Dogs: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Downey v. Pierce County 267 P.3d 445 (Wash.App. Div. 2, 2011)

Dog owner sued county challenging county's dangerous animal declaration (DAD) proceedings.  The Court of Appeals held that charging a fee to obtain an initial evidentiary review of a DAD violated owner's due process rights because it impacted owner's property and financial interests and potentially subjected her to future criminal sanctions. The court also held that the lack of an adequate evidentiary standard regarding review of DADs violated due process because the ordinance required only that the reviewing auditor determine if there was sufficient evidence to support the DAD.

Downing v. Gully, P.C. 915 S.W.2d 181 (Tex. App. 1996)

Appellant dog owners challenged the decision of the County Court at Law No. 2 of Tarrant County (Texas), which granted summary judgment in favor of appellee veterinary clinic in appellants' negligence, misrepresentation, and Deceptive Trade Practices Act claims. The court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of appellee veterinary clinic because appellee's veterinarians provided affidavits that were sufficiently factually specific, describing experience, qualifications, and a detailed account of the treatment, so that appellee negated the element of the breach of the standard of care, and because Deceptive Trade Practice Act claims did not apply to state licensed veterinarians.

Drake v. Dean 15 Cal. App. 4th 915 (Cal.App.3.Dist. 1993)

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

Dreyer v. Cyriacks 112 Cal.App. 279 (1931) Plaintiffs brought action against Defendant for damages after Defendant shot and killed Plaintiffs’ dog.   The Trial Court set aside a jury verdict granting Plaintiffs $100,000 in actual and $25,000 in punitive damages, on the ground that the verdict was excessive.   On appeal, the District Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California, affirmed the Trial Court decision, finding that the Trial Court was justified in holding that both the actual and punitive damages awards were grossly excessive, given the circumstances under which the incident occurred.   In making its decision, the Court of Appeal pointed out that, although this particular dog had been in the motion picture industry, dogs are nonetheless considered property, and as such, are to be ascertained in the same manner as other property, and not in the same manner as human life.
DuBois v. Quilitzsch 21 A.3d 375 (R. I. 2011)

After a dog injured a city inspector during an inspection of a property, the inspector sued the homeowners. Inspector alleged strict liability, premises liability, and negligence. The Supreme Court entered summary judgment for the defendants on the premises-liability and negligence claims because the inspector failed to show that homeowners had knowledge of their dog's vicious propensities. These claims were subject to the common law one-bite rule (and not strict liability) because the injuries occurred within an enclosed area on the owner’s property.

Dutka v. Cassady 2012 WL 3641635 (Not Reported in A.3d) A rescue organization had adopted out a dog. The new owners were walking the dog unleashed when it attacked another dog. The plaintiff's filed a complaint of common law negligence and recklessness, which alleged that the rescue organization should have known and should have warned them of the dangerous tendencies of the specific dog but failed to do so. Connecticut law imposed strict liability on an owner or keeper of such an animal, and the statute had not been expanded to include the seller or transferor. The issue then was whether the court should expand the scope of such a negligence claim and create a duty of care owed by transferors or sellers of dogs with known and/or unknown propensities for aggression. The court found that there was no support for expanding liability in common law negligence when the organization in this case did not own, possess, harbor or control the dog. The court declines to impose a duty on the rescue agency to inform adoptive families.
Dyess v. Caraway 190 So.2d (666 La.App., 1966)

Plaintiff claimed damages for the death of five pedigreed Norwegian Elkhound puppies resulting from the negligence of defendant, Hugh L. Caraway, a duly licensed veterinarian. Specifically, defendant allegedly failed to make proper diagnostic tests, failed to give proper treatment for coccidia from which the puppy died, although the defendant had professional knowledge that the puppy was suffering from that disease, and failed to exercise the standard of care required by the average prudent veterinarian in the community. The court first noted the difficulty in diagnosing distemper. It also found the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in applicable in the instant case, primarily for the reason that the instant case involves a question of diagnosis and treatment of a professional nature which in itself requires judgment.

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

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

Earl v. Piowaty 42 A.D.3d 865 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.) Plaintiffs' son was seriously injured when he was bitten in the face by a dog that belonged to defendant Susan Piowaty.  Plaintiffs brought action on behalf of their son against Piowaty and the animal shelter from which Piowaty had adopted the dog two weeks prior to the incident, alleging that they had constructive notice of the dog's vicious propensities because of a minor incident earlier that week.  However, this court agreed with the denial of plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment because there remains a triable issue as to the defendants' notice of the dog's vicious propensities at the time of the son's injury.
Eastep v. Veterinary Medical Examining Bd. 539 P.2d 1144 (Or.App. 1975)

Petitioner-veterinarian sought judicial review of veterinary medical examining board's denial of his application for renewal of his license to practice, and the permanent revocation of his right to practice veterinary medicine in Oregon.  The Court held that there was ample evidence ample evidence to support board's finding that petitioner was guilty of unprofessional conduct for misrepresentation to dog owner of surgical services allegedly rendered, whether the standard adopted be that of 'clear and convincing evidence,' as petitioner urges, or that of 'reliable, probative and substantial evidence' (ORS 183.480(7)(d)), as urged by respondent.

Eckhart v. Department of Agriculture 8 A.3d 401(Pa. Commw. Ct., 2010)

A dog kennel operator acquired 30 dogs while under a revised notice to cease and desist operating a kennel and from buying dogs. The Commonwealth Court affirmed fines imposed by the Department of Agriculture, holding that the fines for violation of the dog law were not excessive or unreasonable; that fines for failure to comply with conditions of the revised notice were not unconstitutionally excessive or unreasonable; and that enforcement of orders by Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement pending appeal were not staid by the doctrine of equitable estoppel.

Edmonds v. Cailloux 2006 WL 398033 (Tex.App.-San Antonio) (Not Reported in S.W.3d)

An in-home caretaker of a sick, elderly woman sued the woman, her trust, and her son after the son’s dog knocked her down causing injury. The court of appeals remanded the case because it found a genuine issue as to whether the dog had dangerous propensities and whether the son knew of the dog’s dangerous propensities to justify strict liability. The court did, however, affirm the order of summary judgment as to the negligence claim, where the son was not the caretaker’s employer and thus did not owe her a duty to exercise reasonable care.

Edwards v. Shanley 666 F.3d 1289 (C.A.11 (Fla.))

Automobile driver fled scene of a traffic stop and sustained serious injuries when he was attacked by a police dog, which was allowed to continue for 5 - 7 minutes. Plaintiff brought § 1983 action, alleging that the use of the police dog constituted excessive force, and that the other officer failed to intervene and stop the attack, both of which violated plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Court of Appeals held that the use of the police dog to help track and initially subdue the driver was constitutional, but permitting the dog to continue to attack the driver constituted excessive force.

Elisea v. State 777 N.E.2d 46 (Ind. App. 2002)

Defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals and practicing veterinary medicine without a license after cropping several puppies' ears with a pair of office scissors while under no anesthesia.  Defendant maintained that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction for cruelty to an animal because the State failed to present sufficient evidence to rebut and overcome his defense that he engaged in a reasonable and recognized act of handling the puppies. The court held that the evidence supported conviction for cruelty under the definition of "torture."  Further the evidence supported conviction for unauthorized practice where defendant engaged in a traditional veterinary surgical procedure and received remuneration for his services. 

Elliot v. Hurst 817 S.W.2d 877 (Ark., 1991)

This tort case involves appellee's suit against appellant for appellant's conversion of appellee's wolf hybrid dog named Rambo. The appellee in this case had placed an ad stating that he had a certain breed of dogs for sale. When appellant went to see the dogs, she noticed a serious leg infection. After consulting with the local prosecutor’s office and an animal organization, she returned to the owner’s home to take the dog in for treatment. The consulting veterinarian determined that the leg had to be amputated. The court held that the recovery was limited to the market value at the time prior to the amputation.

ELLIS v. OLIPHANT 141 N.W. 415 (1913)

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

Engquist v. Loyas 803 N.W.2d 400 (Minn.,2011)

After a 9-year old child was bitten by defendant's dog while at a sleepover at defendant's house, the child's mother sued the dog’s owners on child's behalf. The jury found that the plaintiff provoked the dog and the court entered a judgment in favor of defendants. The appellate court reversed on the ground that the jury instruction given by the district court misstated the meaning of provocation under the statute, and remanded for a new trial. In the instant action, the Supreme Court affirms this decision. Specifically, the jury here could have found provocation without any consideration of the victim's knowledge of the danger, and this misstatement prejudiced the defendant.

Eshleman v. Key 774 S.E.2d 96; 297 Ga. 364 (Ga., 2015) A county police officer failed to securely fasten her police dog’s portable kennel; the dog escaped as a result and attacked an 11 year old boy. The father of the boy sued the county police officer, alleging that she failed to restrain the dog. The officer moved for summary judgment on the ground of official immunity. The trial court denied her motion and the appeals court affirmed that decision. On issuing a writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court of Georgia reviewed the case. As a county police officer and dog handler, the Court stated the officer was responsible for the care and maintenance of the dog at all times, even when she was not working. For that reason, the allegation that she failed to secure the dog outside her home concerned her performance of an official function and was presumptively entitled to official immunity—with two exceptions to that presumption. Since the father had not contended that the officer acted with malice or with intent to injure anyone, the issue was whether the officer acted with negligence in the performance of a ministerial function. Since the county had not given the officer specific directions about the extent to which the dog should be restrained and since a generalized duty of care stated in a state statute and county ordinance was not enough to amount to a ministerial duty, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision.
Estis v. Mills --- So.3d ----, 2019 WL 3807048 (La. App. 2 Cir. August 14, 2019) On September 11, 2017, Plaintiffs, Catherine Estis, Samuel Estis, and Thuy Estis brought this action against the Defendants, Clifton and Kimberly Mills, seeking damages for the shooting of the Plaintiff’s ten-month-old German Shepherd puppy, Bella. The Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants shot Bella, did not disclose to them that Bella had been shot, and dumped her body over ten miles away. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The Defendants argued that they fell within the immunity afforded by a Louisiana statute that gives immunity to anyone who kills a dog that is not on the property of the owner and is harassing, wounding, or killing livestock. The Defendants alleged that Bella, the puppy, was harassing their horses. The Plaintiffs argued that the immunity afforded by the statute needed to be affirmatively pled by the Defendants and that the Defendants waived such immunity by failing to assert the affirmative defense in their original answer or any subsequent pleading. The Plaintiffs further argued that the motion for summary judgment would not have been granted if it were not for the immunity protections. The Court ultimately held that the Defendants failed to affirmatively plead the immunity statute and, therefore, it reversed and remanded the case to the lower court.
Estis v. Mills 318 So. 3d 449 (La. App. 2 Cir. 4/14/21) The Estis' sued the Mills for the wrongful killing and disposal of the Appellants’ German Shepherd. On appeal, the Appellants argue that the district court erred in permitting the Appellees to amend their original answer to now include an affirmative defense of immunity pursuant to La. R.S. 3:2654, which would relieve the Appellees of liability. Further, the Appellants contend that the district court erred in granting the Appellees’ motion for summary judgment, asserting that there remain genuine issues of material fact, and notwithstanding liability for the death of the dog, the court erred in dismissing the Appellees’ claim for conversion. The parties were neighbors whose property was separated by an enclosed pasture where the Mills used to keep horses. Despite requests from Mills, the Estis' dogs would enter the pasture and harass the horses. In 2017, Mills discovered the dog yet again in the pasture with the horses, so Mr. Mills shot, killed, and disposed of the dog. Subsequently, the Estis family filed suit seeking damages for the intentional killing of the dog and disposing of the dog in a bayou approximately ten miles away. The lower court granted a motion in favor of the Mills agreeing that they had immunity from suit under La. R.S. 3:2654.1. On appeal to this court, the Estises argue that the Mills waived the immunity under the statute because they failed to affirmatively plead the defense in their answer to the pleadings. This court found that immunity had not been affirmative pled as required by statute. Consequently, the Mills received permission to amend their answer and plead the immunity provision. Following granting of the Mills' second motion for summary judgment based on the immunity statute, the Estises appeal that decision. As to Estis' argument that leave to amend the answer was erroneously granted, this court first noted that determination whether to allow pleadings to be amended is discretionary and will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion. The court found no evidence that there was bad faith in the decision to the amend the pleadings like delay. Further, there was no demonstration of prejudice from the granting of an amended answer. As to Estis' claim that summary judgment was erroneously granted, the court discussed a photograph that was submitted in evidence support showing a horse grazing with its back presented "indifferently" to the dog. The Mills countered with the evidence of an independent eyewitness to the incident who asserted that the dog harassed the horses. The court noted that issues of the credibility of evidence have no place in a summary judgment appeal. As a result, this court found that the lower court judge's statements that, in effect, weighed the credibility of the photograph versus the testimony of the witness were inappropriate. Thus, the lower court erred in granting the motion for summary judgment. Finally, the court evaluated Estis' conversion claims for the disposal of the dog's dead body. This court said that, [i]f the court finds that the killing of the dog falls under La. R.S. 3:2654, then the claim for conversion of the dog's body does not survive. However, if there were personal items on the dog at the time of the killing, such as a tracking collar or items of other value, then a conversion claim can be made for those items. If the court determines that the immunity statute does not apply, then the claim for conversion and any other applicable damages may apply." Thus, the trial court's judgment to allow the motion to amend the pleadings was affirmed, the granting of the summary judgment was reversed, and the dismissal of Estis' claims for conversion was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
Evans v. Craig 807 N.Y.S.2d 417 (2006)

A postal worker brought an action against dog owners to recover for injuries allegedly sustained when dog jumped on her while she was delivering mail to the owners' home. In affirming the denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the court found that there factual issues as to whether the owners were aware of the potential danger from the dog and whether they took reasonable measures to prevent the dog from jumping on the plaintiff.

F. c/ Sieli Ricci, Mauricio Rafael s/ maltrato y crueldad animal FUNDAMENTOS DE SENTENCIA Nº1927 "Poli" was a mutt dog that was tied to the bumper of a car by the defendant and dragged at high speed for several miles. Poli sustained severe injuries as a result of being dragged by the car. After the incident, the defendant untied her and left on the road to die. The defendant was found guilty of the crime of animal cruelty, under "ley 14.346." the judge held that this law "protects animals as subjects of rights, and the defendant's conduct was not against an object or a "thing," but rather against a subject deserving of protection." The defendant was sentenced to 6 months of suspended imprisonment for the crime of "animal mistreatment and cruelty." In addition, the judge ordered the defendant to provide food weekly for the animals in A.M.P.A.R.A (The ONG that filed the police report), with the purpose of giving the defendant the opportunity to learn firsthand that “all animals in general, and dogs, in particular, are sentient beings, that have feelings, suffer, cry, and that their right to live, freedom, and integrity has to be respected…” this, with the purpose to prevent the defendant from committing animal cruelty crimes in the future.
Fair Housing of the Dakotas, Inc. v. Goldmark Property Management, Inc. 78 F.Supp.2d 1028 (D.N.D. 2011) Plaintiffs bring this action against Goldmark Property Management alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The alleged discriminatory policy is a mandatory application fee, non-refundable deposit, and monthly charge that Goldmark imposes on tenants with disabilities who reside with a non-specially trained assistance animal (i.e. a companion pet). These same fees are waived for tenants with disabilities who reside with a trained assistance animal (i.e. a seeing eye dog). The FHA encompasses all types of assistance animals regardless of training; therefore, Goldmark's policy implicates the FHA. Further, Plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a prima face case of discrimination and have presented sufficient evidence to create genuine issues for trial on the questions of the necessity and reasonableness of the requested accommodation and whether Goldmark's alleged objective for the policy is permissible under the FHA and not pretextual. Therefore, Goldmark's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. It is granted as to Plaintiffs' claim of disparate treatment because no proof was offered of a discriminatory intent. It is denied as to Plaintiffs' claims of disparate impact and failure to make a reasonable accommodation.
Fandrey v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company 80 N.W.2d 345 (Wis. 2004)

Dog bite victim sued homeowners insurer.  Held:  courts may factor traditional public policy to bar a claim under the dog bite statute, and in this case, public policy precludes imposing liability on homeowners even though the dog bite statute appears to impose strict liability.

Faraci v. Urban 101 A.D.3d 1753 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.)

In this New York case, the plaintiff sought damages for injuries his son sustained after the child was bitten by a dog in a house owned by defendant Urban, but occupied by Defendant Buil (the dog's owner). Defendant Urban appeals an order denying her motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Defendant Urban failed to demonstrate as a matter of law that the dog did not have vicious tendencies because defendant's own submissions showed that the dog had previously growled at people coming to the door. However, summary judgment was appropriate here because the evidence failed to show that defendant knew or should have known of the dog's alleged vicious propensities.

Farrior v. Payton 562 P.2d 779 (Hawaii, 1977)

This Hawaii case involves a suit against owners of dog to recover for injuries sustained when the plaintiffs, in an attempt to avoid what was believed to be an imminent attack by dog, fell off a natural rock wall.  Defendants' property abutted this rock wall and defendants considered those people who used the rock wall "trespassers."  After defendant's motion for a directed verdict were granted, the plaintiffs appealed.  On appeal, the Supreme Court observed that, in an action against an owner or harborer of a dog for injury inflicted by such animal, defendant's scienter (i. e. actual or constructive knowledge) of the vicious or dangerous propensities of the dog is (except where removed by statute) an essential element of the cause of action and a necessary prerequisite to recovery.  The evidence in the record established the fact that the Payton family not only knew of their dog's propensity to run and bark at strangers utilizing the 'short-cut' via the human-made seawall and the natural rock wall, but also expected such activity from their German shepherd dog.  Indeed, it was predictable that Mrs. Farrior would become frightened and would retreat to a precarious position.

Felgemacher v. Rugg 814 N.Y.S.2d 452 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2006)

In this New York case, the plaintiff sued to recover damages for injuries he sustained when defendant's dog jumped onto his back and knocked him to the ground at defendant's service station. The court found that the lower court properly denied that part of defendant's motion for summary judgment for strict liability in harboring a vicious animal. Here, defendant failed to meet her initial burden on the motion with respect to strict liability because she failed to establish as a matter of law that the dog had no vicious propensities where she submitted the deposition testimony that the dog was chained at the place of business to prevent the dog from “jumping on cars. . .”

Ferguson v. Birchmount Boarding Kennels Ltd. 2006 CarswellOnt 399

In August 2002, plaintiffs’ dog escaped while being exercised at defendant-kennel’s boarding facility. Birchmount appeals from the judgment claiming the court applied the wrong standard of care, and that the court erred in law in awarding the plaintiffs damages for pain and suffering. The reviewing court found that the evidence would likely have led to the same conclusion regardless of whether a “bailment” standard was used. Further, this court was satisfied that the trial judge did not err in law or in fact in making findings and in awarding general damages where there was evidence that the plaintiffs experienced pain and suffering upon learning of the dog’s escape.

Fisher v. Liptak 1996CarswellAlta33

Two pet llamas owned by the plaintiff Fisher were attacked on two separate occasions by dogs, including by a dog owned by the defendant Liptak, causing the death of one llama and, two weeks later, injury to the second llama. After the first attack, Liptak's dog returned covered with saliva and blood, although it had no bleeding wounds; he suspected the dog had been in a fight or attack but did not investigate. His dog was later discovered injuring the second llama. The court ruled that Liptak's finding indications of  the first attack put him on notice that the dog had a 'vicious or mischievous propensity to attack other animals,' sufficient to make him strictly liable under the doctrine of scienter, for the second llama's injuries, but not for the first, for which Liptak lacked the requisite knowledge. Similarly, Liptak was not liable in negligence in the first attack, since in that rural area all the local owners let their dogs run at large and Liptak had no prior reason to suspect his dog would attack; the judge did not discuss whether Liptak was liable in negligence for the second attack.

Fitch v. Eiseman 2000 WL 34545801 (Alaska 2000) (unpublished opinion) The trial court approved a divorcing couple’s agreement for dogs to be with their children (and so travel to the husband's and wife’s houses as part of a shared custody agreement of their children).  The wife did not abide by the agreement, so the Supreme Court remanded back to the trial court to determine sole ownership of the dog.
Fitzgerald v. Varney 80 N.Y.S.3d 899 (N.Y. County Ct. July, 18, 2018) Defendant-Respondents appeal a judgment by the Town of Stony Creek Justice Court declaring their dog to be a "dangerous dog" and ordering euthanasia. On December 30, 2017, defendants’ dog bit their 12-year-old grandson on the upper lip. The child and defendants’ dog were side-by-side on a couch when the child reached over toward the dog. The dog unexpectedly jumped up and bit the child on the left side of the mouth. The child received emergency care and was eventually given injections and stitches to close the wound. Testimony revealed that pain only last the first day after the incident and the stiches dissolved within ten days. The dangerous dog was action was commenced by James Fitzgerald, Sr. who was the dog control officer for the town of Stony Creek, and was completed a few months after the incident. At the close of the hearing, the trial judge found by clear and convincing evidence that the dog was dangerous and caused "serious physical injury." This resulted in the court ordering that the dog be "killed" within 30 days absent any appeal. Here, the defendants do not challenge the dangerous dog determination, but instead challenge the euthanasia order based on a finding of "serious physical injury." Under Agriculture and Markets Law § 108(29), "serious physical injury" means "serious or protracted disfigurement." The court examined two different definitions for "serious physical injury" in the Agriculture and Markets Law and the Penal code as well as relevant cases exploring the nature of a “protracted” injury. Here, this court found the evidence at trial did not show the size of the wound or the number of sutures, nor was there evidence scar was distressing to the victim or any person observing him. As such, there was insufficient evidence to show the injury was of a "protracted" nature. Therefore, the court modified the judgment by reversing the finding of aggravated circumstances and the order for humane euthanasia of the dog. The owners are now required to keep the dog held in leash by an adult 21-years old or older and maintain liability insurance of $50,000 - 100,000.
Fleet v District Court of New South Wales [1999] NSWCA 363

The appellant's dog was removed by police officers and later euthanised. The dog was emaciated and suffering from numerous ailments. The appellant was charged and convicted with an animal cruelty offence and failure to state his name and address when asked. On appeal, it was found that the court had failed to address the elements of the animal cruelty offence and that the charge of failing to state name and address could not stand.

Flint v. City of Milwaukee 552 F.Supp.2d 826 (E.D. Wis. 2008) In 2010, police obtained a warrant to search plaintiff’s residence for endangered species. While at the plaintiff’s residence, police shot and killed two Tibetan Mastiffs. Plaintiff was arrested and detained by police in an on the scene determination that she had violated Wisconsin's endangered species and mistreatment of animals law. These charges were later dropped. Plaintiff filed a section 1983 suit—asserting that defendants not only unlawfully searched her residence, seized and "slaughter[ed] ... her dogs," but that they also unlawfully detained her in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. After District Court denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on her unlawful detention claim, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration. District Court denied plaintiff's motion for reconsideration because she had not cited any intervening change in the law, any erroneous application of the law, or any newly discovered evidence that would compel the Court to reconsider its decision. Additionally, the District Court found the court had reviewed the unlawful detention claim using the proper legal standard.
Flint v. Holbrook 608 N.E.2d 809 (Ohio App. 2 Dist.,1992)

In this Ohio case, Lorraine Flint was bitten by a pit bull dog owned by Carl Holbrook (Flint was bitten and injured by Holbrook's dog in the alley between her residence and Holbrook's).  Flint then brought suit against Holbrook and Turner Patterson, as the titled owner of the premises where the dog was kept.  Patterson was essentially selling the property to Holbrook on land contract.  In this case, the court held it was evident that the land contract agreement effectively transferred the ownership and equitable title to the property to Holbrook.  Holbrook had exclusive possession and control of the premises upon which he kept his pit bull.  While Patterson maintained the bare legal title as security for his debt, he exercised no control over the property; no clause affording him possession or control of the property was included in the land contract agreement.

Folkers v. City of Waterloo, Iowa 582 F.Supp.2d 1141 (N.D.Iowa,2008)

Plaintiff brought civil rights action against the City of Waterloo, Iowa (City) alleging procedural and substantive due process violations after Animal Control Officers seized Plaintiff’s dog and detained the dog for one hundred days while an appeal was pending.   On Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment, the United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division, found that the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause did not apply to Plaintiff’s claim, the Animal Control Officers were acting under color of state law, and that the one hundred day detention of Plaintiff’s dog was a meaningful interference with Plaintiff’s possessory interest in his dog.   The Court also found that Plaintiff’s right to procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment was satisfied by the post-deprivation hearing provided Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s claim that the decision to detain Plaintiff’s dog was unreasonable or arbitrary, implicated the “unreasonable seizure” provisions of the Fourth Amendment, rather than the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that even if the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment were otherwise applicable, Plaintiff would not have been entitled to relief under the substantive due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Ford v. Com. 630 S.E.2d 332 (Va. 2006)

In this Virginia case, the defendant was convicted of maliciously shooting a companion animal of another “with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill,” contrary to Va. Code § 18.2-144, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The Court held that the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions, where the defendant admitted he drove the vehicle witnesses saw by the barn where the dog was shot and one witness saw him shoot toward the barn. 

Francis v. City of Indianapolis 958 N.E.2d 816 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011, table, unpublished) A dog rescue organization was cited with a violation of the city code for having a dog at large. One rescue dog escaped and lunged at a neighbor. Francis argued that the trial court erred in applying strict liability, challenged the sufficiency of the evidence, and challenged the constitutionality of the municipal ordinance. The trial court also found that a violation of the ordinance also imposed restrictions on Francis; she could no longer operate the animal rescue shelter and could only own or keep two dogs. The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.
Franciscus v. Sevdik 2016 PA Super 52 (Feb. 29, 2016) Five-year-old Femina asked the dog walker, Ms. Dailey, if she could pet Julius, the pit bull. When she bent over to do so, the dog jumped up and bit her on the chin. The Plaintiffs, Mr. and Mrs. Franciscus commenced this negligence action to recover damages for injuries sustained by their daughter, Femina. They filed the action against Mr. Sevdik, the owner of the dog, Ms. Dailey, the dog walker, and Mr. Steigerwald, the individual owner and operator of Fetch Pet Care of West Hills/South Hills. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania held that summary judgment granted by the trial court in favor of Ms. Dailey and Fetch Pet Care was improper. The Court reasoned that the dog was entrusted to these Defendants by Mr. Sevdik and the dog was in their control when the injury occurred. Since the Defendants knew the dog jumped on people, was to be muzzled when walked, and was not to be walked along routes where there were people, specifically children and other dogs, they had a duty to use reasonable care to protect others from harm while the dog was in their control. While the court stated it did not need to reach the issue of whether the trial court erred in refusing refusing to take judicial notice of dangerous propensities of pit bulls, it noted that Pennsylvania law does not recognize a presumption that pit bulls as a breed are dangerous or have dangerous propensities. The order was vacated and the case was remanded.
Frank v. Animal Haven, Inc. 107 A.D.3d 574 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.,2013.)

Plaintiff was bitten by the dog that she adopted from Animal Haven, Inc. and sued that entity for personal injuries stemming from the bite. In affirming the decision to dismiss the complaint, this court noted that the adopting parties signed a contract a the time of adoption where they undertook a "lifetime commitment" for the responsible care of the dog. While the contract stipulated that Animal Haven had the right to have the dog returned if the plaintiff breached the contract, this did not reserve a right of ownership of the dog. Further, the contract also explicitly relieved Animal Haven of liability once the dog was in the possession of the adoptive parties.

Free v. Jordan 10 S.W.2d 19 (Ark. 1928)

In a replevin action to recover possession of a lost dog from its finder, the court reversed and remanded the case so a jury could determine whether the statute of limitations was tolled due to the defendant's alleged fraudulent concealment of his possession of the dog.

Friesen v. Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 2008 CarswellSask 438

An animal protection officer received a complaint that two dogs were not receiving proper care. Officer Barry Thiessen, an animal protection officer employed by the S.S.P.C.A., observed that dogs appeared malnourished and in distress from lack of food and water. Upon returning the next day, Thiessen determined that the conditions were unchanged and the dogs were then seized pursuant to the warrant. The appellant dog owner brought an application for declaration that the officer seized dogs in contravention of an owner's rights under s. 8 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and in excess of officer's authority. In dismissing his application, the court found that the warrant was lawfully obtained pursuant to provisions of the Animal Protection Act, 1999. The officer had a legitimate reason to come to property of the dog owner to investigate after he received a complaint, and it was there that he saw the dogs’ condition in "plain view" according to the court.

Frost v. City of Sioux City, Iowa Slip Copy, 2017 WL 4126986 (N.D. Iowa, 2017) In this case, the City of Sioux City had adopted a local ordinance that made it "unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport or sell within the City ... any pit bull." The ordinance goes on further to define pit bulls based on appearance and certain listed characteristics. Plaintiffs alleged that the ordinance is unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because it: (1) is unconstitutionally vague; (2) violates their rights under the equal protection clause; and (3) violates their rights under the due process clause, both in substance and procedure. Here, the district court found that the due process and equal protection claims survived the defendant's motion to dismiss, but found that the ordinance was not facially unconstitutionally vague. As a result, defendants' Motion to Dismiss was DENIED in part and GRANTED in part. Plaintiffs' claim that the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague was DISMISSED, and plaintiffs may proceed with their remaining equal protection clause and due process clause claims.
Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools 137 S.Ct. 743 (U.S., 2017)

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

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

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

Futch v. State 314 Ga.App. 294 (2012)

Defendant appealed conviction of cruelty to animals for shooting and killing a neighbor's dog. The Court of Appeals held that the restitution award of $3,000 was warranted even though the owner only paid $750 for the dog. The dog had been trained to hunt and retrieve, and an expert testified that such a dog had a fair market value between $3,000 and $5,000.

Galgano v. Town of North Hempstead 41 A.D.3d 536 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2007)

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

Galindo v. State --- S.W.3d ----, 2018 WL 4128054 (Tex. App. Aug. 30, 2018) Appellant Galindo pleaded guilty to cruelty to nonlivestock animals and a deadly-weapon allegation from the indictment. The trial court accepted his plea, found him guilty, and sentenced him to five years in prison. The facts stem from an incident where Galindo grabbed and then stabbed a dog with a kitchen knife. The indictment indicated that Galindo also used and exhibited a deadly weapon (a knife) during both the commission of the offense and flight from the offense. On appeal, Galindo argues that the deadly-weapon finding is legally insufficient because the weapon was used against a "nonhuman." Appellant relies on the recent decision of Prichard v. State, 533 S.W.3d 315 (Tex. Crim. App. 2017), in which the Texas Court of Appeals held that a deadly-weapon finding is legally insufficient where the sole recipient of the use or exhibition of the deadly weapon is a nonhuman. The court here found the facts distinguishable from Prichard. The court noted that Prichard left open the possibility that a deadly-weapons finding could occur when the weapon was used or exhibited against a human during the commission of an offense against an animal. Here, the evidence introduced at defendant's guilty plea and testimony from sentencing and in the PSIR are sufficient to support the trial court's finding on the deadly-weapons plea (e.g., the PSI and defense counsel stated that Galindo first threatened his girlfriend with the knife and then cut the animal in front of his girlfriend and her son). The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.
Garcia v. Village of Tijeras 767 P.2d 355 (1988)

Plaintiffs appeal from a judgment upholding the constitutionality of an ordinance of the Village of Tijeras, New Mexico banning the ownership or possession of a breed of dog “known as American Pit Bull Terrier.” The District Court of Bernalillo County upheld the ordinance and plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals found that plaintiffs had notice that the ordinance proscribes the conduct in which they were engaged; thus, it was not void for vagueness. With regard to the argument that the ordinance violated substantive due process, the court found that ordinance was rationally related to legitimate village purpose of protecting the health and safety of the community. Finally, the court found that the ordinance did not violate procedural due process where the ordinance provides that a hearing is held after impoundment to determine whether the dog is a pit bull.

Garza v. State 2007 Tex. App. LEXIS 8953 Carrollton, Texas municipal code prohibited the keeping of more than three pets on property within the city limits. Yvette Garza, a member of an animal rescue organization, challenged the determination that she had violated the city code by keeping more than three dogs. She argued that the code was unconstitutionally vague and that her actions were necessary. The court held that although the term "keep" was not defined in the statute, a person of ordinary intelligence would understand the law because "keep" has a common sense meaning. Garza also failed to produce evidence proving when the scheduled euthanasia of the dogs was going to occur, she therefore failed to establish the elements of her necessity defense.
Gerofsky v. Passaic County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 870 A.2d 704 (N.J. 2005)

The President of the New Jersey SPCA brought an action to have several county SPCA certificates of authority revoked.  The county SPCAs brought a counterclaim alleging the revocation was beyond the state SPCA's statutory authority.  The trial court revoked one county's certificate of authority, but the Court of Appeals held the revocation was an abuse of discretion.

Pages