Dogs: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Hearn v. City of Overland Park 772 P.2d 758 (Kan. 1989)

Syllabus by the Court

In an action to enjoin the City of Overland Park from enforcing an ordinance regulating the ownership of pit bull dogs within the city, the record is examined and it is held: (1) The ordinance is not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad; (2) the ordinance does not violate the due process rights of plaintiffs under the United States and Kansas Constitutions; (3) the ordinance does not violate the equal protection clauses of the United States and Kansas Constitutions; and (4) the district court did not err in dismissing the plaintiffs' claim for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982).

Hebert v. Broussard 886 So.2d 666 (La.App. 3 Cir., 2004)

A dog that chased and pinned a man was shot by a police officer who had been called for assistance.  The dog owner instituted an action against the police officer, the police chief and the city.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the police officer, police chief and city, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision holding the police officer was entitled to statutory immunity.

Heiligmann v. Rose 16 S.W. 931 (Tex.,1891)

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

Hitchcock v. Conklin 669 N.E.2d 563 (Ohio Ct. App. 1995)

Appellant dog owners sought review of the decision from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (Ohio), which granted the motion to dismiss filed by appellee veterinarian on the basis that the breach of contract and negligence action filed against the veterinarian was barred by the one-year statute of limitations on malpractice claims under Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.11(A). On appeal, the court reversed and held that § 2305.11(A) applied only to physicians, attorneys, and other professional specifically delineated in the statute, not veterinarians. The court reversed the dismissal of the owners' breach of contract and negligence action filed against the veterinarian and remanded for further proceedings.

Hodge v. State Hodge v. State, 79 Tenn. 528 (1883).

The indictment charged that the defendant unlawfully and needlessly mutilated a dog by setting a steel-trap in a bucket of slop and catching the dog by the tongue, and that great pain and torture were unlawfully and needlessly inflicted upon the dog. Defendant argued that a dog had been invading his property and destroying hens' nests for a long time. Witnesses testified that the dog had a bad character for prowling about through the neighborhood at night. The court reversed and remanded for a new trial, finding that defendant had a right to protect his premises against such invasions, and to adopt such means as were necessary for that purpose. There was no evidence that the slop used by defendant was such as was calculated or likely to lure dogs away from the premises where they belonged on to his premises or within his enclosures. If the dog was in the habit of committing the depredations, defendant had a right to set a steel-trap for the purpose of capturing him, and if, while committing the nightly depredations the dog was thus caught and mutilated, it was not needless torture or mutilation within the meaning of the Act, and the jury should have been so instructed. The indictment charged that the defendant unlawfully and needlessly mutilated a dog by setting a steel-trap in a bucket of slop and catching the dog by the tongue, and that great pain and torture were unlawfully and needlessly inflicted upon the dog. Defendant argued that a dog had been invading his property and destroying hens' nests for a long time. Witnesses testified that the dog had a bad character for prowling about through the neighborhood at night. The court reversed and remanded for a new trial, finding that defendant had a right to protect his premises against such invasions, and to adopt such means as were necessary for that purpose. There was no evidence that the slop used by defendant was such as was calculated or likely to lure dogs away from the premises where they belonged on to his premises or within his enclosures. If the dog was in the habit of committing the depredations, defendant had a right to set a steel-trap for the purpose of capturing him, and if, while committing the nightly depredations the dog was thus caught and mutilated, it was not needless torture or mutilation within the meaning of the Act, and the jury should have been so instructed. The court reversed defendant's conviction for cruelty to animals and granted a new trial.

Hoesch v. Broward County 53 So.3d 1177 (Fla.App. 4 Dist., 2011)

A Broward County, Florida ordinance defines a dangerous dog as “any dog that . . . [h]as killed or caused the death of a domestic animal in one incident.” Plaintiff Brian Hoesch’s dog escaped from Hoesch’s backyard and attacked and killed a neighbor’s cat. Prior to this incident, the dog had never been declared “dangerous” by any governmental authority. Hoesch requested a hearing after Broward’s animal control division notified Hoesch of its intent to destroy his dog. After a judgment in favor of Broward County, Hoesch contends that both county ordinances conflict with state law, section 767.11(1)(b), which defines a “dangerous dog” as any dog that “[h]as more than once severely injured or killed a domestic animal . . . .” The District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District, concluded “that Broward County ordinance sections 4-2(k)(2) and 4-12(j)(2) are null and void insofar as they conflict with state law.” 

Holcomb v. City and County of Denver 606 P.2d 858 (Colo., 1980)

In this Colorado case, the defendant was convicted in the county court of keeping dogs in a residential zone in violation of zoning ordinance.  The question before the court was whether section 2-3(3)(a) provides ascertainable standards which can be constitutionally enforced by the zoning administrator.  The court held that the ordinance is sufficiently specific to pass constitutional muster.  The Court also held that the zoning ordinance relating to accessory uses allowed in residential zones provided sufficient guidelines for it to be constitutionally enforced by the zoning administrator and that the municipality had not delegated to the zoning administrator the authority to determine by regulation the number of dogs which may be kept in a residential zone as an accessory use. 

Holcomb v. Colonial Associates, L.L.C. 2004 WL 1416659, 2004 WL 1416659 (N.C.) (Only Westlaw cite available)

This North Carolina case involves the issue of whether a landlord can be held liable for negligence when his tenant's dogs injure a third party where a landlord has agreed by contract to remove "undesirable" dogs.  Under the terms of the lease, the tenant, Olson, could keep one Rottweiler dog on the property.  It was also stipulated that the landlord could require removal of any "undesirable" pets with 48-hour's notice.  The dogs in the instant action attacked a contractor who was making an estimate on some of the rental homes, and, according to testimony, had committed two prior attacks.  The court concluded that the Court of Appeals erred, in that the plaintiff was not required to show Colonial was an owner or keeper of the dogs in order to show Colonial was negligent; that requirement is limited only to strict liability actions.  As a result, the court found Colonial failed to use ordinary care by failing to require the defendant Olson to restrain his Rottweiler dogs, or remove them from the premises when the defendant knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known, from the dogs' past conduct, that they were likely, if not restrained, to do an act from which a reasonable person could foresee.  Of particular importance to the court, was the lease provision, which the court felt contractually obligated the landlord to retain control over defendant's dogs. 

Holland v Crisafulli [1998] QSC 199

A dog, on two separate occasions, entered residential premises, turned over a cage and killed a guinea pig. The applicant claimed that this was insufficient evidence for the dog to be declared 'dangerous'. The judge found that a dog's propensity to pursue one animal should not be distinguished from a propensity to pursue all animals and that the finding of the dog as 'dangerous' should stand.

Holt v. City of Sauk Rapids 559 N.W.2d 444 Sauk Rapids, Minnesota passed a city ordinance limiting the number of dogs that could be kept in a residential home. The appellants were dog owners, breeders, and Ms. Holt, who also rescued Newfoundland dogs help find new homes for them. The lower court held that the ordinances were unconstitutional, but the city appealed and on appeal the court reversed the finding. Minnesota law granted the municipality the authority to regulate public and private property, including regulating the keeping of dogs on residential property. City Hall received many complaints concerning dogs, so the Sauk Rapids ordinance was introduced by the mayor to address issues with dog odor and noise. Because limiting the number of dogs can reduce odor and noise, the court found that there was a rational relationship between the ordinance and reducing the problems associated with the dogs. The dog owners failed to show that the ordinance was unreasonable. The constitutionality was upheld because the ordinance was rationally related to the health, safety, and general welfare of the community as affected by dogs.
Hood River County v. Mazzara 89 P.3d1195 (Or. 2004)

In this Oregon case, the defendant appealed a conviction for violating Hood River County Ordinances (HRCO) under which the owner of a dog may not allow it "to become a public nuisance * * * " by "[d]isturb[ing] any person by frequent or prolonged noises[.]" (Her dog was reported to have barked for six straight hours.)  The defendant argued that the ordinances are invalid as applied to her because ORS 30.935 immunizes farm practices from the application of local government ordinances.  The defendant operated a farm with a herd of 60 cashmere and angora goats on land that bordered a national forest and used her dogs to keep predators at bay.  The Court of Appeals noted that once defendant raised the defense of the right to farm practice, the county had the burden of disproving it, which it failed to do.  Further, the trial court erred by disregarding uncontested facts that established defendant's immunity.

Horton v. State Horton v. State, 27 So. 468 (Ala. 1900).

The defendant was charged under the Alabama cruelty to animal statute killing a dog.  The trial court found the defendant guilty of cruelly killing the dog.  The defendant appealed the descision to the Supreme Court for the determination if the killing of the dog with a rifle was cruel.  The Supreme Court found that the killing of a dog without the showing of cruelty to the animal was not a punishable offence under the cruelty to animal statute.  The Supreme Court reversed the lower court's descision and remanded it.

Horton v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture 559 Fed.Appx. 527 (6th Cir. 2014) Petitioner sold dogs and puppies without an Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) dealer license. An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found the Petitioner violated the AWA and issued a cease and desist order to prevent further violations of the Act and ordered Petitioner to pay $14,430 in civil penalties. Both Petitioner and Respondent, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”), appealed the ALJ's decision to a judicial officer (“JO”), acting for the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, who increased the civil penalties amount from $14,430 to $191,200. Petitioner appealed this decision, alleging that (1) the ALJ and JO erred by failing to determine the willfulness of his actions, and (2) the JO improperly applied the Department's criteria for assessing civil penalties. The 6th Circuit found that since the AWA did not contain a willfulness requirement, the JO's failure to make a willfulness determination was not an abuse of discretion. Further, the 6th Circuit held that the JO's factual findings regarding Petitioner's dog sales were supported by substantial evidence. Lastly, the 6th Circuit held the size of the civil penalty assessed against Petitioner was warranted by law. The court denied the petition for review and affirmed the Secretary's Decision and Order.
Howle v. Aqua Illinois, Inc. 2012 IL App (4th) 120207 (Ill.App. 4 Dist.) As the result of a dog bite on the defendant’s rental property, the plaintiff suffered a torn cheek and irreparable damage to her ear. The plaintiff therefore attempted to recover damages from the defendant on the common law theory of negligence and through Illinois’ Animal Control Act. The trial court, however, dismissed the Animal Control Act claim and, later, granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the negligence claim. Upon appeal, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision, though it stated a motion for summary judgment was more appropriate then the motion to dismiss for the Animal Control Act claim.   
Huff v. Dyer 297 Ga.App. 761, 678 S.E.2d 206 (Ga.App.,2009)

In this Georgia case, the plaintiff was injured from being bitten by defendants' dog who was chained to the bed of their pickup truck while the defendants were inside an adjacent restaurant. The plaintiff sued defendants, claiming that they failed to warn her of their dog's dangerous propensities and that they committed negligence per se by violating the state's strict liability statute (OCGA § 51-2-7) and the Hall County Animal Control Ordinance. A jury found in favor of the defendants. The court found that the evidence was therefore more than sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that defendants' dog was “under restraint” for purposes of the ordinance. Further, there was no evidence that the owners had knowledge of the dog's vicious propensity. Affirmed.

Humane Society-Western Region v. Snohomish County 2007 WL 2404619 (W.D. Wash)

Plaintiff Humane Society Western Region (d/b/a "Happy Paws Farm") filed this lawsuit against Snohomish County alleging provisions of the county code regulating barking are unconstitutionally vague in violation of the state and federal constitutions, and that the SCC provision governing the temporary housing of animals in shelters violates its federal constitutional right to substantive due process. Plaintiff argued that the noise ordinances invite subjective evaluation resulting in arbitrary enforcement because the code contains no reference to identifiable levels of noise, only to noises that are repetitive.  The absence of identifiable levels of noise, or decibel levels, does not render the noise ordinances unconstitutionally vague. Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that this method is not easily understood by individuals of ordinary intelligence or that it fails to protect against arbitrary enforcement. This opinion was Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part by Humane Society Western Region v. Snohomish County, 357 Fed.Appx. 144 (9th Cir., 2009).

Hurd v. State 988 A.2d 1143 (Md. App., 2010)

 In this Maryland case, Defendant appealed his convictions for two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and two counts of malicious destruction of property valued under $500 relating to the fatal shooting of two of his neighbor's (Randolph's) dogs. On appeal, Defendant maintains the language of the former text of 10-416(b)(3), a section of the Natural Resources Code dealing with deer hunting, renders the shooting justifiable. The Court found that Section 10-416(b)(3) is ambiguous; as such, based on the rule of lenity, the Court construed section 10-416(b)(3), with one exception, as giving persons in Washington County (prior to the 2009 amendment) a right to kill a dog pursing a deer whether or not the dog was being used for purposes of deer hunting. However, the Court found that Section 10-416 of the Natural Resources Article gave Defendant no privilege to kill a dog pursuing a turkey.

Hyatt v. Anoka Police Department 691 N.W.2d 824 (Minn. 2005)

Plaintiff was injured by a police dog during the arrest of her husband.  Plaintiff sued under a Minnesota Statute requiring strict liability for dog injuries.  The trial court held the statute applied to police dogs, the Court of Appeals reversed, and the Supreme Court ultimately held the statute does apply to police dogs.

Hyland v. Borras 719 A.2d 662 (N.J.Super.A.D., 1998)

Plaintiff Heather Hyland brought this action for damages after defendants' dog, an American bulldog, trespassed onto plaintiff's property and attacked her ten year old shih tzu, causing serious injuries to the dog.  Defendants appeal the award of "repair costs" ($2,500) in excess of the dog's market value or "replacement cost" ($500).  In upholding the award, the court distinguished companion animals from other personal property, finding that market value fails to take into account the owner's relationship to the animal. 

In re Capers' Estate 34 Pa. D. & C.2d 121 (Pa.Orph.) (1964)

In this Pennsylvania case, the testatrix directed in her will that her Irish setter dogs to be destroyed in a humane manner. The executors were unsure of what action to take and sought declaratory relief. In attempting to construe the testatrix's intent, the court found that she "evidently feared that either they would grieve for her or that no one would afford them the same affection and kindness that they received during her life." The court found that the intent of testatrix would be carried out if her two favored Irish setters were placed in an environment where they are given the same care and attention that she she gave them during her life. The final question the court grappled with was whether it was against public policy to hold valid a clause in a will directing the summary destruction of certain of decedent's property after her death. The court held that the clause was void as not being within the purview of the Wills Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and being against the public policy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In re Kenna Homes Cooperative Corporation 557 S.E.2d 787 (W.V. 2001)

The owners of a cooperative unit kept a dog in their dwelling despite a no pets policy. There was, however, an exception in the policy for service animals, and the Jessups argued that the small dog they kept was necessary due to various medical problems they had, including arthritis and depression. The housing authority denied the request, stating that only animals certified for the particular disability qualify as a "service animal." The West Virginia Court of Appeals held that a housing authority may require that a service animal be properly trained without violating federal law.

In re Marriage of Berger and Ognibene-Berger (Decisions Without Published Opinions) 834 N.W.2d 82 (Table) (2013) Joe Berger appeals from the provisions of the decree of divorce from Cira Berger, including the court’s grant of Max, the family golden retriever, to Cira. He argues that it would be more equitable to grant him ownership of Max because Cira already owns another dog, Sophie, and the parties’ son, who lives with Joe, is very attached to Max. The district court made their decision based on which party would be more available to care for the dog. This court affirms that decision, citing evidence that Max is licensed to Cira, only Cira’s name is in the dog’s ‘GEO tracker’ device, and Cira got Max medical attention even when Max was in Joe’s care. The court specified that they need not determine a pet's best interests when deciding custody.
In re MARRIAGE OF Kimberly K. Enders and Michael A. BAKER 48 N.E.3d 1277 (Ill. App. Ct., 2015)

In this case, Michael A. Baker appealed the trial court’s decision regarding property distribution and visitation rights with regard to his two dogs, Grace and Roxy, following his divorce from Kimberly K. Enders. The trial court awarded custody of both dogs to Enders and denied Baker any visitation rights. In making its decision, the trial court relied on a New York case in which the New York Supreme Court did not allow dog visitation. (Travis v. Murray, 42 Misc.3d 447, 977 N.Y.S.2d 621, 631 (N.Y.Sup.Ct.2013). The New York Supreme Court refused to apply the “best interests of the dog” standard and instead applied a “best for all standard,” holding that “household pets enjoy a status greater than mere chattel.” Baker appealed the trail court’s decision arguing that Illinois courts have the authority to order pet visitation. On appeal, the court determined that there was no case law to suggest that an Illinois court had ever addressed the issue of dog visitation. As a result, the court found that the trial court was well within its discretion to apply the standard used in the New York case. Additionally, the court of appeals applied the statutory definition of “dog owner” in Illinois and determined that Enders was the dogs’ rightful owner. The Illinois statute defined owner as “any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian.” The court found that because the dogs were left in Ender’s care following the divorce, she is the one who “keeps or harbors” the dogs and is therefore the owner. Ultimately, the court affirmed the trial court’s decision and denied Baker visitation rights.

In re Marriage of Piskalns Unpublished Disposition, 344 Mont. 555, 186 P.3d 877 (Table) (2008) The parties both appealed from the district court’s orders distributing the marital estate upon the parties’ divorce. Kara Pilskalns claimed that the court erred when it granted ownership of Maggie, the couple’s dog, to Andrew Pilskalns. This court affirms the decision, declining to use the best interest of the child standard for the distribution of pets as they are marital property.
In re Marriage of Stewart 356 N.W.2d 611 (Iowa Ct. App. 1984)

Dog which had been gift from husband to wife was awarded to husband in divorce decree; wife appealed.  Appeals court found that the trial court did not err, considering both "the property division as a whole" and that the dog had accompanied husband to work each day.  Court held that a dog is personal property whose best interests need not be considered.

In re Marriage of Tevis-Bleich 939 P.2d 966 (Kan. Ct. App. 1997) A couple had agreed to a divorce settlement where they each had visitation rights with their dog; the trial court approved of the arrangement.  The wife later tried to have that section removed from the decree, but the trial court held that they did not have jurisdiction to make such a change.  The appellate court affirmed the decision, which left visitation intact
In re Molly 712 N.W.2d 567 (Minn.App.,2006)

In this Minnesota case, the appellant challenges the district court's order designating his dog a "dangerous dog" under Minn.Stat. § 347.50, subd. 2(2) (2004). The appellate court held that the city lacked authority to bring action to enforce non-self-executing statutory provision concerning dangerous dogs. While the city of Arden Hills argues that the legislature, in section 347.53, gives cities "the power to enforce the dangerous dog statute, section 347.53 authorizes cities to "regulate potentially dangerous dogs," a statutory category expressly separate from and exclusive of "dangerous dogs." The court stated that the issue is whether Arden Hills may enforce the statute without first adopting it or promulgating procedures for its enforcement. Further, while it is undisputed that Scooter was badly injured by Molly during the attack, she was not dead then or upon arrival at the veterinary clinic. The owners undertook the decision to euthanize rather than treat the injured dog.

IN RE: ERVIN STEBANE 47 Agric. Dec. 1264 (1988) Licensed dealer who engaged in recurring pattern of trivial noncompliance with housekeeping requirements, failed to provide records on two occasions and failed to permit inspection on one occasion, is properly sanctioned with 20-day license suspension, $1500 civil penalty, and cease and desist order.
IN RE: JAMES AND JULIA STUEKERJUERGEN, D/B/A CORNER VIEW KENNELS. 44 Agric. Dec. 186 (1985) Dog broker shipping dogs under 8 weeks old was assessed civil penalty of $7,000 and license as dealer under Animal Welfare Act was suspended for 35 days, since broker was one of largest dog brokers in state, 8-week minimum age requirement was based on finding that ability of dogs to function in adult environment was adversely affected if shipped under that age, violations were serious and flagrant in view of large number of puppies shipped on 10 different occasions during 2-month period, and broker had violated Act and standards on prior occasion resulting in 12 day license suspension.
IN RE: JAMES W. HICKEY, D/B/A S&S FARMS, AND S.S. FARMS, INC. 47 Agric. Dec. 840 (1988) Licensed dealer found guilty of numerous violations of Act involving care and housing of dogs and cats, failure to allow inspection of records, and failure to keep and maintain adequate records as to acquisition and disposition of animals, is properly penalized with 25-year suspension of license, civil penalty of $40,000, and cease and desist order.
In re: MARJORIE WALKER, d/b/a LINN CREEK KENNEL 2006 WL 2439003 (U.S.D.A.)

Judicial Officer affirmed the Administrative Law Judge's decision that Marjorie Walker, d/b/a Linn Creek Kennel, violated the regulations of the Animal Welfare Act. The Judicial Officer stated that the Animal Welfare Act provides factors that must be considered when deciding the amount of civil penalty, and that the ability to pay the penalty is not a factor. Respondent was ordered to cease and desist from violating the regulations and standards, pay a $14,300 civil penalty, and the license was revoked .

IN RE: ROSIA LEE ENNES 45 Agric. Dec. 540 (1986) Civil penalty of $1,000 against unlicensed dealer was appropriate under 7 USCS § 2149(b), and greater penalty could have been requested where although moderate size of kennel suggested modest penalty, selling hundreds of dogs without license over 40-month period was grave violation of Animal Welfare Act, violations were not committed in good faith since dogs were knowingly and intentionally sold without license after receiving 4 warnings, and even though dealer thought mistakenly that Department would not prosecute her for such violations and there was no history of previous violations, the hundreds of violations proven were sufficient to warrant severe sanction.
Ing v. American Airlines 2007 WL 420249 (N.D. Cal. 2007)

A man shipped his dog on an American Airlines airplane, and the dog died shortly after landing. The court found that the contract signed prior to take-off limited the liability of the airline. However, the airline could be liable because after landing, the man had asked for his dog back, to give it veterinary care, but the airline took more than four hours to give it back. Also, the airline could be liable if the plane temperature had been higher than for which the contract called.

Irwin v. Degtiarov 85 Mass.App.Ct. 234 (2014) In this case, Degtiarov's unleashed dog attacked Irwin's dog without provocation. Though Irwin's dog survived, there were significant veterinary costs. Irwin brought this suit for damages in the form of veterinary costs, which were granted by the district court and affirmed by the appellate court. The sole issue on appeal considers whether damages should be capped at the market value of the dog, despite the reasonableness of the veterinary costs necessary to treat the dog's injuries. The appellate court affirms the damages for reasonable veterinary costs that were incurred for damage caused by a dog, even if these costs exceed the market or replacement value of the animal injured by the dog.
Ivey v. Hamlin (Unpublished) 2002 WL 1254444 (Tenn.Ct.App.)(Not reproted in S.W.3rd)

This is an action for damages for the deliberate killing of a dog by a Deputy Sheriff that was alleging terrorizing the neighborhood.  In finding for defendant-officer, the court noted that the consensus among the courts is that a vicious dog is a public nuisance and that governments and their agents have broad power to protect the public from these animals.  The court thus found the officer acted reasonably under the circumstances and had a qualified immunity defense.

Jackson v. Georgalos 133 A.D.3d 719 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015) Plaintiff appealed an order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The personal injury action arises from an incident where defendants' dog, who was barking at the time, jumped on the screen door causing the door to open, whereupon the dog ran out of the house. When the plaintiff turned to get away from the dog, her ankle twisted, causing her to fall on the steps and become injured. To recover in New York on such an action, a plaintiff must prove that the dog had vicious propensities and that the owner of the dog, or a person in control of the premises where the dog was, knew or should have known of such propensities. The court held that plaintiff did not raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant was aware of the dog's alleged propensity to run out of the house and chase after people. Defendants' motion summary judgment and dismissal was affirmed.
Jacobsen v. Schwarz 50 A.D.3d 964 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 2008)

Plaintiff appeals an order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment that dismissed her personal injury case. The plaintiff commenced this action after she was bitten by defendant's dog while working on a computer at defendant's house. This court found that summary judgment was not appropriate because the defendant warned plaintiff that the dog was possessive about her ball and not to touch it. These warnings along with the dog's actions with the ball may give rise to a finding that the defendant knew or should have known that the dog possessed a vicious propensity or a proclivity to act in a way that puts others at risk of harm.

JACQUELINE CONRAD, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. SUSAN CATAPANO and JIM CATAPANO, Defendants–Respondents Not Reported in A.3d 2013 WL 673463 (N.J.Super.A.D.,2013)

Plaintiff was injured by defendants' dog after being knocked to the ground. The plaintiff had her dog over to defendants' house for a "doggie play date" and the dogs were running off-leash in the fenced yard.The lower court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claims of negligence and absolute liability, finding that the defendants had not prior knowledge of the dog's propensity to run into people. The Court found that there were genuine issues of material fact as to defendants' prior knowledge of the dog's proclivities to become "hyper" in the presence of other dogs. Thus, the decision to grant summary judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for trial. Notably, the Court did state that it shared "the motion judge's observation that plaintiff may well be comparatively at fault here for choosing to stand in the backyard while the three unleashed dogs ran around."

Jankoski v. Preiser Animal Hospital, Ltd. 510 N.E.2d 1084 (Ill. App. Ct. 1987).

Plaintiff dog owners sought review of an order of the Circuit Court of Cook County (Illinois), which dismissed their complaint against defendants, animal hospital and veterinarians, with prejudice. The trial court held that plaintiffs' complaint to recover damages for the loss of companionship they experienced as a result of the death of their dog failed to state a cause of action. The court affirmed the order of the trial court that dismissed the complaint filed by plaintiff dog owners against defendants, animal hospital and veterinarians. The court held that the law did not permit a dog owner to recover for the loss of companionship of a dog.

Janota-Bzowska v. Lewis 1997CarswellBC1957

The respondent Janota-Bzowska was an invited guest at the home of the appellant Lewises, where another guest (appellant Holtzman) had tied his Labrador dog outside; the dog lunged at the respondent, causing her to fall and break her finger. A trial court earlier found both dog-owner and home-owners liable to Janota-Bzowska under the doctrines of scienter (strict liabilty) and negligence. On appeal, the court held that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the dog had a propensity to lunge at people, or that the owner knew of such propensity, although the dog was known to chase deer. However, this was not sufficient to allow recovery under scienter. On the issue of negligence, the court also held that the dog's behaviour being 'unexpected and out of character' showed no suggestion of a risk for which the owner had failed to take reasonable precautions, so there was no negligence shown.

Jason v. Parks 638 N.Y.S.2d 170 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., 1996)

In an action, inter alia, to recover damages for veterinary malpractice, the plaintiffs appeal.  The court reaffirmed that it is well established that a pet owner in New York cannot recover damages for emotional distress caused by the negligent destruction of a dog.

Jefferson v. Mirando 719 N.E.2d 1074 (Ohio Co.,1999)

In this Ohio case, the defendant was charged with violating ordinance setting maximum number of dogs or cats that a person could "harbor" per family dwelling unit.  The court first observed that the village of Jefferson's ordinance benefits from a strong presumption of constitutionality, and defendant Mirando bears the burden of demonstrating unconstitutionality of this ordinance beyond any remaining fair debate on the issue.  The court held that ordinance was not unconstitutionally vague and did not conflict with state statutes regulating kennels.

Johnson v. District of Columbia 2014 WL 5316644 (D.D.C. Oct. 17, 2014) (Only the Westlaw citation is currently available) Although he has never been prosecuted or threatened with prosecution under the District of Columbia's Animal Control Act, plaintiff, an animal rights activist, challenges a provision that reads: “No person shall knowingly and falsely deny ownership of any animal.” D.C.Code § 8–1808(b). Plaintiff asserts that he desires to give speeches in the District of Columbia about why he opposes treating animals as property, and in such speeches he would like to deny ownership of his dog. However, he alleges that he does not do so because he is deterred by D.C.Code § 8–1808(b). Plaintiff therefore sued the District of Columbia to obtain declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing the statute violated his First Amendment right to free speech. The District Court, however, found that plaintiff lacked standing because he presented no concrete evidence to substantiate his fears of prosecution, but rather rests his claims on mere conjecture about possible governmental actions. Such hypothetical fears cannot form the basis for standing under Article III of the US Constitution. The defendant's motion to dismiss was therefore granted and the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment was therefore dismissed.
Johnson v. Douglas 734 N.Y.S.2d 847 (Mem) (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept. 2001)

Plaintiff appealed an order denying her claim to emotional distress damages presumably for the death of her dog.  The court held that it is well established that a pet owner in New York cannot recover damages for emotional distress caused by the negligent killing of a dog.

Johnson v. McMahan 68 Cal.App.4th 173 (1998)

After a repairman was injured by a dog that grabbed his leg through his jeans and made him fall from a ladder, the victim sued the owners under the dog bite statute, Civ. Code, § 3342. The court held that the statute applied, even though the plaintiff was not wounded by the bite. The word “bite” did not require a puncture or tearing away of the skin.

Johnson v. Wander 592 So. 2d. 1225 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1992)

Petitioner pet owner alleged that respondent veterinarian took her dog to be spayed, and left the animal on heating pads, which resulted in serious burns, so petitioner filed a claim for damages on the basis of gross negligence, damage to property, and emotional distress. The trial court entered partial summary judgments on the claims for punitive damages and emotional distress and, on a subsequent motion, transferred the case to the county court as a claim for less than the circuit court jurisdictional amount.  The appellate court held that there remained a jury question on the issues of gross negligence and physical and mental pain and suffering as claimed by petitioner.

Johnson-Schmitt v. Robinson 990 F. Supp. 2d 331 (W.D.N.Y. 2013)

Seeking compensatory and injunctive relief, Plaintiffs commenced a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Defendants County of Erie, Erie County Sheriff's Department, and John Does 1 and 2; Defendants Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ("SPCA") and a SPCA peace officer; and a dog control officer based on alleged searches of Plaintiffs' property and seizure of animals purportedly belonging to Plaintiffs. After reviewing the defendants moved for summary judgment, the district court granted and dismissed the motion in part.

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

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

Jones v. State 473 So. 2d 1197 (Ala. App. 1985)

Defendant was convicted of unlawfully owning, possessing, keeping or training a dog or dogs with intent that such dog or dogs be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog, and he appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that: (1) dogfighting statute was not unconstitutionally vague; (2) testimony of animal cruelty investigator was sufficient for jury to conclude that defendant owned dogs after effective date of antidog-fighting statute; (3) evidence as to poor conditions of dogs and their vicious propensities exhibited while lodged at animal shelter was relevant to issue of defendant's intent to fight the dogs; and (4) evidence gained by police officer pursuant to search warrant was not inadmissible.

Joyce v Visser [2001] TASSC 116

The appellant was convicted of failing to provide food and water to dogs who were chained to a spot. Citing the extreme nature of the neglect and the need for general deterrence, the trial judge sentenced the appellant to three months' imprisonment. On appeal, the appellate judge found the sentence to be manifestly excessive and reduced the sentence.