders, and there was no evidence that ODRC employees reviewed or accessed them. A failure to follow records retention schedules is separate from a spoliation claim. The court concluded that the plaintiff did not provide evidence to support her claim of willful destruction or disruption of her case and that the trial court's findings were supported by credible evidence. The judgment was affirmed.
Dilorenzo v. Costco Wholesale Corp. 515 F.Supp.2d 1187 (W.D.Wash.)

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

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.

Doris Day Animal League v. Veneman 315 F.3d 297 (D.C. Cir. 2003) Animal rights group brought action challenging validity of regulation exempting breeders who sell dogs from their residences from licensure under Animal Welfare Act. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, J., held that regulation was invalid, and appeal was taken. The Court of Appeals, Randolph, Circuit Judge, held that regulation was reasonable interpretation of Congressional intent.

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