Dogs: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Kitchin ex rel. Kitchin v. Halifax County 665 S.E.2d 760 (N.C.App.,2008)

In this North Carolina case, defendant dog owners appealed from a decision of the County Board of Health that ruled their dog could not be returned home because of the dog's potential exposure to rabies as result of attacking a raccoon (the dog was scheduled for euthanization). After the Board denied the owners' appeal, they filed a complaint against county which contained motions for preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent dog's quarantine and for class certification. The Court of Appeals held that the owners' appeal of Board's decision to quarantine dog was moot because dog had already been returned home. The action against the animal control officers was dismissed because the officers were shielded by governmental immunity.

Klitzka ex rel. Teutonico v. Hellios 810 N.E.2d 252 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.,2004)

In this Illinois case, the Appellate Court considered, as a matter of first impression, under what circumstances does a landlord owe a duty of care to his tenant's invitees to prevent injury from an attack by an animal kept by the tenant on the leased premises?  A minor invitee (Alexus) of the tenants was bitten by tenants' dog and brought a negligence action against residential landlords.  It was undisputed that the tenants held exclusive control over the premises and paid $700 a month in rent to the landlords.  The Appellate Court held that even if landlords knew tenants' dog was dangerous, the landlords had no duty to protect the tenants' invitee because landlords retained no control over the leased premises where injury occurred.  "Here, the tenants' affirmative conduct of bringing the dog into the living space of the home, an area over which the landlords had no control, is what might have been the proximate cause of Alexus' injuries."

Knowles Animal Hospital, Inc. v. Wills 360 So.2d 37 (Fla.App.,1978)

Dog owners brought negligence action against veterinarian and animal hospital after their dog suffered injuries while under the veterinarian's and the hospital's care. The Appeals Court held that the trial court did not err by allowing the jury to consider plaintiff-owners' mental pain and suffering, and that the jury could reasonably have viewed defendants' neglectful conduct resulting in the dog's injury to have amounted to great indifference to plaintiffs' property.

Koester v. VCA Animal Hosp. 624 N.W.2d 209 (Mich. App., 2000); lv. app. den. 631 N.W. 2d 339 (Mich. 2001)

Plaintiff pled damages that included plaintiff's pain and suffering, extreme fright, shock, mortification, and the loss of the companionship of his dog after negligent treatment by defendant animal hospital killed his dog.  The court noted that there is no Michigan precedent that permits the recovery of damages for emotional injuries allegedly suffered as a consequence of property damage.  Although this Court is sympathetic to plaintiff's position, it chose to defer to the Legislature to create such a remedy.

Koivisto v. Davis 745 N.W.2d 824 (Mich.App., 2008)

Defendants, the Macaks, owned two dogs being boarded at Chieftan Kennels. Plaintiff was outside on her deck when the dogs entered her property and attacked her cats, one of which died later from its injuries. The plaintiff rushed to defend the cats and suffered multiple bites from the dogs.  The trial court held that the plaintiff had “provoked” the dogs. The Court of Appeals reversed.  “The dogs were already provoked and, in fact, were in a state of attack, for whatever reason when plaintiff responded to their behaviors while on her own property.” 

Kondaurov v. Kerdasha 629 S.E.2d 181 (Va. 2006)

In Kondaurov v. Kerdasha , the Virginia Supreme Court held that the plaintiff-motorist could not recover damages for emotional or mental anguish she suffered either because of her concern for injuries sustained by her dog, who was riding in motorist's car at time of accident. Here, the plaintiff was clearly entitled to be compensated in damages for any emotional distress she suffered as a consequence of the physical impact she sustained in the accident. However, the court noted that Virginia still views pets as personal property, and plaintiffs cannot recover emotional distress damages resulting from negligently inflicted injury to personal property.

Kovar v. City of Cleveland 102 N.E.2d 472 (Ohio App. 1951)

This case involved a petition by LaVeda Kovar, et al against the City of Cleveland to obtain an order to restrain the City from disposing of dogs impounded by the City Dog Warden by giving or selling them to hospitals or laboratories for experimental and research purposes.  The Court of Appeals held that the City of Cleveland, both by its constitutional right of home rule and by powers conferred on municipal corporations by statute, had the police power right to provide that no dog should be permitted to run at large unless muzzled, and any dog found at large and unmuzzled would be impounded.  Further, by carrying out the mandate of the city ordinance by disposing of these impounded dogs was simply the performance of a ministerial or administrative duty properly delegated to Director of Public Safety.

Krasnecky v. Meffen 777 N.E.2d 1286 (Mass.App.Ct.,2002)

In Krasnecky v Meffen , the plaintiffs sought damages for emotional distress, loss of companionship, and society when defendant’s dogs broke into plaintiff’s backyard and killed their seven sheep. The plaintiffs loved their sheep like a parent would love a child, and went so far as to throw birthday parties for them. Plaintiff’s counsel, Steven Wise, Esq., also instructed the court to consult a text on veterinary ethics, which defined companion animals to include the plaintiff’s sheep within the definition. The court did not address the issue concerning the emotional distress claim, but instead stated that the class of persons authorized to recover were “persons” closely related to the injured person. Furthermore, Justice Jacobs noted that it would be irrational for plaintiffs to have greater rights in the case of a companion animal than in a case of the tortious death of an immediate family member.

Kringle v. Elliott 301 Ga.App. 1, 686 S.E.2d 665 (Ga.App.,2009)

The plaintiff, on behalf of her then seven-year-old son, brought an action against the defendant Elliot for injuries the child sustained resulting from a bite by defendant's golden retriever. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for a directed verdict reasoning that because this was the dog's first bite of a human, there was there was no cause of action under Georgia's “first bite” rule. The appellate court found that the excluded evidence did not indicate the owner had any reason to suspect that the dog had a propensity to bite and thus, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting defendant's motion or directing a verdict. 

Krzywicki v. Galletti 27 N.E.3d 991 (Oh Ct . App., 2015) Appellant commenced an action against defendant boyfriend, the owner of the dog that bit her, and his business, which she held was strictly liable for the injuries she suffered, where the attack occurred. The claims against defendant boyfriend were dismissed with prejudice. A jury verdict, however, found that although the business was a “harborer” of the dog, appellant was barred from recovery because she was a “keeper of the dog in that she had physical care or charge of dog, temporary or otherwise, at the time of the incident.” Appellant appealed, raising seven assignments of error for review. In addressing appellant’s claims, the Ohio Court of Appeals held that the status of an individual as an owner, keeper or harborer was relevant when deciding if an individual was barred from availing him or herself of the protections afforded by liability statutes. The court of appeals also ruled that the trial court properly gave the jury instruction and that the jury’s verdict was not “defective.” Further the court held that the testimony established at trial demonstrated that appellant had a significant relationship with the dog and that there was competent and credible evidence presented at trial to support the business’s position that appellant exercised some degree of management, possession, care custody or control over the dog. The judgment of the lower court was therefore affirmed with Judge Kathleen Ann Keough concurring and Judge Melody Stewart concurring in judgment only.
Lachenman v. Stice 838 N.E.2d 451 (Ind.App.)

In this Indiana case, a dog owner whose dog was attacked and killed by a neighbor's dog, brought an action against the neighbor to recover veterinary bills and emotional distress damages. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment in favor of defendant-neighbor, finding that however negligent the neighbor's behavior might have been in controlling his dog, his actions did not constitute outrageous behavior so as to give rise to claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court also refused to extend the bystander rule under plaintiff's negligent infliction of emotional distress claim to include the dog owner's witnessing the death of his dog.

Lamare v. North Country Animal League 743 A.2d 598 (Vt. 1999)

Owners of a licensed dog that escaped while not wearing its tags filed an action against a local animal shelter that ultimately released the dog to others for adoption.  The court held that the town's actions fully complied with its animal control ordinance and that its ordinance provided ample notice to plaintiffs consistent with state law and due process requirements.

Langford v. Emergency Pet Clinic 644 N.E.2d 1035 Ohio App. 8 Dist., 1994)

Plaintiff-appellant Edna L. Langford appeals from summary judgments granted in favor of defendants-appellees, Emergency Pet Clinic and Animal Kingdom Pet Cemetery, arising out of the death and interment of her dog, Bozie, who was buried in a mass grave contrary to her wishes.  Since plaintiff did not satisfy the requirements necessary to bring a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (to wit, the extreme and outrageous element and proof of mental anguish beyond her capacity to endure it ), the appellate court held that the lower court did not err in finding no basis for the claim.  The court also disallowed her claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress as plaintiff was neither a bystander to an accident nor in fear of physical harm to her own person. 

LaPorte v. Associated Independents, Inc. 163 So.2d 267 (Fla. 1964)

Respondent was a corporation engaged in the garbage collection business.  One of its employees maliciously hurled an empty garbage can at plaintiff's pet pedigreed dog, who was tethered at the time, killing it.  The issue before the court was the reconsideration not of  the issue of liability, but for determination only of compensatory and punitive damages.  The court stated that it was obvious from the facts that the act performed by the representative of the respondent was malicious and demonstrated an extreme indifference to the rights of the petitioner. Having this view, there was no prohibition of punitive damages relative to awarding compensation for mental pain, as would be the case if there had been physical injury resulting only from simple negligence.  The court went on to say that the restriction of the loss of a pet to its intrinsic value in circumstances such as the ones before us is a principle we cannot accept and that the malicious destruction of the pet provides an element of damage for which the owner should recover, irrespective of the value of the animal because of its special training.

LaRosa v. River Quarry Apartments, LLC Slip Copy, 2019 WL 3538951 (D. Idaho Aug. 3, 2019) Plaintiffs, Robert and Iva LaRosa filed this action in August of 2018, alleging that the defendants violated their rights under the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"). The Court dismissed the complaint and the Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. The Plaintiffs had applied to live at River Quarry Apartments in August of 2017. They requested a reasonable accommodation to keep their dog at the apartment without paying a fee. The Plaintiffs provided a copy of a note from a nurse practitioner stating that the companion dog helps manage Mr. LaRosa’s post-traumatic stress disorder. The Plaintiffs were approved for the apartment but told that their reasonable accommodation request was still being processed and received forms to fill out regarding the reasonable accommodation. River Quarry required Mr. LaRose’s doctor to fill out a form verifying the need for an assistance animal. Rather than completing the form, the plaintiffs provided a letter from Mr. LaRosa’s primary care physician which stated that in the doctor’s opinion, an emotional support animal would help mitigate the symptoms that Mr. LaRose was experiencing. River Quarry insisted on speaking with Mr. LaRose’s doctor directly to verify the information that the plaintiffs had given. After Kirk Cullimore, an attorney on behalf of River Quarry, spoke with the doctor, River Quarry wrote a letter to the Plaintiffs denying their request for a reasonable accommodation stating that the doctor declined to verify that Mr. LaRosa met the two prong test that one must be handicapped and there must be a nexus between the handicap and the need for the animal. Soon after this, Mr. LaRosa saw his primary care physician and had the actual form completed by his doctor and turned it in to River Quarry. Kirk Cullimore believed that the doctor’s signature on the form was forged and called Mr. LaRose’s doctor to speak with him again. The doctor’s secretary informed Cullimore that the signature was genuine. Mr. and Mrs. LaRosa argued that they were injured by the discrimination of the Defendants in violation of the FHA. The Court denied the Plaintiffs claim under the FHA because they did not sufficiently allege that the Defendants refused to make the requested accommodation. River Quarry allowed the dog to stay in the apartment while their request for an accommodation was reviewed. The Court stated that housing providers are granted a meaningful opportunity to investigate a request for an accommodation. Housing providers do not have to immediately approve a request for an accommodation right away. River Quarry ended up approving the request within 45 days after the initial request. The Court held that this was not an unreasonable delay considering that River Quarry did not have sufficient information to make a determination until after Mr. LaRosa’s doctor completed the verification form. Prior to that the doctor’s letter and the phone call between Cullimore and the doctor did not reveal enough information for River Quarry to make a determination on the accommodation. The Plaintiffs, however, succeeded on their interference claim. The LaRosas were engaged in a protected activity when they applied for a reasonable accommodation and they sufficiently alleged that they were subjected to adverse action and that a causal link existed between the protected activity and the adverse action. The Defendants misrepresented the contents of Mr. Cullimore and Mr. LaRosa’s doctor’s conversation. The Court ultimately denied in part and granted in part the Defendant’s motion to dismiss and denied in part and granted in part the motion to dismiss claims against Kirk Cullimore and his law office.
Larsen v. McDonald 212 N.W.2d 505 In this case twelve neighbors brought a private nuisance claim against another neighbor for keeping numerous dogs in a residential area. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald rescued unwanted dogs by keeping them on their property; Ms. McDonald provided food and shelter and attempted to place the animals in new adoptive homes. At the time of trial there were 40 dogs on the property. The neighbors had called the police and complained of frequent barking and the smell of urine. The McDonalds argue that they had priority of location over the defendants. When they moved to the neighborhood in 1952 it had been sparsely settled. However, over the years the neighborhood had become residential, and while many of the neighbors also had dogs, none of them exceeded three dogs. Ultimately the court held that for the McDonalds to be operating a shelter or kennel style facility was inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood, and after reviewing the testimony, the evidence in this case was sufficient to show a normal person would find the situation was a nuisance. The court upheld the lower court’s injunction to limit the number of dogs that the McDonalds could keep.
Lawrence v. North Country Animal Control Center, Inc 126 A.D.3d 1078, 5 N.Y.S.3d 558 (N.Y. App. Div. 2015) Plaintiffs adopted a basset hound from animal control despite the fact that the dog had been turned over by a prior owner to be euthanized. The basset hound, who attacked the plaintiffs on three different occasions without injury, attacked plaintiffs' other dog. When one plaintiff tried to separate the dogs, the basset hound attacked him. Defendant removed the basset hound from the home that same day and refused to return the dog to the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs commenced this action seeking to recover damages for injuries, asserting causes of action for, among other things, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, products liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On appeal from the New York Supreme Court decision, the appellate court found that under the circumstances, issues of fact exist as to whether plaintiffs reasonably relied on defendants' misrepresentation and whether plaintiffs could have discovered the dog’s dangerous nature with due diligence. The appellate court also found that the contract clause at issue did not preclude plaintiffs from recovering for negligence because it did not “advise the signor that the waiver extended to claims that might arise from the defendant's own negligence.” The appellate court did, however, find that plaintiffs did not satisfy the “rigorous ... and difficult to satisfy requirements for a viable cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress.” The court also found that sanctions were not warranted.
Lawson v. Pennsylvania SPCA 124 F. Supp. 3d 394 (E.D. Pa. 2015) Upon an investigation of numerous complaints, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty obtained a warrant and searched plaintiffs’ house. As a result, plaintiffs were charged with over a hundred counts that were later withdrawn. Plaintiffs then filed the present case, asserting violations of their federal constitutional rights, as well as various state-law tort claims. Defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming qualified immunity. The district court granted the motion in part as to: (1) false arrest/false imprisonment, malicious prosecution of one plaintiff and as to 134 of the charges against another plaintiff, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and invasion of privacy; and (2) to the following claims in Count One: verbal abuse, security of person and property, false arrest/false imprisonment, due process and equal protection, and failure to train or discipline as the result of a policy or custom. The District Court denied the motion with respect to (1) the following claim in Count One: unreasonable search and seizure and the individual defendants' request for qualified immunity in connection with that claim; and (2) with respect to one plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim, but only to the charge relating to the puppy's facial injuries.
Lay v. Chamberlain 2000 WL 1819060 (Ohio Ct. App. Dec. 11, 2000) (Not Reported in N.E.2d) Chamberlain owned a dog breeding kennel with over one hundred fifty dogs. An investigation was conducted when the Sheriff's Office received complaints about the condition of the animals. Observations indicated the kennel was hot, overcrowded, and poorly ventilated. The dogs had severely matted fur, were sick or injured, and lived in cages covered in feces. Dog food was moldy and water bowls were dirty. Many cages were stacked on top of other cages, allowing urine and feces to fall on the dogs below. A court order was granted to remove the dogs. The humane society, rescue groups, and numerous volunteers assisted by providing food, shelter, grooming and necessary veterinary care while Chamberlain's criminal trial was pending. Chamberlain was convicted of animal cruelty. The organizations and volunteers sued Chamberlain for compensation for the care provided to the animals. The trial court granted the award and the appellate court affirmed. Ohio code authorized appellees' standing to sue for the expenses necessary to prevent neglect to the animals. The evidence was sufficient to support an award for damages for the humane society, the rescue groups, and the individual volunteers that protected and provided for the well-being of the dogs during the months of the trial.
Lee v. State 973 N.E.2d 1207 (Ind.App. 2012)

An attendant of a dog fight was convicted of a Class A misdemeanor under section 35-46-3-4 of the Indiana Code. On appeal, the defendant-appellant argued that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and that the statute invited arbitrary law enforcement, which violated the Due Process clause of the U.S. Constitution. Though the appeals court found the defendant-appellant had waived her constitutional claims by not filing a motion at the bench trial, the appeals court found her claims lacked merit. The defendant-appellant’s conviction was therefore upheld.

Legro v. Robinson 328 P.3d 238, aff'd but criticized (Colo.App., 2012)

While participating in a bicycle race on Forest Service lands, plaintiff (Legro) was attacked seriously injured by defendants' (Robinsons') dogs. The Robinsons held a grazing permit from the Forest Service for the land where the injury occurred and the dogs were acting as predator control dogs there. On appeal, this court agreed with the lower court that the Robinsons were landowners for purposes of the Premises Liability Act (PLA) and this did in fact abrogate the plaintiffs' common law claims. However, as a matter of first impression, the court  determined that the PLA does not abrogate the statutory dog bite claim. As to the predator control dog exception, the court found that while the dogs were working as predator control dogs, the issue is whether the dogs were on property "under the control of" the Robinsons at the time. Under these facts, a grazing permit, without more, does not establish control for the predator dog exception of the dog bite law.

Leigh v. State 58 So. 3d 396 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011) Philip Leigh (Defendant) appeals from an order summarily denying his motion for postconviction relief. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic. Defendant claimed his trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to appear in a leg restraint and for failing to object to the presence of a dog. Apparently, the dog became disruptive on more than one occasion and was visible to the judge and jury. The Florida appellate court reversed and remanded, with a provision that the trial court could attach portions of the record that would refute the possibility that defense counsel’s failure to object to the dog’s presence indicated ineffective assistance of counsel. Since there was apparently no evidence of the dog’s presence in the record at all, the trial court was presumably obligated to conduct an evidentiary hearing on the matter.
Leith v. Frost 899 N.E.2d 635 (Ill.App. 4 Dist.,2008) In this Illinois case, plaintiffs, Mark and Mindy Leith, sued defendant, Andrew E. Frost, for tortious damage to their personal property, a dachshund named Molly. The trial court found in plaintiffs' favor with an award of $200, Molly's fair market value, rather than the $4,784 in veterinary expenses. While the court recognized fair market value is the traditional ceiling for damage to personal property, Illinois courts have held that certain items of personal property (heirlooms, photographs, pets, etc.) have no market value. Thus, the basis for assessing compensatory damages in such a case is to determine the actual value to the plaintiff beyond nominal damages. Adopting the rationale of the Kansas Court of Appeals in Burgess v. Shampooch Pet Industries, Inc., t his Court found that Mollly's worth to plaintiffs was established by the $4,784 plaintiffs paid for the dog's veterinary care.
Lesher v. Reed 12 F.3d 148 (8th Cir. 1994)

Seizure of pet dog violated Fourth Amendment where police acted unreasonably in going to canine police officer's house to seize the dog after the dog bit a child.

Levine v. Knowles 197 So.2d 329 (Fla.App. 1967)

This negligence action for both compensatory and punitive damages results from the premature cremation of 'Tiki,' a Toy Chihuahua dog, who died while undergoing apparently routine treatment for a skin condition. Plaintiff instructed the veterinarian to keep Tiki's body so that he could have an autopsy performed, but the dog's body was cremated before it could be claimed so that, according to plaintiff, defendant could avoid malpractice claims. 

In this case, the court only determined that under the facts peculiar to this case, an action for damages was sufficiently alleged by the complaint and the defendant has failed to conclusively demonstrate the non-existence of all material issues of fact so as to be entitled to a summary final judgment.

Levine v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation 80 F. Supp. 3d 29 (D.D.C. 2015) This action arose from plaintiff’s experience of bringing her service dog on Amtrak trains. Plaintiff brought claims on her own behalf and on behalf of a putative class of other disabled passengers against Amtrak pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. Each claim related to Amtrak′s alleged practice of storing luggage in its train's “mobility aid” seating areas. Amtrak argued, amongst other things, that plaintiff lacked Article III Constitutional Standing because she had not suffered an injury in fact. The district court agreed and granted Amtrak′s motion to dismiss. The case was dismissed in its entirety.
Levy v. Only Cremations for Pets, Inc. 271 Cal. Rptr. 3d 250 (2020) This case was brought by the owners of two dogs that were cremated by a private pet cremation company, who allege the cremation service sent them the ashes of random dogs instead of those of their dogs. Plaintiffs allege breach of contract and several tort claims, including trespass to chattel and negligence. On this appeal, the judgement of the lower court was affirmed in part and reversed in part. The plaintiffs failed to establish an implied contract between them and the pet cremation company, were granted leave to amend their breach of contract complaint against the company, the other actions for breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing were dismissed, and the court found that the plaintiffs adequately stated a claim for negligence.
Lewis v. Chovan Slip Copy, 2006 WL 1681400 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.)

This Ohio case raises the issue of whether an employee of a pet grooming establishment is a "keeper" under state law, thereby preventing the application of strict liability for injury. The employee was bitten by dog while attempting to assist the establishment's owner and another employee in giving the dog a bath. She then brought an action against dog's owners asserting, among other things, that the owners were strictly liable for her injuries. The court relied on its previous definition of the word "keeper" in the context of R.C. 955.28(B) as "one having physical charge or care of the dogs." Based upon this precedent, the court found that a person who is responsible for exercising physical control over a dog is a "keeper" even if that control is only temporary.

Liberty Humane Soc., Inc. v. Jacobs Not Reported in A.2d, 2008 WL 2491961 (N.J.Super.A.D.) This case concerns the authority of the Department of Health to revoke certifications of animal control officers who willfully contravened the state law on impounding dogs.   The court found that “[s] ince the Department acknowledged that it is charged with revoking certifications of animal control off icers when those officers pose ‘ a threat to the health and safety’ of the community, it should follow that allegations of officers willfully and illegally taking a dog from its owner and falsifying records to claim it a stray so as to expose it to adoption by another or euthanasia calls for the Department to take action. It would be both arbitrary and capricious for the Department to ignore its duty to determine if revocation of certification is required.
Liotta v. Segur Not Reported in A.2d, 2004 WL 728829 (Conn.Super.), 36 Conn. L. Rptr. 621 (Conn.Super.,2004)

In this unreported Connecticut case, a dog owner sued a groomer for negligent infliction of emotional distress, alleging that the groomer negligently handled her very large dog when he removed it from her vehicle with “excessive force.” This resulted in a leg fracture, that, after lengthy and expensive care, ultimately resulted in the dog's euthanization. The court held that plaintiff failed to adequately plead a case for negligent infliction of emotional distress, but said in dicta that the results might be different for a pet owner who proves intentional infliction of emotional distress. Motion for summary judgment as against plaintiff's count two is granted.

Lira v. Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue, Inc. 488 S.W.3d 300 (Tex. Apr. 1, 2016)

In this case, plaintiff’s family dog, a German Shepherd named Monte, ran away and was rescued by Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue (GHGSDR). The organization refused to return the dog to plaintiff, so plaintiff filed suit against GHGSDR. The court found that there is no common law that states that a dog owner loses property rights to its dog if it runs away and is found by someone else. The court also looked to whether or not there was a city ordinance that would determine the proper ownership of the dog. Ultimately, the court found that the city ordinance regarding stray dogs did not strip the plaintiff of ownership rights because the dog had run away. The court also held that if there were any doubts as to the meaning of the ordinance, it should always be read “against a forfeiture of property.” The Supreme Court of Texas reversed judgment of the court of appeals and rendered judgment reinstating the trial court's judgment that Monte belonged to the Liras and the court properly enjoined GHGSDR to return him to his owners. 

Loban v. City of Grapevine Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2009 WL 5183802 (Tex.App.-Fort Worth,2009)

In this unpublished Texas case, Appellant Jason Loban appeals the trial court's judgment awarding appellee City of Grapevine $10,670.20 in damages. In 2006, Appellant's dogs were declared "dangerous" under the City's municipal ordinance. On appeal, Appellant argued that the trial court's award of $10,670.20 in damages to the City should be reversed because the City did not plead for monetary relief, the issue was not tried by consent, and there was no evidence to support the award. This Court agreed. In finding the monetary judgment void, the Court observed that the City did not put any request for a monetary award in its pleadings and there was no evidence in the record of the amount of the fine.

Lockett v. Hill 51 P.3d 5 (Or.App.,2002)

In this Oregon case, plaintiff sued defendant after defendant's pit bulls mauled plaintiff's cat to death while they were running loose on plaintiff's property. The trial court found that defendant was negligent and awarded plaintiffs $1,000 in compensatory damages but denied plaintiffs' claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress and loss of companionship. Plaintiff sought appeal of the trial court's denial of damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) and loss of companionship. The appellate court affirmed, holding that the cat owner was not entitled to recover damages for emotional distress.

Longhi v. APHIS 165 F3d 1057 (6th Cir. 1999)

APHIS was unsuccessful in asserting that an applicant who is part of one license as a partnership can not apply for another as a corporation.

Lopez v. State 720 S.W.2d 201 (Tex. App. 1986).

The court convicted the defendant of cruelty to animals where the defendant left his dog in the car on a hot, sunny, dry day with the windows only cracked an inch and a half. Such action was deemed "transporting or confining animal in a cruel manner."

Louisiana v. Caillet, Jr. 518 So. 2d 1062 (La. App. 1987) Twenty- six people where charged with dog fighting in violation of La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §   14:102.5 for paying a fee to be spectators at a dog fight. They filed a motion to quash, urging that the indictments failed to charge a punishable offense; they were denied the motion. Thereafter, 11 defendants applied for supervisory writs, the appellate court granted the motion to quash, holding that §   14:102.5 did not proscribe paying a fee to be a spectator at a dog fight.
LOUISVILLE & N. R. CO. v. WATSON 208 Ala. 319 (1922)

On November 2, 1920, on a “moonlit night”, plaintiff was fox hunting by a railroad track when his dog was hit by the train. Plaintiff claimed that defendant’s employee negligently ran over his dog while acting within the scope of his duties as an operator of the train. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed a jury award of $50, and held that it was proper for the plaintiff to show the excellent hunting qualities displayed by this dog to determine its market value.

Lowry v. City of San Diego 818 F.3d 840 (9th Cir. Apr. 1, 2016) Plaintiff in this case filed suit against the City of San Diego after she was attacked and bit by one of the police dogs. Lowry alleged that the City’s policy of training its police dogs to “bite and hold” individuals resulted in a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable seizures. The court remanded the case back to the lower court, holding that a reasonable jury could find that the use of the police dog against Lowry was an intrusion on her Fourth Amendment rights. The court maintained that the officers had reason to believe that letting the dog into Lowry’s office “off-lead” had the potential of creating severe harm. The court also noted that Lowry was not attempting to evade or resist arrest and therefore letting the dog “off-lead” may not have been reasonable. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
Loy v. Kenney 85 Cal. App. 5th 403, 301 Cal. Rptr. 3d 352 (2022), reh'g denied (Dec. 2, 2022) The background of the case involves buyers who sued alleged sellers of dogs for falsely advertising their pets as healthy when they were actually sick and died soon after. The buyers claimed that this violated the Consumers Legal Remedies Act. The Superior Court in Los Angeles County granted the buyers' motion for a preliminary injunction, which prevented the sellers from selling or advertising dogs. However, the sellers appealed this decision. The sellers' main issue at the the Court of Appeal was whether there was sufficient evidence to support the claim that the buyers purchased the puppies in question from the sellers. The court found relying on the buyers' declarations to establish the sellers' identities did not result in any harm. In addition, the buyers had provided adequate evidence to support their allegations that the puppies had been dyed brown. The court found the objections raised by the sellers regarding the evidentiary foundations for allegations relating to the dogs' ages, vaccinations, and causes of death were not relevant to the preliminary injunction. Substantial evidence existed to suggest that the buyers would likely succeed in their claim against the sellers and the balance of harms favored granting the preliminary injunction. Lastly, the sellers' persistence in their routine indicated that the public interest favored the grant of the preliminary injunction. Therefore, the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision.
Loy v. Kenney 301 Cal. Rptr. 3d 352 (Cal.App. 2 Dist., 2022), reh'g denied (Dec. 2, 2022) This is a case brought by purchasers of puppies from breeders advertising on Craigslist, against the breeders who were selling fatally sick puppies to these buyers. The buyers allege that the sellers misrepresented the puppies as healthy, when the dogs were actually too young to be separated from their mothers and many of these puppies ended up dying from illnesses such as parvovirus. The buyers brought suit for violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and for animal cruelty. The trial court granted a preliminary injunction to stop the sellers from advertising and selling dogs while trial was pending. This appeal followed, with the sellers arguing that there was insufficient evidence to show that they were the sellers of these sick puppies. However, the court of appeals affirmed. The court found that the evidence from the humane officer’s search of the seller’s home led to sufficient evidence that they were selling the sick puppies, including the seizure of 32 puppies and dogs living in unhealthy and cruel conditions. The puppies were being separated from their mothers too soon, and some were encrusted with feces. During the search, one of the sellers also told the officer that they would not stop selling puppies. Sellers attempted to raise several evidentiary objections to the evidence offered by the humane society officers, but all were rejected. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed and awarded costs to the buyers who brought the action.
Lundy v. California Realty 216 Cal.Rptr. 575 (Cal.App.4.Dist.)

The Court of Appeals held that an owner of a dog may be held liable for injuries inflicted by it on another person without any showing the dog had any especially dangerous propensities or that the owner knew of any such dangerous propensities. However, to impose liability on someone other than the owner, even a keeper, previous knowledge of the dog's vicious nature must appear. Aside from the rental agreement, the property owners knew nothing whatever about the dog. Thus, the facts before the trial court fell far short of creating a triable issue of fact as to defendant property owners' knowledge of any dangerous propensities on the part of the tenant's dog. "Neither do we believe judicial notice may be taken that all German shepherds are dangerous. Nor can defendants' knowledge of any dangerous propensity of the dog be inferred simply because they knew his name was Thunder."

Lunon v. Botsford 946 F.3d 425 (8th Cir. 2019) Lunon had a German Shephard as a breed dog, named Bibi, which had gotten loose and was turned into the local animal shelter. The animal control officer failed to scan the dog for a microchip. After five days at the animal shelter, Bibi was sterilized and adopted out. Lunon was able to recover his dog through a replevin action, however, Lunon claimed that his fourteenth amendment right to procedural due process was violated when Bibi was spayed and adopted out without providing pre-deprivation notice and an opportunity for Lunon to be heard. Lunon filed suit against the animal control officer, two directors of the animal shelter in Pulaski County, the city of North Little Rock, Pulaski County, the Pulaski County Animal Shelter, and the North Little Rock Animal Shelter. The defendants removed the case to federal court and sought summary judgment. The district court did not grant summary judgment and the defendants appealed. The Court found that the animal control officer picking up Bibi and delivering her to the animal shelter did not deprive Lunon of a protected property interest. There is no constitutional duty for an animal control officer to scan a stray dog for a microchip. Therefore, the animal control officer was not liable. The public officials that participated in this action were all protected under governmental immunity because Lunon failed to demonstrate that each individual defendant violated his constitutional right to due process. The Court ultimately reversed the order of the district court and remanded with directions to enter judgment dismissing those claims with prejudice.
Lyman v. Lanser --- N.E.3d ----, 2024 WL 970217 (Mass. App. Ct. Mar. 7, 2024) This case is an appeal concerning an agreement to share possession of a dog between a couple that had ended their relationship. The lower court granted the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, the court of appeals vacated the order, then this appeal followed. The parties purchased the dog together while they were still a couple, and agreed to share the dog if they broke up. After the relationship eventually ended, the couple shared the dog on a two week alternating basis. Eventually, one party maintained custody of the dog and denied the other party access to the dog, so plaintiff filed this action for conversion and breach of contract, seeking specific performance of the custody agreement for the dog. The court here found that the dog is jointly owned property, the lack of a written contract does not bar the plaintiff from specific performance, and that the judge's order of specific performance was a suitable remedy since monetary damages would not allow plaintiff access to his shared property. Therefore, the court reversed the order vacating the preliminary injunction and denied the defendant's petition for relief from the preliminary injunction.
M.E.R. c/ B.A.B. del C.| Divorcio por presentación conjunta - Popeye and Kiara - Argentina Expte. N° SI-29770-2022 In August 2022, Amorina Bascoy and Emmanuel Medina jointly petitioned for divorce after ten years of marriage. The couple did not have children but shared their life with Popeye and Kiara, their two beloved dogs. The couple filed their agreement regarding the division of marital assets and the care of Kiara and Popeye, together with the communication agreement regarding their care and visitation time, where visitation dates and times would be assessed flexibly by both spouses. In this instance, the family judge recognized the agreement reached by the spouses regarding the care of their beloved dogs, where each divorcee would keep the custody of a dog according to each dog's preference. In addition, in her holding, the judge stated that "although our legal system has not yet advanced in such a way that it can anticipate and/or regulate the situation in which members who also make up the family and have joined it -will be after the termination of the relationship, in this case, two dogs, POPEYE and KIARA-, this brings a reality that cannot be denied and a question that must be answered but those of us that have an obligation to provide a response because, it is known, that everything that is not prohibited by law is otherwise permitted, even in the absence of specific rules that establish it." the judges continues "Thus, we can say that it is known that animals, especially domestic ones, are sensitive beings, who feel, miss, rejoice, suffer, and who acquire habits, the reason why it is undoubted that the change that will produce the separation of the spouses, will also affect them. It will be their owners, then, who are in a better position, to look out for the dogs' interests. Such an understanding has been accepted in some countries, such as Spain, in the same way as in our jurisprudence. This case joins the set of cases in Argentina, such as the Tita and Sidney cases, and other countries in the region where the consideration of animals as non-human persons is becoming more common among judges."
Mackley v. State 481 P.3d 639 (Wyo. 2021) The Wyoming Supreme Court considers whether the jury was properly instructed on the charge of aggravated animal cruelty. The case stems from an incident where a dog escaped his owner and attacked the defendant's dogs at his front door. A local teenager grabbed the offending dog ("Rocky") and dragged him into the street as the dog fight carried on. The defendant responded by grabbing his gun and shooting Rocky as he was held by the teenager. A jury convicted defendant of both aggravated animal cruelty and reckless endangering. At the trial, defendant moved for judgment of acquittal on both charges, arguing that the Wyoming Legislature has established that humanely destroying an animal is not animal cruelty and that the State did not provide evidence that he intentionally pointed a firearm at anyone, which defendant contends is necessary for the reckless endangering charge. On appeal here, the court first observed that defendant's challenge to a confusing or misleading jury instruction was waived because he negotiated with the prosecution to draft it. Further, the Supreme Court did not find an abuse of discretion where the district court refused defendant's additional instructions on the humane destruction of an animal in the jury instructions on the elements for the aggravated cruelty to animals charge. While defendant argued that the instructions should include subsection m from the statute, he only now on appeal contends that the subsection should have been given as a theory of defense. Thus, reviewing this argument for plain error, the Court found that defendant's theory that his killing was "humane" and thus excluded from the crime of aggravated cruelty was not supported by the language of the statute. In fact, such an interpretation not only goes against the plain language, but "then any animal could be killed, under any circumstances, as long as it is killed quickly." Defendant presented no evidence that the dog he shot was suffering or distressed and needed euthanasia. The trial court did not commit error when it declined to instruct the jury on subsection m. As to the reckless endangering conviction, the court also affirmed this charge as defendant showed a conscious disregard for the substantial risk he placed the teenager in regardless of whether he pointed the gun at the victim. Affirmed.
Mahan v. State 51 P.3d 962, 963 (Alaska Ct. App. 2002) Mahan had over 130 animals on her property. Alaska Equine Rescue went to check on the condition of the animals at the request of her family members. The animals were in poor health and were removed by Alaska State Troopers and the Rescue. The animals were then placed in foster homes. The defendant's attorney requested a writ of assistance to require law enforcement to assist and force the foster families to answer a questionnaire. The appellate court held that the families were under no legal obligation to answer the questionnaire unless the court were to issue a deposition order and the families were to be properly subpoenaed. The district court's denial of the writ was upheld. Mahan's attorney also asked for a change of venue due to the publicity the case garnered. The court held the defendant was not entitled to a change of venue when 15 jurors had been excused and there was no reason to doubt the impartiality of the jurors who were left after the selection process. There was no indication that the jurors were unable to judge the case fairly. Mahan's attorney also filed a motion to suppress a majority of the evidence, claiming that the Rescue and law enforcement unlawfully entered the property. The judge stated he would rule on the motion if it was appropriate to do so. The judge never ruled on the motion. To preserve an issue for appeal, the appellant must obtain an adverse ruling, thus it constituted a waiver of the claim. Mahan was also prohibited from owning more than one animal. She offered no reason why this condition of probation was an abuse of the judge's discretion, therefore it was a waiver of this claim. Lastly, although the Rescue received donations from the public to help care for the animals, that did not entitle Mahan to an offset. Restitution is meant to make the victims whole again and also to make the defendant pay for the expense caused by their criminal conduct.
Mahtani v. Wyeth Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2011 WL 2609857 (D.N.J.)

After some plaintiffs alleged their dogs suffered harmed as a result of using a tick and flea treatment medication, while others alleged the product was ineffective, plaintiffs sought to gain class certification in their lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company. Since the district court found that individual inquiry into questions of fact predominated over inquiry into facts common to class members regarding the plaintiffs’ New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, Unjust Enrichment and Breach of Warranty claims, the plaintiff’s motion for class certification was denied.

Majors v. Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb Georgia 652 F.2d 454 (5th Cir. 1981)

Tenant had a history of mental illness and kept a dog in her apartment despite a "no pets" policy. The housing authority refused to waive the "no pets" policy and brought an eviction proceeding. Tenant filed a complaint in federal district court alleging violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for failure to waive the "no pets" policy as a reasonable accommodation for her disability. The district court granted the housing authority's motion for summary judgment and the tenant appealed. The court of appeals held that the housing authority deprived the tenant of the benefits of the housing program by enforcing the no pets rule, reasoning that waiving the no pets rule would allow the tenant to fully enjoy the benefits of the program and would place no undue burdens on the housing authority.

Maldonado v. Fontanes 568 F.3d 263 (C.A.1 (Puerto Rico),2009)

At issue in this particular opinion is the interlocutory appeal of the Mayor of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico based on the district court's denial of his motion to dismiss on the basis of qualified immunity. This case was initially brought after two successive raids on public housing complexes, within ten days of the Municipality of Barceloneta assuming control of the public housing complexes from the Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration on October 1, 2007. Prior to the raid, the residents, mostly Spanish-speakers, were given notice of the new "no pet policy," which were written in English. During the raids, plaintiffs' pets were seized and then killed by either being slammed against the side of a van or thrown off a 50-foot bridge. This First Circuit affirmed the denial of the Mayor's motion for qualified immunity on the Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claims. However, it reversed the denial of qualified immunity to the Mayor as to the plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process claims and ordered those claims dismissed.

Maldonado v. Franklin Not Reported in S.W. Rptr., 2019 WL 4739438 (Tex. App. Sept. 30, 2019) Trenton and Karina Franklin moved into a subdivision in San Antonio, Texas in September of 2017. Margarita Maldonado lived in the home immediately behind the Franklins’ house and could see into the Franklins’ backyard. Maldonado began complaining about the Franklins’ treatment of their dog. The Franklins left the dog outside 24 hours a day, seven days a week no matter what the weather was like. Maldonado also complained that the dog repeatedly whined and howled which kept her up at night causing her emotional distress. Maldonado went online expressing concern about the health and welfare of her neighbor’s dog, without naming any names. Mr. Franklin at some point saw the post and entered the conversation which lead to Mr. Franklin and Maldonado exchanging direct messages about the dog. Maldonado even placed a dog bed in the backyard for the dog as a gift. In December of 2017, the Franklins filed suit against Maldonado for invasion of privacy by intrusion and seclusion alleging that Maldonado was engaged in a campaign of systemic harassment over the alleged mistreatment of their dog. While the suit was pending, Maldonado contacted Animal Control Services several times to report that the dog was outside with the heat index over 100 degrees. Each time an animal control officer responded to the call they found no actionable neglect or abuse. In June of 2018, Maldonado picketed for five days by walking along the neighborhood sidewalks, including in front of the Franklins’ house, carrying signs such as “Bring the dog in,” and “If you’re hot, they’re hot.” The Franklins then amended their petition adding claims for slander, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass. The trial court granted a temporary injunction against Maldonado, which was ultimately vacated on appeal. Maldonado filed a Anti-SLAPP motion and amended motion to dismiss the Franklins’ claims as targeting her First Amendment rights. The trial court did not rule on the motions within thirty days, so the motions were denied by operation of law. Maldonado appealed. The Court began its analysis by determining whether Maldonado’s motions were timely. Under the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act (TCPA) a motion to dismiss must be filed within sixty days of the legal action. The sixty-day deadline reset each time new factual allegations were alleged. Due to the fact that the Franklins had amended their petition three times and some of the amended petitions did not allege any new factual allegations, the only timely motions that Maldonado filed were for the Franklins’ claims for slander and libel. The Court then concluded that Maldonado’s verbal complaints to the Animal Control Service and online posts on community forums about the Franklins’ alleged mistreatment of their dog were communications made in connection with an issue related to a matter of public concern and were made in the exercise of free speech. Therefore, the TCPA applied to the Franklins’ slander and libel claims. The Court ultimately concluded that although Maldonado established that the TCPA applied to the slander and libel claims, the Franklins met their burden to establish a prima facie case on the slander and libel claims. Therefore, the Court ultimately concluded that Maldonado’s motion to dismiss the slander and libel claims were properly denied. The Court affirmed the trial court’s order and remanded the case to the trial court.

Pages