Horses: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
Rosenfeld v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Mendon 940 N.E.2d 891 (Ma. App., 2011)

A zoning board granted landowner’s application for a special permit, and neighbor property owners appealed. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts held that defendant’s proposed use of land for horse stables fit within the agricultural use exception of the zoning ordinance and by-laws, and that plaintiffs had standing to enforce a deed restriction on defendant’s property.

RSPCA v O'Loughlan [2007] SASC 113

The appellant, the RSPCA, relied on the fact that a horse, once in RSPCA care, had a significantly improved condition in comparison to that described as 'emaciated' while in the respondent's care. The respondent claimed that the horse's condition fluctuated depending on the presence of mares in heat during summer and that she had tried several changes to the feed to counter a loss in weight. On appeal, the appellate judge did not disturb the trial judge's finding and confirmed that the respondent's conduct was reasonable in the circumstances.

Sanders v. Frank 37 N.E.3d 1305 (Ohio App. 11 Dist. 2015)

In this case, Heather Sanders filed suit against Joseph D. Frank after she suffered injuries as a result of rescuing Frank’s horses that were running at large. The lower court dismissed Sander’s complaint with prejudice and Sanders appealed. On appeal, Sanders asserted four main arguments: (1) the doctrine of contributory negligence and assumption of the risk should not be applied when defendant negligently violates a statute; (2) the rescue doctrine should preclude the assumption of the risk doctrine even though Sanders voluntarily assisted in the capture of the horses; (3) the trial court erred in applying the assumption of risk doctrine; and (4) the trial court erred by preventing recovery of damages. Ultimately, the court of appeals reviewed the case and affirmed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the complaint. The court found that all four of Sander’s arguments were without merit. The court held that although Frank had negligently violated a statute, allowing his horses to escape and run at large, Sanders voluntarily assisted in the capture of the horses and was not responding to any immediate emergency or threat to human life. Also, the court pointed out that Sanders had “assumed the risk” based on the fact that she had helped rescue Frank’s horses in the past. As a result, the lower court did not err in dismissing Sander’s claim based on contributory negligence and the assumption of the risk doctrine.

Scharer v. San Luis Rey Equine Hosp., Inc. 147 Cal.Rptr.3d 921 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.)

Horse owner sued veterinarians and equine hospital for professional malpractice after horse was euthanized less than two months after surgery to remove horse’s ovaries. The Superior Court granted summary judgment for defendants based on the one-year statute of limitations. The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that equitable tolling did not apply because plaintiff was not prevented from pursuing her claim in a timely manner by the defendants or the court. A provision in the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act extending the statute of limitations by 90 days did not apply absent a claim for personal injury or wrongful death to a person.

Sickel v. State 363 P.3d 115 (Alaska Ct. App. 2015) Defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals under AS 11.61.140(a) after one of her horses was found starving, without shelter, and frozen to the ground (it later had to be euthanized). On appeal, defendant claims that she did not act with the requisite "criminal negligence" under the statute unless she had a duty of care to prevent the specified harm. The court noted that while the statute does not specify the exact nature of this duty to care for particular animals, common law fills the gap. In looking to similar laws and cases from other states, the court found that AS 11.61.140(a)(2) applies only to people who have assumed responsibility for the care of an animal, either as an owner or otherwise. The jury instructions taken as a whole and the prosecutor's argument and rebuttal demonstrated that Sickel assumed the duty of care with regard to the horses and was the person tending the horses in the last three days before the now-deceased horse collapsed. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.
Silver v. State 23 A.3d 867 (Md. App., 2011)

Defendants were sentenced by the District Court after pleading guilty to one count of animal cruelty. After defendants were convicted in the Circuit Court, they petitioned for a writ of certiorari. The Court of Appeals held that the Circuit Court could order that defendants pay restitution for the euthanasia cost for the deceased horse, but it was beyond the court’s authority to order defendants pay restitution for costs of caring for the two surviving horses because defendants had not been convicted in those cases. The court also held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to strike officer's testimony for prosecutor's failure to provide the officer's written report prior to trial. Finally, photos and testimony regarding the surviving horses were “crime scene” evidence and not inadmissible “other crimes” evidence because the neglect of the surviving horses was part of the same criminal episode.

Smith v. Lane 832 N.E.2d 947 (Ill.App. 5 Dist. 2005)

In this Illinois case, the passenger of horse-drawn carriage brought action in negligence and strict liability against driver of carriage and owner of horse and carriage for injuries passenger received when carriage went off road and overturned. The lower court dismissed all of passenger's counts.  On appeal, the Appellate Court held that, as matter of first impression, the passenger was not subject to provisions of EALA, and the alleged facts sufficient to state cause of action under state Animal Control Act.

Southall v. Gabel 277 N.E.2d 230 (Ohio App. 1971)

This case resulted from the alleged negligent transport of a horse that resulted in a drastic change in the horse's temperament (to a "killer horse"), which ultimately led to its destruction by its owner.  Before trial, defendant demurred to plaintiff's petition on the ground that the action was barred under R.C. s 2305.11, the act being 'malpractice' and therefore required to be brought within one year after the termination of treatment.  The Court of Appeals held that the trial court's decision overruling the demurrer to plaintiff's petition was correct, 'the petitioner is based on negligence for the transporting rather than malpractice.'  Further, the Court held that until the Supreme Court speaks, veterinarians are not included in the definition of malpractice (reversed and remanded - See , 293 N.E.2d 891 (Ohio, Mun.,1972).

Southall v. Gabel 293 N.E.2d 891 (Ohio, Mun.,1972)

This action was brought by plaintiff as owner of a 3 year old thoroughbred race horse, named Pribal, against defendant, a veterinarian, charging defendant so mishandled the horse that it sustained physical injuries and emotional trauma; that the emotional stability of the horse worsened until finally it was exterminated. The court held that the evidence failed to show any proximate cause between the surgery that was performed on the horse and the subsequent care and transport of the horse by the veterinarian. 

As the court stated, what caused Pribal to become mean and a "killer" is speculative; the O.S.U. Veterinary Clinic records in evidence did not indicate any causal relationship between the handling of Pribal by the defendant and the subsequent personality change resulting in Pribal becoming a "killer horse."

Stanton v. State 395 S.W.3d 676 (Tenn. 2013)

The defendant, a self-employed oil distributor, was charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty for intentionally or knowingly failing to provide food and care for his horses. After being denied a petition for pretrial division and a petition for a writ of certiorari, the defendant appealed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee, who granted the defendant permission to appeal, but affirmed the lower court's decision that the assistant district attorney general did not abuse his discretion and that the trial court did not err in denying the defendant's petition for writ of certiorari.

State ex rel. Griffin v. Thirteen Horses Not Reported in A.2d, 2006 WL 1828459 (Conn.Super.)

Defendant's horses were seized on December 14, 2005 pursuant to a search and seizure warrant signed by the court. The warrant was sought, in part, on affidavits that alleged possible violations of the Cruelty to Animals statutory provisions. Defendant Rowley filed the instant motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction because the state has failed to comply with the provisions of § 22-329a and because the search and seizure warrant is invalid. Specifically, defendant maintains that the phrase in subsection (a) authorizing the chief animal control officer to "lawfully take charge of any animal found neglected or cruelly treated" merely allows the officer to enter the owner's property to care for the animal, but does not authorize seizure of the animal without a prior judicial determination. This court rejected Rowley's interpretation of the phrase "lawfully take charge." The court found that, as a practical matter, it is inconceivable that animal control officers, having found animals that are neglected or cruelly treated, would then leave them at the property.

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell 167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo. 2005)

After a judge granted two humane societies permission to dispose of nearly 120 severely emaciated and malnourished horses, the horses' owner, instead of posting a bond or security, filed for a writ of mandamus with the court of appeals. The appeals court issued a stop order and transferred the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. Here, the horses’ owner argued two points, but the Missouri Supreme Court found that (1) the spoliation of evidence doctrine does not apply at this juncture and that (2) the statute was not unconstitutionally vague, nor does the owner allege that the statute discriminates based upon classification or that the statute discriminates in its application so as to violate the equal protection clause. The stop order was therefore dissolved and the petition for the writ of mandamus was denied.

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell 167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo., 2005)

Police seized 120 neglected horses pursuant to a search warrant and a Circuit Court Judge allowed humane societies to dispose of the horses.  The owner of the horses sought a writ of mandamus against the Circuit Court Judge.  The Missouri Supreme Court held the Circuit Court Judge had jurisdiction to permit the seized horses to be disposed of and the impoundment statute was not unconstitutionally vague.

State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell 2005 WL 957908 (Mo. App. S.D. 2005)

A trial court granted a local humane society permission to humanely dispose of horses placed in their custody by the Sheriff.  A man filed petition for a writ of mandamus against the the trial judge and humane society to challenge the judge's order.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court holding the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the Humane Society of Missouri. Opinion transferred to State ex rel. Zobel v. Burrell , 167 S.W.3d 688 (Mo., 2005).

State of Washington v. Zawistowski 82 P.3d 698 (Wash. 2004)

Defendants were convicted of animal cruelty with regard to underweight and malnourished horses.  The Superior Court reversed, holding that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a jury finding, and the State appealed.  Held:  reversed.

State v. Avery State v. Avery, 44 N.H. 392 (1862)

The Defedant was convicted of the charge of cruelty to animals for the beating of his own horse.  The Defendant appealed this descision to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire on two grounds.  First, the lower court failed to instructe the jury that intoxication was a defense to the charge.  Second, the lower court instructed the jury that the beating of an animal for training may at some point become malicious and illegal under that statute.  The Court held the lower court was not in error and affirmed the decision.

State v. Branstetter 29 P.3d 1121 (Or. 2001)

In a state prosecution for animal neglect, the trial court ordered forfeiture of the animals to a humane agency. An appeal by the owner of the animals was dismissed by the Court of Appeals for lack of jurisdiction. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and held that the statutes controlling appealable judgments allowed the animal owner to appeal the forfeiture of the animals.

State v. Browning State v. Browning, 50 S.E. 185 (S.C. 1905).

The defendant was convicted of cruelty to animals for the overworking of his mule.  The defendant appealed the desicision by the lower court to the circuit court.  The circuit court affirmed the lower court and the defendant agained appealed.  The Supreme Court of South Carolina held that jursidiction was proper against the defendant and the evidence supported a finding of ownership by the defendant.  Thus, the Court affirmed the lower court's decision.

State v. Davidson Slip Copy, 2006 WL 763082 (Ohio App. 11 Dist.), 2006-Ohio-1458

In this Ohio case, defendant was convicted of 10 counts of cruelty to animals resulting from her neglect of several dogs and horses in her barn.  On appeal, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient where the prosecution witness did not state the dogs were "malnourished" and said that a couple were reasonably healthy.  The appellate court disagreed, finding that defendant mischaracterized the veterinarian's testimony and that there was no requirement to prove malnourishment.  Further, the dog warden testified that she did not find any food or water in the barn and that the animals' bowls were covered with mud and feces.

State v. Fessenden 310 P.3d 1163 (Or.App., 2013), review allowed, 354 Or. 597, 318 P.3d 749 (2013) and aff'd, 355 Or. 759 (2014)

This Oregon case considers, as an issue of first impression, whether the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement applies to animals in need of immediate assistance. Defendant appealed her conviction for second-degree animal neglect (ORS 167.325) based on the condition of her horse. The court found that the emergency aid exception extends to nonhuman animals when law enforcement officers have an objectively reasonable belief that the search or seizure is necessary to render immediate aid or assistance to animals which are imminently threatened with suffering, serious physical injury or cruel death. Here, the deputy sheriff found that the horse was more emaciated than any other horse he had ever seen and there were signs of possible organ failure.

State v. Goodall 175 P. 857 (Or. 1918)

This case involved an appeal from this conviction. The trial court found that the defendant rode the animal while it had a deep ulcerated cut on its back, and supplied it with insufficient food. The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.

State v. Gruntz 273 P.3d 183 review denied (Or.App.,2012)

Defendant moved to suppress evidence after being charged with multiple counts of animal neglect. The Court of Appeals held that the warrant affidavit permitted reasonable inference that neglect continued to exist at time of warrant application. The warrant affiant stated her observations four months prior to the warrant application that horses appeared to be malnourished and severely underweight.

State v. Jensen Not Reported in N.W.2d, 2015 WL 7261420 (Neb. Ct. App. Nov. 17, 2015) Defendant was convicted of convicted of two counts of mistreatment of a livestock animal in violation of Neb.Rev.Stat. § 54–903(2) (Reissue 2010) and four counts of neglect of a livestock animal in violation of § 54–903(1). Defendant owned and maintained a herd of over 100 horses in Burt County, Nebraska. After receiving complaints, the local sheriff's office investigated the herd. An expert veterinarian witness at trial testified that approximately 30% of the herd scored very low on the scale measuring a horse's condition and there were several deceased horses found with the herd. On appeal, defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to support several of his convictions. Specifically, defendant challenged whether the state proved causation and intent under the statute. The court found that the prosecution proved through testimony that defendant caused the death of the horses subject to two of the convictions. With regard to intent, the court found that the evidence showed it would have taken weeks or month for a horse to reach to the low levels on the scale. The court found that defendant was aware of the declining condition of the herd over a significant amount of time, and failed to adequately feed, water, or provide necessary care to his horses. The convictions were affirmed.
State v. Kelso 689 P.2d 1307 (1984)

Appeal from a district court decision relating to mental state requirements of an animal owner.  The Court of Appeals reversed a district court finding which required a higher mental state than negligence in violation of a statute which provides that the owner or custodian of an animal or livestock shall not "permit" animal to run at large. The Court of Appeals found that the offense does not require a culpable mental state.

State v. Nix 283 P.3d 442 (Or.App., 2012)
Upon receiving a tip that animals were being neglected, police entered a farm and discovered several emaciated animals, as well as many rotting animal carcasses. After a jury found the defendant guilty of 20 counts of second degree animal neglect, the district court, at the sentencing hearing, only issued a single conviction towards the defendant. The state appealed and argued the court should have imposed 20 separate convictions based on its interpretation of the word "victims" in ORS 161.067(2). The appeals court agreed. The case was remanded for entry of separate convictions on each guilty verdict. 
State v. Peterson 174 Wash. App. 828, 301 P.3d 1060 review denied, 178 Wash. 2d 1021, 312 P.3d 650 (2013)
In this case, defendant appeals six counts of first degree animal cruelty charges. On appeal, the defendant argued that (1) the statute she was convicted under, RCW 16.52.205(6), was unconstitutionally vague; that (2) starvation and dehydration were alternative means of committing first degree animal cruelty and that (3) there was no substantial evidence supporting the horses suffered from dehydration. The defendant also argued that the Snohomish Superior court had no authority to order her to reimburse the county for caring for her horses. The appeals court, however, held that RCW 16.52.205(6) was not unconstitutionally vague; that starvation and dehydration were alternative means to commit first degree animal cruelty, but there was substantial evidence to support the horses suffered from dehydration; and that the superior court had authority to order the defendant to pay restitution to the county.
State v. Roche State v. Roche. 37 Mo App 480 (1889)

The defendants were convicted and sentenced upon an information under section 1609, Revised Statutes of 1879, charging them with unlawfully, wilfully and cruelly overdriving a horse, and thereupon prosecute this appeal. The court held that the evidence that a horse was overdriven does not warrant a conviction under Revised Statutes, 1879, section 1609, in the absence of proof, that the overdriving was wilful and not accidental. Thus, the court reversed the lower court.

State v. Sego 2006 WL 3734664 (Del.Com.Pl. 2006) (unpublished)

Fifteen horses were seized by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) because the animals were in poor condition. The SPCA sent bills to the owners for feeding, upkeep, and veterinary care, but the owners did not pay the bills. After 30 days of nonpayment, the SPCA became the owners of the horses, and the prior owners were not entitled to get the horses back.

State v. Wood 2007 WL 1892483 (N.C. App.)

Plaintiff entered an oral agreement for defendant to board and train her horse, Talladega.  The horse died within  two months from starvation, and the Harnett County Animal Control found three other horses under defendant's care that were underfed, and seized them.  The jury trial resulted in a conviction of two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty from which the defendant appeals.  However, this court affirms the jury's conviction, stating that the assignment of error is without merit and would not have affected the jury's conviction. 

State v. Ziemann 705 N.W.2d 59 (Neb.App.,2005)

The petitioner-defendant challenged her criminal conviction for cruelly neglecting several horses she owned by asserting that her Fourth Amendment rights were violated. However, the court of appeals side stepped the petitioners claim that she had a legitimate expectation of privacy in a farmstead, that she did not own or reside on, because she leased the grass on the farmstead for a dollar by invoking the “open fields” doctrine.    The court held that even if such a lease might implicate the petitioners Fourth Amendment rights in some circumstances, the petitioner here was only leasing a open field, which she cannot have a legitimate expectation of privacy in.

Stoffels v. Harmony Hill Farm 2006 WL 3699549 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2006)

An owner of a horse farm acquired a new horse that had only recently been broken in and got a woman with some health problems to ride the horse. The horse bucked and threw the defendant off the horse causing injury. The court held that even though riders assume the risk of most injuries, a horse owner can be liable for failure to take reasonable measures to match the rider to a suitable horse.

Stout v. U.S. Forest Service 2011 WL 867775 (2011)

Plaintiff ranch owners grazed cattle within the Murderer's Creek Wild Horse Territory (WHT), an area in which the threatened Middle Columbia River steelhead was present. The Forest Service approved a wild horse management plan in the area, but failed to prepare a Biological Assessment (BA) to determine whether the plan was likely to affect the threatened species, and whether formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was necessary. The Forest Service’s failure to comply with section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was arbitrary and capricious, and was ordered to consult with NMFS on its plan.

Swido v. Lafayette Insurance Co. 16 So.2d 399 (La.App. 3 Cir., 2005)

In this Louisiana case, a prospective horse buyer filed an action against the prior sellers and their insurer to recover for injuries when she attempted to ride a horse offered for sale by the initial buyer. At the time of the injury, the horse was under the custody of the original sellers who were paid an additional amount to have the horse trained. The Court of Appeal held that sale of horse was perfected when the first buyer paid the sale price, even though the first buyer paid an additional amount for the sellers to finish training the horse. On the negligence issue, the court found the "green-broke" horse did not present an unreasonable risk of harm when the potential buyer attempted to ride it bareback as to assign strict liability to the prior sellers who had custody of the horse. 

Taylor v. Howren 606 S.E.2d 74 (Ga.App., 2004)

A family friend wanted to ride a horse and the horse owner told him it was rideable, despite knowing the horse was not fully trained yet.  The family friend sued after being kicked in the eye, knocked unconscious and paralyzed by the horse.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's entry of summary judgment for the horse owner on the basis that there was still a genuine issue of material fact as to the horse owner's immunity under the Equine Activities Act. 

Tennant v. Tabor 89 A.D.3d 1461 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.., 2011)

Motorist collided with a horse and sued horse owners for damages. The Supreme Court held that, even if horse owners violated statute requiring them to provide shelter to horse, this did not constitute common-law negligence, which was required for damages. In addition, horse owners were not liable because there was no evidence that horse exhibited propensity to interfere with traffic prior to incident involving motorist.

Tiller v. State 218 Ga. App. 418 (1995)

Defendant argued that being in "possession" of neglected, suffering animals was not a crime. The court held that where a veterinarian testified that the horses were anemic and malnourished and where defendant testified that he had not purchased enough to feed them, the evidence was sufficient to authorize the jury to find defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of seven counts of cruelty to animals. The court held the trial court did not err in admitting a videotape depicting the horses' condition and that of the pasture when the horses were seized, where the videotape was relevant to the jury's consideration.

Tillett v. Bureau of Land Management Slip Copy (unpublished decision), 2016 WL 1312014 (D. Mont. Apr. 4, 2016) In this case, plaintiff (proceeding pro se) filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) challenging its management of wild horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR). Plaintiff filed suit challenging BLM’s fertility control and gather programs. BLM argued that plaintiff’s claims should be denied as a matter of summary judgment. The court ultimately held that plaintiff failed to provide any “legal authority” or “jurisdictional basis” for the remedies in which she was seeking. The court held that BLM was within its own authority to rely on its own data and surveys of its programs and was under no obligation to review its programs based on plaintiff’s alleged observations. Finally, the court held in favor of BLM as a matter of summary judgment.
Tilson v. Russo 30 A.D.3d 856 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2006),

In this New York case, plaintiff, an experienced recreational horse rider, was bitten by a horse she intended to use to practice her techniques at defendant's stable. The rider then  brought a negligence action against owners of horse that bit her on the shoulder. In affirming the lower court's granting of summary judgment, the appellate court found that rider's injury occurred in the context of her participation in the recreational sporting activity of horseback riding, for purposes of primary assumption of the risk principles. She was aware of the inherent risks in sporting events involving horses, had an appreciation of the nature of the risks, and voluntarily assumed those risks.

Trummer v. Niewisch 792 N.Y.S.2d 596 (N.Y., 2005)

A woman fell from a horse during a riding lesson when her horse was frightened.  The woman brought claims against the riding facility and riding instructor for negligence.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the Court of Appeals affirmed reasoning horses becoming frightened is an inherent risk when riding.

Turner v Cole [2005] TASSC 72

RSPCA officers found a horse belonging to the applicant on the applicant's property and, after preparing the horse for transport, had to euthanise the animal when it collapsed. The applicant was convicted of failing to feed a horse which led to its serious disablement and eventual euthanisation. The applicant was unsuccessful on all issues on appeal and was liable for a fine of $4000 and prevention from owning 20 or more horses for five years.

Turner v. Benhart 527 SO.2d 717 (Ala. 1988).

Plaintiff horse owner appealed a judgment of the Jefferson Circuit Court (Alabama) entered on a jury verdict in favor of defendant veterinarian in a malpractice action arising from the death of the owner's horse. The horse owner contended that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial based on the ground that the verdict was against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence. The court affirmed the trial court's judgment in favor of the veterinarian in the malpractice action.

United States v. Hughes 626 F.2d 619 (9th Cir. 1980)

The defendant had adopted 109 wild horses through the federal Adopt-a-Horse program, whereby excess wild horses were adopted out to private individuals under the stipulation that the horses would be treated humanely and not used for commercial purposes.  The defendant was charged under the criminal provisions of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and with conversion of government property after he sold a number of the adopted horses to slaughter.  At trial, the defendant argued that he could not be found guilty of conversion because the federal government did not have a property interest in the horses, as the power to regulate wild horses on public lands does not equate to an ownership interest in the horses by the federal government.  The court held that, regardless of whether the WFRHBA intended to create an ownership interest in wild horses, the government has a property interest in wild horses that it has captured, corralled, and loaned out.  

Vanderbrook v. Emerald Springs Ranch 109 A.D.3d 1113 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept.,2013).

While on a guided trail ride, plaintiff's horse brushed up against a tree that the plaintiff was unable to push away from. As a result, plaintiff's leg and hip sustained injuries and the plaintiff sued the ranch and the ranch's owners. Defendants’ appealed the Wayne County Supreme Court denial for the defendants' motion for summary. On appeal, the court found the Supreme Court properly denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment. First, the court found the defendants failed to meet their initial burden of establishing entitlement to judgment as a matter of law on the issues of the horse's vicious propensity and defendants' knowledge of that propensity.

Vendrella v. Astriab Family Ltd. Partnership 36 A.3d 707 (Conn.App.,2012)

Minor sued farmer horse-owner for negligence after farmer's horse bit him. The Appellate Court reversed summary judgment, holding that a fact issue remained as to whether the farmer had notice that the horse belonged to a class of domestic animals that possessed a natural propensity to bite. Such knowledge may make certain injuries foreseeable, giving rise to a duty to use reasonable care to restrain the animal to prevent injury.

Ward v RSPCA [2010] EWHC 347 (Admin) RSPCA inspectors attended Mr Ward’s smallholding to find two horses in a severely distressed condition, with a worm infestation. Veterinarian advice had not been sought following failed attempts to home treat. The farmer was convicted of unnecessary suffering pursuant to section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and disqualified from owning, keeping, participating in the keeping of, or controlling or influencing the way horses or cattle are kept for a three year period, pursuant to section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The defendant brought an appeal to the Crown Court and the High Court in respect of the disqualification. The High Court dismissed the appeal and held that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was intended to promote the welfare of animals and part of the mechanism of protection is the order of disqualification following convictions for offences under the Act.
Wemer v. Walker Slip Copy, 2015 WL 2058960 (Ohio Ct. App. May 1, 2015)

In this case, James Wemer appealed the lower courts decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant John Walker. Wemer initially filed suit against Walker alleging that the injuries he suffered from a horse-bite at Walker’s barn was due to negligence and wanton recklessness of Walker. The trial court reviewed the issue and granted summary judgment in favor of Walker based on the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court’s decision on appeal. However, the trial court once against granted summary judgement in favor of Walker and Wemer appealed. On the second appeal, the Court of Appeals determined whether or not Walker was immune from liability under the Equine Immunity statute. The Court of Appeals found that Walker was immune from liability under statute because of the fact that Walker had warned Werner that his horses had a tendency to fight and Wemer voluntarily chose to get involved in separating the horses which led to his injuries. The Court of Appeals focused on the fact that both parties had a knowledge regarding equine activity and that Wemer was unable to establish that Walker’s conduct was willful or wanton under the circumstances presented. As a result, the Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment in favor of Walker.

Westfall v. State 10 S.W.3d 85 (Tex. App. 1999)

Defendant convicted of cruelty for intentionally or knowingly torturing his cattle by failing to provide necessary food or care, causing them to die. Defendant lacked standing to challenge warrantless search of property because he had no expectation of privacy under open fields doctrine.

Whitman v. State 2008 WL 1962242 (Ark.App.,2008)

Appellant was tried by a jury and found guilty of four counts of cruelty to animals concerning four Arabian horses. On appeal, appellant raised a sufficiency of the evidence challenge and a Rule 404(b) challenge to the admission of testimony and pictures concerning the condition of appellant's dogs and her house. The court found the photographic evidence was admissible for purposes other than to prove appellant's character, e.g., to show her knowledge of neglect of animals within her house, and thereby the absence of mistake or accident concerning the horses that lived outside.

Wild Horse Observers Ass'n, Inc. v. New Mexico Livestock Bd. 363 P.3d 1222 (N.M., 2015) This case dealt with a determination made by the New Mexico Livestock Board that a group of undomesticated, unowned, free-roaming horses (the Placitas horses) were “livestock” and “estray” rather than wild horses under the Livestock Code. The Wild Horse Observers Association filed suit against the Board, but their claim was dismissed by the District Court. The Court of Appeals held that 1) the horses were not “livestock”, as they had never been domesticated and therefore could not be “estray”; 2) the Board had a statutory duty to test and relocate wild horses captured on public land; and 3) the Plaintiffs did state a claim that was sufficient to survive the motion to dismiss. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings
Wild Horse Observers Ass'n, Inc. v. New Mexico Livestock Bd. 363 P.3d 1222 (N.M. Ct. App., 2015) Plaintiff Wild Horse Observers Association, Inc. (Association) appealed the District Court's dismissal for failure to state a claim. The Association claimed that Defendant New Mexico Livestock Board (the Board) had unlawfully treated a group of undomesticated, unowned, free-roaming horses near Placitas, New Mexico as “livestock” and “estray,” rather than as “wild horses” under the Livestock Code. The Appeals Court concluded that “livestock” did not include undomesticated, unowned animals, including undomesticated and unowned horses; therefore, undomesticated, unowned horses could not be “estray.” The court also concluded that the Board had to DNA test and relocate the Placitas horses, and that the Association pleaded sufficient facts in its complaint to withstand a motion to dismiss.

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